Great performances at New Hampshire track championships
Sunday’s spectacular Division I Indoor Track State Championship Meet absolutely deserves a second look. So here are some thoughts as anyone who made the trip to Hanover in the morning attempts to catch their collective breath.
Nashua North boys coach Art Kobs summed up his team’s runner-up performance succinctly and brilliantly.
“Just a great day to be a Titan,” Kobs said.
And it certainly was.
The North boys took their personal-best sheet and shredded it, rewriting things on the fly.
In the 3000 meters, senior Gediyon Prince shaved a whopping 25 seconds off his seed time to claim fifth place in 8:59.79.
Austin Ouellette was the seventh seed heading into the 55-meter finals. He bumped up to claim fifth.
Those four points from the two seniors are huge on a day where the Titans took second by .5 over Exeter.
In running 2-3 in the 600, Bryce Eckenrode and Colin Miller each logged personal bests.
Yassine Jakib’s third in the 1000, yep, you guessed it another PR.
Jordan Smith in the shot put? He three 36-feet … three weeks ago. With the chips on the table Sunday, he unleashed a massive 45-8 for third.
Triston Delicema’s 21-6 was a season-best long jump, Yassine Jakib ran a personal best for third in the 1000, and hurdler Nasir Perry scraped a point out in his ever-improving winter.
“And knowing exactly what was on the line, our 4×400 and 4×200 teams placed second and third with personal bests,” said Kobs, noting that Vladomir Jungkman, Isaac Smith and Xavier Provost all contributed in those efforts.
Finally, there was the one scorer that every Titan must have patted on the back in the halls on Monday.
Andre Austedelafort was the 10th seed in the high jump heading in. The junior found a way over the bar at 5-foot-8 to claim a tie for sixth.
“You know what that half point meant,” joked Kobs.
“This doesn’t happen by accident and the credit goes to an outstanding coaching staff who ran around all day like maniacs, making sure kids were ready to compete and where they should be at all times.
“BJ Goulding , Shane Gagnon, Ed Vargas, Samson Horne, Jason Paling and Rocky Lafort are mostly volunteer coaches who dedicate their time and expertise to make North what it is, not to mention my emotional support staff of Ben Sommers and Nate Burns.
BEATING THE ODDS
Think for a second about the fact that the state champions from Bishop Guertin had just 10 competitors, compared to 18 from runner-up Exeter.
Of the “Perfect 10,” two Cardinals competed in four events, one competed in three events but ran two heats and four girls doubled.
Two of the girls in four events, freshman Grace Jones and 4×200 relay anchor and savior Julie Nigro, ran the last two relays back-to-back.
Nigro’s performance bordered on miraculous. If you had seen the ground South’s Sydney Lewis gobbled up on her to actually go by, you might have thought that Nigro was cooked.
“That can be demoralizing when a girl goes by you,” said coach Danielle Fischer.
Nigro was nails and somehow found a way, by .01 seconds. Considering the blink of an eye is .3 seconds, that margin was astounding.
It makes your heart skip a beat to watch junior Caroline Fischer compete in the distances and see the toll that the races take on her physically. If you can’t root for her, you have no heart.
The 18 points she delivered while still not 100 percent physically was legendary.
Fischer won the 1000 and 40 minutes late was back for more, grabbing second in the 1500.
But the untold story of this state title has to be the tale of junior Caroline Towle, the double winner in the 1500 and 3000.
Towle is a basketball player. Well, she was.
“She gave up basketball this year to improve on her running,” said coach Fischer. “We were over the moon to have her full time this year.”
That had to be a difficult decision, considering the magnitude of girls basketball at BG. It was a choice that helped lead to a title.
The sky is the limit for Nashua South sophomore Cali Coffin, who showed plenty of grit to go with her massive ability.
“Cali had a really good day considering her return only two weeks ago. As her coach I was so ecstatic to see her lead for the entire race and only lose the lead in the last 150 meters,” said South coach Catrina Lougee. “She is coming back stronger than ever.”
And speaking of the Panthers, you might just want to keep an eye on senior Hannah Swain, who delivered a grueling effort, shaving 2.5 seconds off her 600 meter PR to take fifth a day where she also ran legs in the 4×800 and 4×400.
The NHIAA and the state track coaches do an amazing job making these meets so special for the athletes and their fans.
These are great people like Larry Martin and Al Halpern, who are so passionate about the sport and the kids.
Can we please just find a better day for this special event that is not Super Bowl Sunday?
Whether or not the Patriots are in it does not matter. The conflict between the two is not worth it.
Please pick another day.