Championship Preview! 2024 Division 3 States!

NHIAA State Division Championship Meet Hub

Running Events Program – Courtesy of Lancer Timing

Field Events Program


With the seedings being solidified last night and my list of things to get done before Thursday’s meet, rather than go through events one by one, I’m going to highlight what I see, or maybe more truthfully, what I want to see.  Rather than talking about it, let’s dig in.

We’ve got a couple teams really looking to maximize scoring with their top individuals in order to try to “steal” the team championship from schools with maybe more players.  I’d have to say I love this from a fan perspective, but it’s certainly risky on the individual level.  I mean last year Patrick Gandini was able to lift his entire team on his shoulders, having a role in 40 of Gilford’s team total of 73 points.  That’s a successful gamble.  But not too long ago, Stevens with a boys sprint/mid-D squad had a real shot during Covid, with the #1 4×4 team in the state if I recall, and due to splitting genders and the push to beat the incoming inclement weather, their team didn’t even make the top three and advance to MOCs.  It’s always a gamble, hence the potential for excitement.  I’ll be keeping my eye on these teams for sure.

A team to watch this year is the Monadnock boys and their quest of the boys title.  With only five entries in the field events after the dust settled, they are only anticipated to score two points in the field.  However looking through seedings you can see they are full up with distance points and hurdle points.  Can a team win with lopsided points like this?  Should be interesting.

In the run up to last year’s meet, I had mentioned how youthful the entries in the girls sprints were and that remains true this year as well.  Of the 32 entries in the 100 and 200, only two are seniors.  Newport’s Junior Maddox Lovely is top seed in the 100 with Gilford’s freshman sensation Macy Sawyer the top seed in the 200.

And how about the boys sprints!  While consummate performer in Brady’s Josh Gentchos is the class of both events, the rest of the field are no slouches either.  How about three guys under 11 in the 100 in Gentchos, Trinity’s Nehemiah Oyaronbi and PCA’s Tim Kelm, and four guys under 23 in the 200 (and Brady’s Alan Yap to the mix.)  These events should be explosive.

I’m going to switch over to throws for a minute.  While we’ve seen greater separation from the field by our top athletes before, in Mascoma’s Georgia Kondi and Newport’s Kyle Ashley, we see athletes that have the ability to take command of their events.  Kondi leads all throwers in the shot and disc by one and a half feet and 6 feet respectively, and has been at the top of the heap all season long.  Similarly, Ashley has had the top shot and jav throws since seemingly last spring.  He has almost a foot advantage in shot, and 28 feet in javelin, while also being seeded fourth in disc.  These should be fun events to watch, even from a distance guys perspective.

Speaking of distance, another interesting quirk this year is attrition.  It’s not unusual to see athletes drop from the middle to back end of the seeding list in order to focus on the distance side or the sprint side of things, as well as their teams desire to create strong relay teams.  But this year it seems unusual as the 27th ranked 1600 meter runner will be in the field, as well as 27th 3200 meter runner on the girls side, and the 35th 800 meter runner on the boys side.  

One of reasons for this is the amount of high quality distance performances throughout the division this spring.  While the top end quality seems similar to past years, the density of performances, the amount of athletes with performances within tenths and hundredths of seconds of each other seems on the increase.  While sub five in the boys mile and sub fourteen in the girls 3200 are still sorts of marking points, in order to fill the fields, we needed to rely on 11 boys dropping and the same for the girls.  

Not to leave out jumping, we have six boys bettering 6 feet with Trinity’s Anthony DiGiantommaso having cleared 6-4.  That’s up there.  Triple sees three with jumps over 40 feet, long jump has three over 20 feet and Sanborn’s Ben Cardoso comes in with a vault of 12-0 to better the field by a foot in pole vault.

For girls, Somersworth’s Sya McKay lead six ladies with jumps 5 feet and over with her seeding of 5-2.  Long jump has six girls greater than 15 feet with triple having 15! Over 30 feet, with Belmont’s Adeline Takantjas and Hopkinton’s Grace Hall a foot better than the field with jumps beyond 34 feet.  

Not to leave out girls pole vault, but there’s an interesting human interest story there in Conant’s Bella Nero.  Nero, who is legally blind, took up pole vault last year and became very proficient, finishing second in D3s last year with a vault of 7-6 while also finishing 5th in the 3200.  If you looked through the seedings, you would see she’s absolutely absent from any running events, as she broke a bone in her foot and can’t run any sustained distance at this point.  This however has allowed her to focus solely on pole vault and it’s paid off.  She leads all qualifiers by over a foot and has a clearance of 9-4, substantially ahead of where she was last year.  Lemonade from lemons.

And I’m going to end on that note.  For those of you who want to prognosticate on relay winners and team championships, have at it.  Every time I try to do so in a preview I get smoked in the aftermath, so I’ll leave that to others.  The one thing I can say is, with all the highlights I listed in here along with the ones I likely missed, it should be an exciting day for the Division 3 track and field fan.  Enjoy!


Share Your Thoughts