D2 NHIAA State Championships Preview!

2018 Indoor Championships Meet Hub – Free Livestream, records, past results

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By Mike Smith

While track and field isn’t everyone’s idea for a Superbowl Sunday warm up, here in New Hampshire we get the biggest day of indoor track right along with the Big Game.  And while there is endless intrigue between the beloved Patriots (as long as you live in New England!) and the Philadelphia Eagles that we’ll undoubtedly hear all about in the six hours leading up to game time, the real deal will be happening on the indoor oval in the Leverone Field House in Hanover, NH as the best indoor athletes take each other on for track and field supremacy across the state.  As with last year, NHTF.com will be there taking pics, conducting interviews and providing a free live stream for those who cannot make it!

DSC_2394First up on the day is the Division 2 meet, and while made up of the smaller schools across the state, make no mistake, some of the best athletes in track and field will be competing in the early meet.  In six events, the Division 2 athletes have better marks than Division 1, so expect some New England and possibly National caliber performances.  While we’ll preview all the events from sprints to throws, jumps to distance, I want to highlight some of the most intriguing match-ups and entries in the morning’s program.

First off, if there was an event you were going to put your money on that would be the Shot Put.  Both the men’s and women’s events have as close to a sure thing in Marcus Roper  and Kath Merchant both of Lebanon.  Both these athletes lead their perspective fields by nearly two feet and barring some mishap, should be at the top of the leader board when the dust settles.

Another solid bet would that a Robitaille walking away with a State title.  Between twin sisters Julia and Corinne, the West DSC_3627teammates qualified for the championships as either the #1 or #2 seed in every running event save the hurdles.  And while it’s unlikely they could run the table, expecting a title by one for them would seem like a sure thing. *(The sisters are trying to combine for nearly 50 points by their entries in the 55, 300, 600, 1500 and 3000.)

One of the most intriguing event is the women’s 1000 meters.  Raymond’s Anna Harmon has a three second advantage over Julia Robitaille, however a ten second lead over every other girl that has run the 1000 this year.  Harmon solo’d the 1500 to a 4:42 in the last regular season meet of the season, only 5 seconds down on Robitaille’s season best run at the Dartmouth Relays. *(The top girls have ceded Anna the 1000 meter title by opting for other events.  The second seed is Milford’s Lauren Robinson whose seed time is 14 DSC_2933seconds slower.)

One other event to keep your eyes on is the men’s 1500 meters.  Top seed Spenser Sawyer will be doubling back from the 1000 and Cameron Starr  squeezed in at the Last Chance Hampshire Dome meet.  Last year’s race chasing Patrick O’Brien in the 3000 when the state record was set, shows Starr has the pedigree to be a factor.  Who knows how this one will go?

But there are going to be lots of great match-ups over the morning contests so let’s take a look at what’s going down in the events.

Girls Accepted EntriesDSC_4092

Team Championships

Looking at the final entries after the seeding meeting, it would appear Milford has the upper-hand in the scoring, with points coming in from most of the mid-distance events, jumps, throws, and the relays.  They are asking a lot from a handful of athletes, but the Lady Spartans always seem to thrive in these scenarios.  Souhegan would seem to be sitting in the passenger seat, with points spread out pretty evenly across the events, but have a large upside as they have potential to improve their seeds in a number of contests.  Close behind would be Portsmouth and West, mostly on the backs of three athletes.  After that look for Oyster River to try to sneak into the top three with some dominance in the sprints and relays.

WTL 1-27-70Sprints

Qualifying times for the top three entrants, Acadia Momm-White of Portsmouth, Devan McLain of Oyster River and Corrine Robitaille are separated by a scant two hundredths of a second and seeded faster by more than two tenths of a second up on the #4 seed. Expect the winner to come from those three.  Robitaille and McClain clash over the 300 again with the second seed going to Souhegan’s Abby Cranney.  Oyster River’s Amelia Concannon also dips below the 44 second mark into the 4th seed.  In the High Hurdles, Momm-White almost has a second on second seed Sana Syed of Belmont and expect her to be your winner.


When I saw the entries for this meet, I had to go back to 2003 to confirm what I remembered.  That year Hanover’s Catherine Bryson DSC_3453took part in a second place team effort by scoring 38 of the 54 points the team had.  In that she won the 3000, 600, 1500 and anchored the 4×400. West’s Julia Robitaille is entered in the same individual events and West is listed in the 4×200 as well.  This might be a reach for Robitaille, winning the 600 with the 3000 in her legs, but with the exception of Souhegan’s Elise Lambert, the fields been cleared out for other events, making the trifecta more of a reality.  As mentioned above, the 1000 has been cleared out for Raymond’s Anna Harmon, and save a major blow up Harmon should be your winner.


As mentioned above, Robitaille is trying to do something that certainly ranges on magical.  I remember Bryson kicking away from the field on the final lap in the 1500.  However it’s no longer 2003, and the quality of the fields have improved tremendously.  If Robitaille is to do it, she’ll have to deal with Milford’s Rebecca Durham, who is actually the top seed in the 3000.  Teammate Lauren Robinson is the third seed in both, as well as the second seed in the 1000 (is this a tougher triple than Robitaille?), as Milford looks for points in the distance events.


DSC_2438In High jump, Sanborn’s Hannah Ehlers and Pelham’s Mia Herring are both seeded at a solid height of 5′ 4″.  As long as they can find a rhythm, one of them should be your winner.  In the Long Jump, Milford’s Viankah Williams leads the field over teammate Renee Wilson and Souhegan’s Hannah Rowe.  Momm-White and Windham’s Scarlett Souter have all reached the 16 foot mark and could factor into the win.


As mentioned before, Kath Merchant of Lebanon leads the field by almost two feet, but there are three others that have breached the 35 foot mark in Mady Buchalski of St. Thomas, Kathleen Collins of Coe-Brown and Megan Sheehan of Sanborn.


Relays can be tough to predict as the relay squad shifts for the championships, but the top seed for both the 4×200 and 4×400 is Oyster River.  Expect them to defend those points in an effort to win the meet.  In the 4×800, Coe-Brown is the top seed and expect them to defend their ranking with a vengeance.  It appears the distance squad from Northwood wants this one.

Boys Accepted EntriesDiv II-III Indoor Championship 2017-649

Team Championship

Windham would seem to be in the driver’s seat, looking to grab some big points on the back of Sawyer and company.  Oyster River is lurking right behind, hoping to grab some big points in the relays and distance events.  Portsmouth, with a well balanced attack, will try to steal points here and there, potentially swooping in if one of the top two flounder.  Then it seems there is a gap back to Trinity and Hanover.


DSC_3654In the season preview, I stated if Hanover’s Kyle Doucette were to come out for indoor track he should be the man to beat.  As the top seed in both the 55 and 300, it would seem my prediction came true.  However, Doucette is scheduled for the 55 only.  Contenders in both events include Windham’s Matthew Garafano, Goffstown’s Brandon St. Onge, Trinity’s Stephen Duckett and Oyster River’s Connor Manning.  In the High Hurdles, Coe Brown’s Orion Clachar is a strong favorite, being chased by Portsmouth’s Will Fahey and Portsmouth Christian’s Fiston Kapongo.


Spenser Sawyer of Windham was the top qualifier from the 600 to the 3000. Sawyer has elected to focus on the 1000/1500 double, which is a tough one, opening the door for Colm Seigne of Hanover, who has a two second advantage over his pursuers placing him in the driver’s seat in the 600.  Barring a mishap, Sawyer should be able to control the outcome in the 1k as he has almost a five-second advantage over Belmont’s Nick Randos and ConVal’s Evan Coyne.


The highlight of last year’s meet came in the 3k when OR’s Patrick O’Brien broke the state record on a pure solo effort.  While there DSC_3819will be no state record attempt this year,  distance fans should still be in for great excitement as the competition in this one is fierce, with the top five individuals separated by 11 seconds on paper.  MV’s David Reynolds is the top seed with Coe-Brown’s Evan Tanguay less than 2 seconds behind.  Add in OR’s Kieren Murphy to the mix, and we should be in for a treat as any one of these three could pull this one off.  Look for OR’s freshmen duo of Andy O’Brien and Owen Fleischer to possibly crash this party.

As mentioned before, Sawyer’s going for the 1000/1500 double and while he had a cushion in the 1000, the second seed Murphy of Oyster River is only 14 hundredths of a second behind in seed time.  Both of those guys will have a race in their legs already, potentially priming the race for a steal by someone fresh.  Milford’s Blake Audibert, Windham’s Robby St. Laurent and Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt will be fresh and don’t forget the “Starr” factor.


DSC_2475In the high jump, both Luke Leonard of Windham and Sidonio Labelle-Brown of Oyster River have clearances of 6-2, with Fahey of Portsmouth, Camden Donovan of Merrimack Valley and Ben Corbyn of Kearsarge with 6 foot clearances.  Expect the winner to come from that pool. In the long jump, with 5 entries over 20 feet, look for Trevor Gomes of Campbell and Leonard in the #1 and #2 spots to battle it out.


Marcus Roper of Lebanon leads the field by almost 5 feet, so expect him to be your winner.


As the teams try to maximize point scoring to capture a team title, expect some shifting around in the order of the relays.  Oyster River is the top seed in the 4×200, followed by Portsmouth and Windham, all looking for points to add to their individual scoring. Portsmouth leads in the 4×400, with Windham in the second slot.  In the 4×800, Oyster River is less than a two second seed over Portsmouth, so expect the racing to hot.

As with last year, we are offering a free livestream!  Below is a reminder from last year!