By Nate Leveille
3) Bedford: After sweeping the indoor/outdoor championships last year, they still have to be one of the favorites to challenge for the top spot. They have a few gaps to fill after graduating Salis, Scribner, Redman, and McCoole, but the coaching staff has always done an excellent job reloading. They may score points in bunches in the HJ, shot, and hurdles. Until we see what they have after the first couple of meets, I have them as the 3 seed.
2) Bishop Guertin: BG looks to be poised to challenge for a team championship over the next few years. They had a very young core of girls last year that carried them to a respectable 3rd place finish. I nearly chose them as the preseason favorites. If they added some depth for the relays to go along with their superstars Caroline Fischer, Cameryn Nichols, and Julie Nigro, they may have enough to surprise the Astros.
1) Pinkerton: Nearly pulled off the upset at last year’s Division 1 championships behind amazing performances on the track. They return a number of core members of that team including Amelia Graves and Britney Johnson. I went with experience over youth for this preseason team prediction, but time will tell.
Based on returning place winners from last year’s Division 1 State Championships, the team scores coming into this year would be Bedford 68, Pinkerton 51, and BG 44. As you can see I went away from conventional thinking. Last year it took 83 points to win the championship, but this year the points could be more spread out. The last time Bedford didn’t win the state championship was in 2014 when BG won with a score of 61 points. If the point totals for the contending teams stay relatively low, this could open the door for other teams like Exeter and Nashua South to get in the mix. The difference in the meet this year may be the recruiting job coaches were able to do in the off-season. Look for a mid-season team prediction once the meets get under way.
Individuals to Watch:
Jacqueline Gaughan of Exeter High School: The list has to start with the 4x All-American. How low can she bring the 3k state record? Could she pull off the triple at states?
Caroline Fischer of BG: Caroline, only a sophomore, had an amazing championship last winter finishing second to Gaughan in both the 3k and 1500m. She will be a major factor in team scoring for the Lady Cardinals.
Sydney Lewis of Nashua South: Sydney is one of the most athletic and talented young athletes in the state. Now a Junior, she could challenge the high jump record. The high jump record is one many of us thought would stand for many, many years when it was set back in 2005.
Katya Rojco of Salem: Katya had an excellent 9th grade year in the horizontal jumps. She is my preseason pick in the Long jump. After her 300 meter hurdle performance outdoors, might she had the 55 hurdles to her events?
Sarah Williams of Dover: The throwers don’t get much love indoors only having one event to compete in, but Sarah is the real deal. She comes into the season as the favorite in the shot by more than 4 feet! Can she push towards the 40-foot mark?
Britney Johnson of Pinkerton: If Pinkerton wins the state title indoors, you can bet that Britney will run 4 races. She will unselfishly run for place and points, and will be one of the keys to their success. She scored 14 individual points last year and was on their victorious relays as well. This may be the year she gets her individual state title in the 1000 meters and a team title.
Chrismeily Borg of Nashua South: Chrismeily is the top returning sprinter in the dash. She plays a pivotal role on the always solid Nashua South relays.
Amelia Graves of Pinkerton: Amelia is one of the most talented if not the most talented sprinter in the state. She comes in as the defending 300 meter champ and should challenge in the 55 dash as well.