Standing on the runway for her final long jump attempt Saturday in Boston at the New England Interscholastic Championships, Viankah Williams had plenty of options.
She could take a mental checklist, envisioning every step in her head.
She could have cleared everything out, in the “don’t think, just jump,” mindset.
Instead, the Milford High track star dug deep into her heart.
“Even before I got on the boards, and right before my final jump in the finals, I thought of her,” said Williams, speaking of her recently-deceased grandmother, Vivian. “And that’s when I jumped my 18 (feet)!”
Actually, the leap was 18-0.75, over a foot further than she soared four weeks ago (16-7) to win the New Hampshire Division II state championship and good enough to claim the title “2018 New England Champ.”
Williams, who missed much of the winter season with a right hamstring issue, has dedicated the entire year to Vivian, the mother of her dad, former University of Pittsburgh football player Vince
“She fought so hard in her life, I just wanted to win if for her,” said
Williams’ win on Saturday was fairly epic, considering where she was just eight weeks ago.
After missing all the winter season and all but the last couple weeks of her sophomore outdoor campaign with a left hamstring issues, the 2016 State Outdoor champ in the 100 and 200 was off track again this winter, with the right
“I really worked hard to get back,” she said
And when Williams burst into the picture at Dartmouth on Super Sunday, not just in the long jump but with an eye-popping 4Ã–200 anchor leg, she let folks around New Hampshire that she had returned.
Saturday’s title also serves as a warning shot.
“I’m ready for outdoor, I can’t wait,” said Williams. “It’s been tough with the injuries, but this is all about perseverance. Everything is healthy now, and I’m going to be focussed outdoors.”
There were several other notable performances at New Englands on Saturday from area athletes.
Souhegan’s Jane Leighton took 10th place overall in the 1000 meters with a 3:00.67 clocking. Saber teammate Elise Lambert was 12th in the 600 with a 1:39.01 time.
Also, Nashua South’s Sydney Lewis cleared 5-3 to earn 14th place in the high jump. Bishop Guertin’s Meredith Basta was 17th, heaving the shot put 35-10.
On the boys side, Campbell’s Trevor Gomes was the top placer, grabbing seventh in the long jump at 21-5.25. The dangerous Nashua North distance duo of David Vorbach and Max Ireland competed in the two-mile. Vorbach took 10th place in 9:32.63, while Ireland was right behind in 15th at 9:43.45.
NEW ENGLANDS WRESTLING REPORT
The New England Wrestling Championship over the weekend in Providence provided exactly the level of competition you might expect at such a high caliber event.
None of the nine qualified local wrestlers were able to place (top six). Here’s a look at their weekend.
Merrimack senior Julien Hovan came within one victory of placing, finishing the two days with a 3-2 record. His classmate and fellow co-captain Dom Damata was 1-2 at 220 pounds.
Bishop Guertin 152-pounder Dan Franco also fought hard in his bid to place but fell in the consolations to Timberlane’s Justin Berube (state MOC championship rematch). Franco finished 2-2. Also finishing 2-2 in his first try was Alvirne freshman 160-pounder Kyle Gora.
Bishop Guertin freshmen 113 pounder Jesse Brochu (0-2) and 132-pounder Zach Rioux (1-2) picked up some valuable experience.
BG’s Hunter McLaughlin, Milford’s Ricky DeBernardo and Nashua South’s Trevor Froburg, who got in at 138 pounds as an alternate when Kingswood’s Brian Lindsay couldn’t wrestle, all were 0-2.
New Hampshire did have a champion and seven other placers at New Englands. They were:
120: 6. Barrett Kapler, Timberlane
126: 3. Hayden Brown, Exeter
132: 1. Connor McGonagle, Timberlane
138: 3. AJ Pagliarulo, Bedford
145: 2. Noah Strout, Oyster River
152: 5. Justin Berube, Timberlane
160: 4. Tristen Cabinta, Salem
170: 5. Dan Curran, ConVal
Division III quarters
No. 5 Campbell 71,
No. 13 White Mountains 66
The Cougars had a tough quarterfinal but managed to escape to Wednesday’s semifinals.
The Cougars are now 15-4, having won nine of their last 10.
They will either face top seed Hopkinton or No. 9 Monadnock in the semis at Southern New Hampshire University.
The Cougars led 32-27 at the half and 52-43 entering the fourth quarter.
Leading the way for Campbell were Joaquin Heller with 18 points and Jake Scafidi with 15.