Track teams ready to run
Friday, February 1, 2013
It’s an unofficial national holiday, a day when most Americans plant themselves in front of a television to watch football and debate the best commercials.
But in New Hampshire, Super Bowl Sunday has traditionally meant something else. It’s the day indoor track and field championships are decided at Dartmouth College.
Local teams will play a huge role in the proceedings, with the Souhegan boys a prohibitive favorite to win a second straight Division II boys title and third in four years.
The Milford girls, who have finished in the top two three times in the last four years, have a good shot at their first title since 2009, but expect strong challenges from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy and Monadnock Regional of Swanzey.
The Hollis Brookline girls will look to get points from their group of distance runners. Emma Newton qualified in all middle and long distance races, while Meghan Philpot, Sarah Crampton and Emily Benz could also pick up points for the Cavaliers.
In Division I, the Bishop Guertin girls will be looking to make it 11 straight indoor titles, an ongoing record. Londonderry and Winnacunnet of Hampton are two schools with their eyes on ending the streak.
The Division I boys meet could very well come down to the final relays, with defending champion Pinkerton Academy and Nashua North battling it out for the title.
In most state meets, the performance of one or two athletes can make or break a team. The Milford girls will be relying heavily on senior Courtney Hawkins to do well in the 1,500 meter, the 3,000 meter and the 4x400 relay.
The Monadnock girls chances hinge, for the most part, on senior twins Michaela and Jenna Athanasopoulos, who could potentially go 1-2 in the 55 hurdles and 1-2 in the long jump, scoring 36 points in just two events.
But the Souhegan boys are so deep they don’t need a peak performance from everyone. In fact, they are deep enough to win the grueling 4x800 relay, the first event, without tiring out some of their best middle distance runners.
Junior Ben DeForrest will be a key for the Sabers, with potentially big points in the 55 dash, 55 hurdles and high jump. Sophomore Eli Moskowitz is the top seed in both the 1,500 and 3,000.
Otherwise, a battalion of Souhegan middle men will be looking to collect points, including senior Sam Ballard, senior twins Jake and Nate Kittredge and junior twins Ryan and Patrick Lynch.
The incredibly versatile Tanner Kent has qualified in everything from the 55 to 3,000. Look for him to concentrate on the shorter races Sunday.
“We don’t always have the top seed in some events,’’ Souhegan coach John Eastman, “but in races like the 600 or 1,000 we could take two or three places.’’
The Sabers won’t score in the long jump or shot put, but should be all over everything else.
The Milford girls margin of error is much thinner. Outside of Hawkins, they need a big day from senior Jessica Krafft in the 300, long jump, 4x200 and 4x400, a good day from high jumpers Olivia Rougeau and Anna Soucy and a solid day in the shot put from Camryn Johnson.
In Division I, the Bishop Guertin girls aren’t as deep as they’ve been in the past, but the quality is still there, beginning with senior points machine Betsy Garnick.
Garnick comes in as the top seed in the 55 hurdles, her best event, and at or near the top in the long jump, 55 dash and 300. She’ll likely figure in between 30-40 points.
The Cardinals will have to decide how best to deploy senior Sarah Burke and junior Molly McCabe in any race from 55-1,500 meters, not to mention the relays.
In boys Division I, it looks like a two-horse race between Pinkerton and North. The Titan have one of the top sprinters in sophomore Zakari Jenkins, one of the top distance runners in senior Craig Hammond and two of the top three in the shot put with seniors Mike Lynch and Deric Wagner.
Merrimack will get points from sprinter Adam Floyd, while Alvirne’s Aaron Bellomo is the top seed in the 1,500. Alvirne has another high seed in high jumper Phil Skinner.