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Second Surge: Thomas paces Titan surprise at Division I Meet

By Tom King - Staff Writer | May 26, 2023

Nashua North's Jhanelle Thomas (with baton) is hugged by 4x400 relay teammates Allison and Sarah Frye after North captured the event which got the Titans a second place finish in Thursday's Divison I Championship Meet at Salem. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

SALEM – When does finishing second feel like first?

When you’re the Nashua High School North girls track team. The Titans rode the speed of sophomore Jhanelle Thomas plus some other solid performances to finish with 76 points in Thursday’s Division I State Championshp Meet, second to Bedford’s 90 but just edging out Pinkerton (75) at Salem High School.

“Overall everybody kind of stepped up,” North coach Renee Archer said. “I’m very happy. We were hoping for third.”

Concord was fourth (44) and locally Merrimack had a good day taking fifth (44), just ahead of Nashua South (sixth, 38). But the Panthers had a record relay peformance to make some noise.

It was a Bedford sweep, as the Bulldogs also took the boys meet with 88 points, ahead of Pinkerton (60). Keene (54), Londonderry (52) and Portsmouth (50.5) rounded out the top five – just ahead of locals Nashua South (sixth, 42), North (seventh, 35), and Bishop Guertin (eighth, 28).

Merrimack was 13th and Alvirne 15th.


Thomas was fantastic. She captured the 300 hurdles in 43.92 seconds, while teammates Isabella Di Vernieri was second (45.79) and Allison Frye fourth.

She took second in the 200 dash (25.65), but the big celebration took place when she anchored the 4×400 relay for a Titans victory (4:04.41), teaming with Christina Juris and the sister tandem of Sarah and Allison Frye.

“It really was amazing,” Thomas said. “I wanted to come out here and show I’m a force to be reckoned with. I came out here and I did that. I’m proud of us, I’m proud of myself, and can’t wait to see how we’re going to do at MOC’s (next weekend’s Meet of Champions).”

“It was absolutely exhilerating,” Juris said of the relay win.

“(Thomas) had a fantastic day,” Archer said. “The 300 hurdles was kind of a late season addition for her, and it turns out she’s pretty good at it. She rebounded pretty well and the leg she ran in the 4×4 was spectacular. Very well strategized and just looked great. She’s a stud.”

North’s Mardy Novak had her sights set on a possible triple win in throws, but she still scored high. She captured the javelin at 122-7, was second in the discus (110-11) and fourth in the shot (32-2.25).

“Obviously not as well as I wanted to, but I’m proud of how I did today,” Novak said, noting the wind actually helped her javelin toss. “Everyone I competed against was so great. A good way to end my D-1 season.”

The Titans also got points from Kelechi Okorie finishing second in the high jump (5-0). The Titans also took a fifth in the 4×800 relay (Sony Witkosie, Margaret Nalen, Tiana Brown and Calla Kutschke).

Thomas paced a third place finish in the 4×100 relay along with Juris, Allis Frye, and Tiana Brown in 49.59.

South was led by its speed, as Soraya Ross captured the 100 meter dash in 12.43. South’s Iyana Braswell was third in the 100 (12.53), same in the long jump (17-5.5) and sixth in the triple.

But more important, Ross, Mia Cruz, Mimi Ortiz and Braswell teamed up for the expected win in the 4×100 relay and did so in state record time (48.64). Cruz was fourth in the 200 while Ross was sixth.

Merrimack had a good day as Kailey Dillon won the long jump in 18-18.25 and was third in the 300 hurdles.

Alexis Best was third in the long jump but she also won the triple jump (36-0.25) and took second in the 100 dash (12.48) Dillon took fifth and was sixth in the 100 hurdles. Mia Getchell was sixth in the shot put and Melanie Bedard fifth in the 1600.

Bishop Guertin’s Audrey Murrin was fourth in the high jump while Anna Fondakowski took fifth in the 3200.

Alvirne took third in the 4×800 relay (9:4.23) with Ava Martin, Sophia Berube, Jennifer Herbert, Paige Boudreau, Brynna Anderson and Victoria Oliveira competing. Petrina Ofori was fifth in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.


Rory Olsen was a big factor for the Panthers, finishing second in the 110 hurdles (15.74) and the same in the 300 hurdles (39.51).

“I was well rested, I felt I had a good last week of practice,” said the senior Olsen, who is moving on to compete at Holy Cross next year. “It was a great night to be out here. … I think we improved from last year, we have a lot more scores this year.”

South’s Antonio Martinez was second in the shot put (52-8.5), while Sami Witta was third in the high jump (6-0).and Xavier Emery was sixth in the long jump. Panther Ethan Schnyer was third in the 200 in 22.59. Dante Castellano scored in the 3200, finishing sixth.

The Panthers took fourth in the 4×400 relay (Connor Theodore, Micah Allard, Andrew Byrne and Clifford Teixeira).

North got the expected win from Toby Brown, Jr. in the shot put (56-3) while Darius Smith as third (52-6.75). Smith took second in the javelin (155-10) and the discus (131-6). Brown was sixth in the discus.

D’Sean Coffie was fifth in the pole vault,

Bishop Guertin was led by Matt Giardini’s winning performance in the 3200 (9:24.11), as he led wire to wire. Malik Ogbunamiri was second in the 100 (11.35). Spencer Matarazzo got points with a fourth in the javelin. The Cards’ 4×100 relay team of Alex Collins, Javari Ellison, Divine Uzuyem and Ogbunamiri was third (44.19).

Alvirne has a Division champ in Shawn Boudreau, as he took the discus with a throw of 131-7. The Broncos 4×400 relay team of Aiden Flaherty, Brent Duning, Shane Plumley, Nicholas Marcotte and Colin Fay took sixth.

Merrimack also has a champion as Tyler Safstrom won the 800 in 1:57.26. The ‘Hawks’ Zachariah was fourth in the shot. Merrimack was sixth in the 4×400 relay (Ben Basoli, Nate Beauregard, Owen Forrest and Safstrom).

The ‘Hawks’ Cam Fredette was fifth in the 3200.


Today the Division II championship meet will be held at Oyster River High School, with Milford, Souhegan and Hollis Brookline all looking to make some noise.

Souhegan’s Cole Henderson is the top seed in the 110 hurdles, and third in the 300 hurdles. Milford’s Keegan Hatch is second seed in the shot put, and HB’s Matt McLaughlin is third seed in the 400 and the Cavs are in the top four in the 4×400 relay.

In the girls meet, Milford thrower Kylie Allen could be a multiple winner, the top seed in the discus and shot put. Fellow Spartan sprinter Keely Giordano is seeded third in the 200 dash.

Hollis Brookline’s Grace Dow is a favorite in the 100 hurdles and second seed in


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