Sibling rivalries abound on track for decathlon, heptathlon
On Father's Day weekend, it will be a family affair at the New Hampshire State Decathlon and Heptathlon Championships at Nashua South.
The 57th decathlon for boys is the oldest high school decathlon in the country. For the girls in the heptathlon it will be the 37th state championship.
The decathlon begins at 9 a.m. today and the heptathlon at 10 a.m. Both events are scheduled for 9 a.m. starts Sunday.
The unusual wrinkle this weekend is that six sets of twins will be participating.
Nashua South boys' track and field coach and decathlon director Jason Paling said that he and wife Siobahn Kemezys, who is the Nashua South girls' coach and director of the heptathlon, noticed the unusual nature of all the twins participating when the athletes were signing up.
"I like to joke that it's occurring on Father's Day weekend and you'll have these sibling rivalries vying for attention," Paling said.
Not only are there six sets of twins, but they come from just three different schools.
Manchester West has two sets of twins from the same family competing in the heptathlon: seniors Rachel and Rebecca Avard and sophomores Vanessa and Hannah Avard. Monadnock of Swanzey has two sets of twins in the heptathlon in freshmen Skyler and Alexis Cooke and seniors Michaela and Jenna Athanasopoulos .
Coe-Brown of Northwood has seniors Lindsey and Katelyn Terry and brother-sister senior duo Samantha and Anthony Toscano.
All told, Paling said that 167 athletes will be participating, representing 27 schools on the girls' side and 26 on the boys'.
"It's a great turnout from Divisions I, II and III," Paling said.
Athletes to watch on the decathlon side include Stevens of Claremont's Ramario Bailey, who finished seventh last year, and Nashua North's Bill Goulding.
Paling said that the potential favorite to win, Kearsarge of North Sutton's Gabe Carter, would not be able to participate because his graduation takes place during the decathlon.
On the heptathlon side, the Athanasopoulos twins are solid contenders after finishing second (Jenna) and third (Michaela) as juniors last year.
Other names to keep an eye on on the girls' side Lebanon senior Kelly Ledew, who was fifth last year, and Souhegan of Amherst's Sarah Hurd, who finished sixth.
There will be no repeat winners as decathlon champion Chris Bohi of Merrimack Valley of Penacook and heptathlon champion Hillary Holmes of Exeter were both seniors last year.