Are you ready? Despite the snow, the 2017 season has begun! Division 1 looks as if everyone will be looking to catch the Pinkerton boys and Bedford girls…again. We at NHTF certainly are gearing up! The Merrimack High School community, which just resurfaced their track is gearing up to host the Division 1 State Championship meet and Meet of Champions! The preview includes the top returnees for each event, excluding relays. Enjoy!
Last year, Bedford won the Division 1 title for the 4th consecutive year by a comfortable 29 point margin. Entering this year, at least on paper, they are favored to bring home their 5th consecutive title. Matter of fact, in their short Division 1 existence, they have never lost a Division 1 meet. They bring the most complete track and field team in the state featuring seniors Leya Salis (middle distance), Shanna Scribner (throws, hurdles), Coco sisters (sprints/hurdles), Molly McCoole (high jump/hurdles), and Mollie Redman (jumps). Kudos to the Bulldog coaching staff over this run. They continue to not only be great track and field coaches and trainers, but also are creative as represented by their athletes being well versed across a discipline of events.
Teams seemingly competing for the runner-up plaque could be Pinkerton, Nashua South and Exeter. With the addition of Britney Johnson, as well as improvement of their returning athletes, Pinkerton came within three points of Bedford this past indoor season. Since outdoors has more field events than indoors, the Lady Astros may not have enough to challenge Bedford, but should be in contention for a podium finish. Nashua South will be relying on sprints and jumps, while Exeter will be hoping to capitalize on Jackie Gaughan’s twenty points or so.
Regarding sprints, youth movement is the theme for this year as sophomore Grace Devanny (Concord) returns as the defending champ in the 100 and 400 meters. Junior Crismeily Borg (South) returns as the runner-up in the 100 and 200. Sophomore Amelia Graves (Pinkerton) is coming off a great indoor season where she won the D1 title in the 300 breaking the indoor D1 record. All the while, one cannot count out the lone senior of the bunch in Katya Levasseur (Central), who won the 55 indoors and placed 3rd in the 300. She is the top returner in the 200 meters and is also the defending long jump champion.
Bedford’s Molly McCoole is the top returner in the Highs and placed 3rd in the High Jump last year, while her teammate, Mollie Redman, looks to defend her Triple Jump title and move up in the Long Jump.
Division 1 boasts two of the best distance/middle distance runners not only in NH, but all of New England in junior Jackie Gaughan (Exeter) and senior Leya Salis (Bedford). Both had superb 2016 campaigns, and only furthered their prep legacies indoors by breaking state records and performing admirably against New England’s and the nation’s best. Will either be truly challenged? How many state records will they break in 2017? Gaughan has had freshman phenom Caroline Fischer (Bishop Guertin) as her shadow throughout XC and Indoors, but her overall strength/experience is winning out. When racing in the 800 or 1000 meters, Salis is seemingly untouchable. Pinkerton’s Britney Johnson is the new kid on the block. Given her menu of events at D1 indoors, she is fearless and tough.
Based on her indoor title, defending Shot Put Champ, Shanna Scribner (Bedford), is the favorite to successfully defend that title. Look to her to move up in the Javelin (3rd in 2016) and perhaps the discus. Versatile Amelia Graves (Pinkerton) and Dover’s Sarah Williams are the top returnees in the Javelin and Discus respectively.
Last year, Pinkerton placed runner-up to a Concord team which seemed destined to win the division title. With Concord graduating the 30 individual points with last year’s Mr. Track and Field Angel Feliz, it would seem Pinkerton has the best shot at garnering top honors this coming spring. They seemingly have all disciplines represented in the sprints, jumps, throws and distance. However, if indoors is any predictor, Indoor team Champs, Nashua North is the co-favorite. They also have quite the Track AND Field team leading us to believe it will be a very tight meet between these two powerhouses for top honors. Matter of fact, with North picking up so many extra points in the fields coupled with Pinkerton’s 300-600-1000 guys all squeezing into the 400-800, the edge should lean North’s way.
With the aforementioned Feliz graduated, will teammate junior Dalton Mutz (Concord) assume the mantle of D1’s best sprinter? He is the top returnee in both the 100 and 200. Or will Pinkerton’s Jadyn Ruimwijk (junior) claim the best D1 sprinter title? However you feel, we are in for a great show, as these two were separated by .01 in the 200 last year.
Winnacunnet’s Billy Powers is simply one of the best hurdlers in NH history. He is the favorite to defend his high hurdle title and to claim the 300 Hurdles. Looking at jumps, the city of Nashua is the hot bed. Nashua South boasts Daniel Frechette and Terrell Lewis in the High Jump while Nashua North has Jordan Buckmire in the Long, High (2nd 2016) and Triple Jumps (2016 D1 Champ).
It should also be noted that pole vault is up in the air 🙂 with 3 very close returners in Scott Rathburn (Keene), Ben Clough (Pinkerton), and Kyle Swanson (Bishop Guertin) who will all be looking to hit 13′ this year!
Pinkerton may have the depth in distance, but Nashua North’s duo of Conner Muise and David Vorbach could generate the most points in the team battle. Expect to see this play out especially in 3200 as Pinkerton returns Patrick Bastek and Joe Gagnon. Alvirne’s Noah Bellomo is the only defending distance champ returning for 2017. Since he won the indoor 1k title, he represents the prohibitive favorite to win the 800 once again. Don’t sleep on Concord’s Jamie Wilkes or Keene’s Jonathan Allard either. Both are threats in both the 800 and 1600.
With many of the top throwers from 2016 graduating, all three events are wide open. If indoors is an indicator, seniors will rule once again. While Merrimack’s Jason Theriault won the shot and will certainly be a contender, top D1 javelin returnee Colin Bigelow (Pinkerton) placed 3rd.
Here at NHTF, we love stats, and we can’t wait for the season to start to get some more data. So we took a look at last year’s divisional meets and thought we would score them without the seniors. Now the numbers are a great baseline, but do not account for everything; they don’t even include any relays. On top of that, you still need to account for injuries, DQ’s, transfers, people trying new events, improvements, freshmen, events that aren’t filled up, and so much more.