Milford’s Krafft, Robinson cruise to victory at states
DURHAM – After two years of having to be satisfied with runner-up trophies, the Milford High girls track and field squad strode confidently into the 2019 Division II Track and Field Championships at the University of New Hampshire on Saturday feeling like it just might be able to outdistance the two-time defending Portsmouth Clippers this time around.
Senior star runner Lauren Robinson and her teammates faced the absolutely magnificent day hopeful that this was in fact their big day. And the shot at the divisional crown appeared to lay within their reach again.
Alas, the Spartans wound up needing to be satisfied with third place this time around, while the biggest team news was made by the Hollis Brookline boys, who took home the runner-up trophy by tallying a huge 12 points in the final scored event – the long jump – to end up second behind the champs from Coe-Brown.
Before the results for boys’ event 18 were tallied, Hollis Brookline sat in third place, a single point behind Merrimack Valley (47-46). But a second place finish by junior J.J. Kennedy and a fourth from senior Joey Dias in the long jump gave the Cavaliers the 12 big points they needed to surpass Merrimack Valley handily and finish with a tally of 58. Coe-Brown won the crown with a score of 65. The Milford Spartans wound up sixth overall.
In the girls’ intense competition, Portsmouth ended up notching its third straight D-II crown by registering a score of 91.50. Oyster River of Durham was the runner-up (87), and Milford managed a tally of 69.50 for third place. Souhegan wound up sixth.
But stepping into the big day, Lauren Robinson and her fellow Spartans felt as though they could in fact bag the big trophy with a great effort.
“I think this year we’re really strong in the field events,” .said the University of Alabama at Birmingham-bound stalwart minutes after winning the 1600-meter run. “If we win it’ll be because of the field events. The running events are important too, but the field events don’t get enough credit.”
Milford did in fact make considerable noise in the field events, with Robyn Krafft winning the discus (130 feet, 9 inches) and snagging third in the shot put. And the Spartans also got excellent work from Renee Wilson and Leslie McGrath in field events. But on the whole, the Milford mob didn’t have enough to finish atop D-II.
Robinson herself was expected to play a major role in point-gathering for Milford in the 1600 and 3200 distances races and as one-quarter of her squad’s 4×400 relay quartet.
She got off to an exceptional start by winning the 1600 – in which she was the runner-up at the 2018 D-II championships – quite handily in a time of 5 minutes and 7.50 seconds.
“I won the two-mile last year but finished second in this race. And I really wanted to win this one this year,” she said with a wide grin.
At the completion of five girls’ events, Oyster River held the tiniest of 29-28 leads over Milford with Portsmouth third with 16. Helping the locals immensely to those 28 points – along with Robinson’s heroics – was an exceptional 16-point showing in the discus by the victorious Krafft and her teammate Rachel Gizzonio in third. Sandwiched between those two Spartans was Hollis Brookline’s Lily Jackson in second.
But with the weather warming markedly, Robinson proved unable to defend her title in the 3200, ending up fifth overall behind local Chloe Trudel from Souhegan, who placed third.
However, Leslie McGrath’s second place in the high jump (4 feet 10 inches) lofted the Milford mob over Oyster River and into first place (36-29) at least for the moment. But the Milford lead would end up being short-lived.
Other locals who excelled were the Souhegan 4×800 relay quartet of Adrianna Zlotnick, Georgia Jones, Mackenzie Hayden, and Trudel, who proved unbeatable in their event with a finishing time of 9:46.36. Jones also claimed an individual second in the 800.
The dramatic and impressive finish by Hollis Brookline’s guys wound up being possible thanks to the efforts of a bunch of stalwarts, with important second places getting bagged by the 4×800 relay quartet of Aidan Maguire, John Kotelly, Kyle Simpson, and Jordin Stone, and Isaiah Velez in the 100-meter dash. Kennedy also snared a fourth in that latter event.
Other Cavs’ scoring efforts came from Chase Adams in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles (both thirds), the 4×100 relay team, and Stone in the 800 (fifth).
The Milford males also got some performances of which they could be proud, with three Spartans combining for 14 points in the shot put and two Milford standouts combining for a dozen points in the discus.
In the shot, Colton Burrows nabbed second, Caden Zalenski claimed fourth, and Juniorm Ughu placed fifth. In the discus, Ughu was second and Ashanti Maronie took fourth.
In the Division III State Meet, also held at UNH, Wilton-Lyndeborough’s Samuel Bailey stole the show in the throwing events.
The senior closed out his Division III career with a pair of state championships, in the process stamping himself an absolute threat in this week’s Granite State Meet of Champions.
That event is Saturday at UNH, kicking off at 2:30 p.m.
Bailey will be there, battling in three events after winning the Division II shot put with a throw of 50-feet. He also hurled the discus 150-11, to crush his nearest competition by over nine feet. Finally, he tossed the javelin 140-2, taking fourth place overall.