Souhegan boys, Coe-Brown girls rule in Division II track championship
While Souhegan's Sabers were defending their championship with 50 points to spare over second-place Portsmouth with two wins from junior hurdler and high jumper Ben DeForest, Coe-Brown seized the first indoor title since the girls' program started competing indoors 15 years ago, by 10 points over nearest pursuer Milford.
Alley Savioli won Coe-Brown's only individual event by throwing the shot put 36 feet, 6.25 inches to edge Milford's Camryn Johnson by less than a foot, but her teammates backed her up with a wide range of top-six performances.
"The great thing about our team is that we have so much depth," freshman distance runner Elisabeth Danis said after finishing second to rival Milford's Courtney Hawkins in the 1,500 and 3,000-meter races. "We don't just have one person doing all the scoring."
Coe-Brown also had Jelessa Nelson running second to Conant's Kathareeya Tonyai in the 55-meter dash (in which CB's Lauren Montgomery earned a point for sixth place), while senior Katelyn Terry finished third in the 1,000-meter run, freshman Brooke Laskowsky placed fourth in the 3,000, Sam Donohue threw the shot 31-6.5 for two fifth-place points, and Samantha Toscano placed sixth in the long jump. The team secured the title by placing second to Hanover in the final event of the meet, the 4-by-200-meter relay, to go with a third in the 4-by-800 and a sixth in the 4-byp400.
The only question surrounding Souhegan's Sabers was how far behind they would see the other boys in their rear-view mirror. Ben DeForest set the tone by winning his second straight Division II title in the 55-meter hurdles (7.78 seconds to 8.02 runner-up Patrick Fitzgerald of Windham) and by clearing the bar in the high jump at 6 feet, 2 inches in fewer tries than second-place Kyle Cayer of Portsmouth and Jarad Asselin of Milford. Meanwhile, fellow Sabers Jacob Kittredge (1 minutes, 25.24 seconds) and Sam Ballard (1:25.77) delivered a 1-2 punch at the head of the pack raced in the 600-meter race and Kittredge added a fourth-place finish at 1,000 meters.
For insurance, Tanner Kent won the 300-meter dash in 36.92 seconds and ran third in the 55, while Eli Moskowitz placed second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000, Ryan Hinrichs ran second in the 3,000 and Patrick Lynch supplied two points with fifth place in the 1,500. Souhegan relay teams also struck gold in the 4-by-400 and the 4-by-800.
"The pressure's definitely on when you're coming back as champion, but this feels good," DeForest said. "It's the right kind of pressure."
If Hanover senior Aidan Bardos was feeling any pressure to repeat her 2011 and 2012 victories in the 600-meter race, it didn't show Sunday. She patiently rode the shoulder of Windham sophomore Kristen Tilley for two laps, then kicked past her at the bell for the final lap and ran away to victory in 1:39.35 to Tilley's 1:41.79. And Bardos had enough left to run the anchor legs of Hanover's victories in the back-to-back 4-by-400 and 4-by-200 relays.
"My coaches were saying, 'Focus on one race at a time,'" Bardos said after leading the Marauders to a third-place team finish overall. "I tried to push everything else out of my head going into the 600. But I was glad that the boys' relay (4 by 400) took a while (with four separate heats). I had enough time to recover."
Courtney Hawkins kept Milford's girls in the hunt for the team title by winning the 1,500 in 4:57.36 and the 3,000 in 10:28.2. Also claiming victories in the competition for girls were Goffstown's Michelle Tremblay in the 300-meter dash (in 41.8 seconds) Oyster River freshman Maegan Doody in the 1,000 (3:04.37, to go with a third-place finish in the 1,500), and Monadnock senior Jenna Athanasopoulos in the 55-meter hurdles. Athanasopoulos outleaned twin sister Michaela for that title, while Michaela outleaped Jenna by 1.25 inches for second place in the long jump, which Goffstown's Brooke Simmons won with a final flight of 16-5.5.
Simmons also forged a three-way tie for second with Lebanon's Lauren Anikis and Souhegan's Sarah Hurd in the high jump, behind Milford freshman Olivia Rougeau of Milford.
Joining DeForest among boys winning two events each was Coe-Brown junior Jeremy Brassard with a 1,500-meter time of 4:14.16 and a 9:05.28 in the 3,000. Other Granite State boys reaching the winner's circle were Merrimack Valley's Andrew Alicea in the 55 dash (6.76 seconds), Belmont's Joseph Boles in the 1,000, Kearsarge senior Gabe Carter in the long jump (20 feet, 7.5 inches to 20 feet even for Kennett's Michael Mason), and Tommy Hughes with a shot put of 48-0.75.