PELHAM – When the Milford High School girls track team finished second at the Division II championship meet a year ago, it was on the backs of a couple of seniors with support from a lot of freshmen.
This year, those underclassmen stepped on the big stage and brought home another plaque to hang outside the Spartans’ gym.
All but 16 of Milford’s 79.33 points at Saturday’s division championship at Pelham High School were scored by freshmen and sophomores, as the Spartans finished second for the second year in a row. Milford was able to hold off Merrimack Valley, which finished third with 73 points, and both trailed Coe-Brown, which won its third straight title with 137.5 points.
On the boys side, Souhegan saw its championship run come to an end, as the Sabers scored 82 points to finish behind first-place Lebanon’s 88 and Portsmouth’s 84.
Both teams had several individuals perform well, including Souhegan’s Ben DeForest won both the boys 110- and 300-meter hurdles and took second in the high jump, and Milford’s Olivia Rougeau was first in the girls high jump, second in the long jump and helped the 4×100 relay team finish first.
“We’ve all worked so hard this season,” Rougeau said of the Spartans. “We all push each other really hard, it’s like a friendly competition.”
Milford entered the day seeded No. 1 in the girls 4×100, but the Spartans needed some late heroics to hold onto that top spot. After the first two legs, Milford was in third in the fast heat with Rougeau and Nicole McMorrow running the final two.
“I think Coe-Brown and Lebanon, or Goffstown, were in front of us,” Rougeau said of when she got the baton. “Coe-Brown, I was trying to catch her. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I passed her and gave it to (McMorrow) and she just flew. So many things were going through my head. I was just like ‘push it, Nicole, push it.’ ”
McMorrow did, holding off Merrimack Valley’s Nancy Taban and Coe-Brown’s Ariel Clachar down the straightaway.
“We had good competition and it was good race,” McMorrow said. “I could feel (Taban) on me. Usually, if I see someone, I can see them in my peripheral vision, but I couldn’t see anyone. I could hear people yelling to keep pressing. I just kept going all the way.”
Milford finished in 49.64 seconds, the team’s best time this season and just .59 seconds off the division record set by the Spartans’ relay team in 2009. Rougeau cleared 5-feet, 2-inches to win the high jump and finished second in the long jump with a leap of 16-71?2, while Camryn Johnson took second in the shot put with a throw of 33-31?2.
Arena also had a great day, coming in second in the 100, sixth in the 200 and the freshman tied for fourth in the high jump, along with leading off the 4×100. McMorrow was also third in the long jump and sixth in the 100.
Brianna Lippitt (second), Emily Wood (third) and Hanna Hembrow (fifth) all placed in the pole vault for the Spartans, while Olivia Mabbett took third in the high jump and Sydney Osorio finished sixth in the shot put. Aimee Krafft, Taylor Fagan, Alex Matsis and Brittany Gentilhomme came in fifth in the 4×800 relay.
“One of the things we like to do, we run the kids in lots of events at every meet,” Milford coach Mike Wright said. “When they come here (to the division meet), and they have to do four events, I don??t want it to be a surprise. A lot of teams don’t do that. I figure our kids are pretty tough.”
DeForest kept his streak of wins in the 110 hurdles going – the senior hasn’t lost to another New Hampshire runner in the event since sophomore year – as he finished first in 14.64. He also cruised to a win in the 300 hurdles in 40.73.
“We’ve been doing pretty well, and I definitely met all my goals,” DeForest said. “I would have liked to have won the high jump, but (Lebanon’s John) Cioffredi is a great athlete, so I can’t be too upset. I was really happy with both my wins.”
Souhegan was up by as many as 10 points midway through the meet, but Cioffredi won the high jump and the triple jump for Lebanon, and was second in the long jump and shot put to help the Raiders pull ahead.
Although the Sabers 4×400 relay team of Ben Massa, Brady Camplin, Patrick Lynch and Ben Platt finished first (3:29.68) in the final event, Portsmouth’s second place pushed the Clippers into second overall.
Lynch, Platt, Eli Moskowitz and Cameron Behn also combined to win the 4×800 (8:06.28) while Trevor Brown won the pole vault (12-5) in one of the more surprising finishes of the day.
Milford’s Alex Tamulonis, last year’s winner in the pole vault, entered seeded first with a vault two feet ahead of the field, but failed to record a height in the event.
Souhegan also got a second place from Moskowitz in the 1,600, while Platt was third and Ryan Lynch fifth in the 800. Camplin came in fourth in the 400 and Patrick Lynch was fifth in the 3,200. Behn (300 hurdles) and Jon Nogueira (pole vault) each had a sixth place.
The Milford boys came in fifth with 38 points, getting a second place from Connor Gosselin in the javelin.
Jimmy Spalding took third in the pole vault and was fifth in the 300 hurdles, while Ian Michaud (110 hurdles), Aaron Ladeau (triple jump) and Tim Tamulonis (pole vault) each had a fourth place.
The Spartans’ 4×100 team of Alex Tamulonis, Eric Baerenrodt, Willie Miles and Evan Perron came in fourth, while Tamulonis, Baerenrodt, Jack Nichols and Aaron Ladeau took third in the 4×400.
Evan Porter did all the scoring for the HB boys, as he was sixth in the 110 hurdles.
The Souhegan and Hollis Brookline girls teams tied for 10th, as each recorded 17 points.
Hannah Culver was fourth in the 400 for Souhegan while Madelein Hunt came in fifth in the 1,600. Hunt and Culver teamed up with Sarah Hurd and Min Lu Kelly-Durham to finish fifth in the 4×400 relay. Hurd, Culver, Amy Lambert and Hannah Gillis were also second in the 4×800 relay. Mikayla Hickey finished sixth in the long jump.
The top six finishers in each event advance to Saturday’s Meet of Champions, which will be held at Londonderry High School.