Courtesy of LancerTiming!
Last year, led by a small but talented group Oyster River took the D2 title by 7 points over the incredibly deep, superstar-less Portsmouth Clippers. Even though OR graduated their top 3 sprinters, it looks as if both the Bobcats and Portsmouth will be back as co-favorites based solely on returning athletes. Separated by only a few points on paper, expect it to come down to the final events to decide things. At this moment, it looks as if Hanover, Sanborn and Milford are the teams with the most potential to threaten the top 2, as they have the ability to score in the most events. As with any start to a season, there are a handful of teams with realistic shots to contend. There is also the welcoming of new talent among athletes!
Although the queen of NH sprints Devan McClain has graduated, with the return of Hanover’s Ella Maclean and Zoe Onyango along with Portsmouth’s Maddie Ricard, Oyster River’s Jennifer Nadig, and Pelham’s Gwenyth Dahlinger, the 55 will still be chalk full of talent and exciting competition.
Expect a similar rebound in the 300 as Nadig is the top returner along with Maclean. Also factoring will be Gilford’s Natalie and Brianna Fraserand Milford’s Renee Wilson.
Oyster River’s Evelyn Fischer is the top returner in the High Hurdles, but will have plenty of company with a number of reputable names returning including Sarah Morin (Portsmouth), Taima Ronish (White Mountains), April Weeks (Portsmouth), Kaylen LaChapelle (Sanborn), and Sana Syed (Belmont). With this number of kids on contention, the High Hurdles may indeed be the most competitive event of 2019.
With names like Robitaille, Hurley and Robinson matriculated, there will be new names at the top of the 600 and 1000. Right now the current top returner in the 600 is Portsmouth’s Sarah Morin, who can basically do everything. She is followed closely by the steadily improving Christine Aman (Hanover) as well as her teammate Grace Ripperger. Watch out for seniors Lily Doody of Oyster River and Coe-Brown’s Sophie Laird as they will also be returning and may be fresh given certain scenarios.
The middle distance is where we see Oyster River’s strength begins to clarify itself as Olivia Lenk is the top returner in the 1000 meters. Portsmouth Christian transfer Ella Malone is the second returner followed by OR’s Madison Hoppler and Malone’s new teammate Lily Kjendal.
In the 1500 and 3k, big names are back. Kearsarge’s Mya Dube, Merrimack Valley’s Sophia Reynolds and Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel will assuredly have tremendous races this coming winter. Reynolds’s teammate Sophia Rebenciuc will certainly join them as well PCA’s Liza Corso.
While it is a bit challenging to look at these events, it seems every year the same schools produce the best relays. Further, the team title competition could definitely be decided by these! Teams title contenders Oyster River and Portsmouth seem to be the strongest at the present time. Looking at the 4×200, although Oyster River graduated half their team, the Bobcats have evolved into a sprint factory, so expect Nadig and company to challenge the preseason favorite of Portsmouth which returns their entire 2019 runner-up 4×200 squad. Pelham also returns their entire 3rd place squad with Dahlinger as the anchor. Do not count Windham out as they have finished right behind Pelham last year and only graduated one of their legs.
The 4×400 is always the wild card beause of its positioning at the end of the order of events, team goals, and individual event menus. So just looking off of last year’s results defending champs Portsmouth returns three of four legs and should be the favorites considering their massive team depth. Runner-up Milford, did graduate half their relay while third place Oyster River only graduated McClain. Expect these to be the big three, but don’t count out the Coe-Browns, Windhams, Souhegans, and Hanovers of the world!
Souhegan, Oyster River and Coe-Brown seem to always assemble great 3200 meter relays. Look for the same to occur in 2020. However, do not count out Portsmouth (again) and Portsmouth Christian with the addition of Malone to their already strong 4×800 team.
A pair of seniors are the top returners in the High Jump in Sanborn’s Hannah Ehlers and Portsmouth’s Olivia Cray, both slearing 5’2″ at last year’s D2 Championships. While Milford’s Renee Wilson is the top returner in the Long Jump. Watch for Sanborn’s Kaylen LaChapelle as she is ranked at #2 in the Long Jump and High Jump where she is tied with Wilson’s Milford teammate Leslie McGrath and Plymouth’s Julia Ahern at 5’0″. Defending Shot Put Champ, Mady Buchalski (St. Thomas) returns for her senior year as a comfortable favorite. Milford senior Robyn Krafft will ber her challenger as she has a 5′ advantage on the third returner.
Last year Portsmouth won the D2 title by 6 points over feisty Hanover with Oyster River just another 5 points back. With Portsmouth graduating names like Fahey, Prinz, they seem to be susceptible; however, upon closer view, they have other athletes ready to move up in the likes of Andrew Kelly and Chris Mood. Hanover of course has the best srpinter in D2 with Kyle Doucette, who happend to be defending champ in both sprint events. But the team returning the most points is Oyster River on the strength of middle distance and jumping because of Myles Carrico, Andy O’Brien and Sidonio LaBelle-Brown in the jumps. Also lurking could be Outdoor Champs Coe-Brown. Although they lost Jon Thorn, their shot putter and sprinter to graduation, as their middle distance and distance corps mature, the points will increase. Add in potential in the jumps and other events, the Bears could find themselves contending.
As mentioned above, the King of the indoor sprints is back with Hanover’s Doucette. But looking to challenge him will be Hollis/Brookline’s JJ Kennedy, Portsmouth’s Trevor Chapman and Windham’s Curtis Shattuck. As with every year, there will be additional new names.
Challenging Doucette in the 300 will be Trinity’s John Thubeault, MV’s Dylan Lessard and Newmarket’s Caden Foster. The Hurdles meanwhile should be dominated by Pelham’s John Elie, but look to Portsmouth’s Kelly and Mood to challenge. Afterall, anything can happen in the High Hurdles.
Looking at the 600, the top returner is CBNA’s Porter Heigis, the D2 Outdoor 800 Champ. Looking to challenge him should be Merrimack Valley’s Christian Oglesby, coming off a great spring track season in the 400 as well. Of course, Oyster River has Trevor Sassaman and Pelham has Cameron Default, who both should be in contention.
The 1k sees another Coe-Brown athlete, Dawson Dubois as its top returner. Dubois is coming off a heckuva cross season which followed a spring track season which saw him qualify for New Englands in the 1600. He has the experience. Challenging him should be Sanborn’s Owen Stocker, Monadnock’s Harry Ryan, and Kennett’s Chris Desmaris. Don’t be surprised if Oyster River’s Owen Fleischer or Henry Duisberg challenge for a top 3 spot.
If you thought last year was good when reflecting on the 1500 and 3000, this year will be even better when considering the past 10 months of action during both outdoor track and XC racing. Top returner in the 3000 meters is Oyster River’s Andy O’Brien, who literally outleaned Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt at last year’s D2 Indoor Championships. Then you have to factor in D2 XC Champ Coe-Brown’s Luke Tkaczyk, who ran 9:33 last spring. Don’t overlook his teammates Wyatt Mackey, who actually placed higher than Tkaczyk last year, as well as the ever surprising Carter Sylvester and freshman Aidan Cox.
The 1500 was definitely the Myles Carrico show last year, so obviously he is the top returner. Look to Lebanon’s Cody Davis, Milford’s Caleb Korthals, Windham’s Rohan Rai to challenge as well. As with each year, the teams with depth like Coe-Brown will most likely have multiple entries in this event. So in addition to the aforementioined add Patrick Hill and Logan Mihelich to that when considering possibilities for the 1500 and 3k.
Impossible to accurately predict much here, but look for the smaller schools like Trinity, Hollis/Brookline and Newport to challenge for this win as they placed 1-3 last year and return 2-4 legs. Portsmouth and Oyster River traditionally have solid teams here as well and look carefully at Hanover as a real challenger. if they decide to load up. Do not overlook the likes of Pelham or Milford either here.
In the 4×400, Portsmouth graduated their entire team. Pelham also looks strong here as does Merrimack Valley. Always a strong history in 4x4s, look for MV to make this one of their goals this season. Hanover is also a team to watch here with a lot of speed and mid-distance talent. Oyster River has the depth to put something together at the end of a meet as well.
Perennial 4×800 contenders would seem to be Coe-Brown and Oyster River, both with high level talent and depth. Again though Hanover has the potential as well as Windham, Hollis/Brookline and Souhegan. They especially have a great shot if the Bears or the Bobcats decide not to load up this event in favor of individual events.
Oyster River could soar to the top of the team standings on the strength of 20 points from Sidonio LaBelle-Brown as he is the top returner in the High Jump and #2 in the Long Jump. Portsmouth’s Andrew Kelly is the other returner clearing 6′ and will compete with LaBelle-Brown while Hollis-Brookline’s JJ Kennedy is the top returner in the Long Jump. Watch out for Devan Wade of Kingswood as he tied LaBelle-Brown last year.
With the top 4 finishers graduated, the Shot Put seems to be wide open this year. Windham’s Andrew Abirached and Merrimack Valley’s Dylan Lessard are the top 2 returners over 40′. Pelham’s Eddie Shlimon and Campbell’s Joshua Hoffman will also be contenders as well as Sanborn’s Nick Lucas.