The Wilderness Championships will be held on May 21st in Belmont, at 9am.
Last year, Kennett convincingly won both the men’s and women’s titles at Gilford in the 2015 Wilderness Championships. And with both teams having a lot of young talent coming back, one might think that both teams would be likely to repeat. And while that might be true for the Eagle women, more than twenty point victors last year, it’s not so likely for the men of Kennett.
While twenty point winners over the third place Kearsarge team, the Cougars appear to be poised to hoist the Wilderness crown, if not the Division 3 title as well. Winning the Black Bear Invitational back in May has helped lay the ground work for Kearsarge to rise atop the standings, buoyed by some spectacular action in the field and a much improved track presence. And the Cougars know how to win, taking their first cross country crown this past fall in a tight race. Don’t sleep on Inter-Lakes, last year’s runner up, or the surging Belmont Red Raiders. Each of these teams should be in the mix as well.
If a team is poised to topple Kennett, it would likely be the ladies from White Mountains. Well behind the Eagles last year, but supported by one of the best hurdlers in the State of New Hampshire along with a solid distance squad, the Lady Spartans seem to stand the best chance to unseat the Kennett girls.
Individually, the Wilderness championships will provide a solid dress rehearsal for many athletes looking to mix it up at Divisionals. Additionally many of them have found success at the State and New England level, and will be looking to sharpen their focus. With many of the State’s top athletes taking part in the Wilderness championships, we may see a preview to what’s to come at the Divisional meets.
On the men’s side, first and foremost might be Kearsarge’s Zach Astle. By far the best shot put thrower in the meet, Zach also comes in with the best discus throw, and is up in the standings in javelin. Can he pull off the triple? Newfound’s Noah Fogg seems the biggest hurdle for Astle.
Astle’s teammate, Troy Davis is also another colossal figure, with a six inch+ cushion in high jump. Also the favorite in the long jump and ranked second in the triple jump, Davis has an opportunity to pull off the triple crown as well.
And then there is Cam Daly of Inter-Lakes. With the fastest seed time in the 1600 and 3200, and the second fastest 400 and 800 meter times, we’ll have to see which events he will focus on going into Divisionals. Nick Brown of Kennett and Hunter Miller of Kingswood are sure to not make things easy on him though.
Kennett has the fastest 4 x400 meter time by six seconds and should be able to control the final event. Will it be enough though?
For the ladies, probably the largest talent is Alex Curtis of White Mountains in the hurdles. The class of the field in the 300 IH, Curtis will be pressed by Jaila Remillard of Winnisquam in the 100 HH. Remillard is no slouch with fast times in the 200 and leading marks in the long jump. A good day by this Bear and who knows?
Marina Baer of Gilford has two top seeds going into Wilderness, in the javelin and discus. The latter she could be challenged by Angel Jandoc of Plymouth who also leads in the shot put.
In the distance events, expect a show down between White Mountains Peyton Giles and Belmont’s Alice Riley, if they race each other. Riley has the fastest seed time in the 3200 while Giles has the upper hand in the 1600.
Belmont girls are the top seed in the 4×800 relay, with Plymouth top in the 4×100 and Kingswood in the 4×400.