Track preview: Veteran-laden roster leads Concord girls in D-I, Coe-Brown seeks to repeat sweep of D-II titles

Concord's Morgan Doherty clears a hurdle in the 100-meter hurdle prelims at the New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Cameron Stadium in Bangor, Maine, on Saturday, June 10, 2023. Doherty qualified for the final, where she finished seventh.

Concord's Morgan Doherty clears a hurdle in the 100-meter hurdle prelims at the New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Cameron Stadium in Bangor, Maine, on Saturday, June 10, 2023. Doherty qualified for the final, where she finished seventh. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Concord High sophomore Ella Goulas clears the bar during a jump-off to claim the Division I high jump crown at the NHIAA D-I track and field championship at Salem High School last May. Goulas cleared 5 feet, 4 inches to take the title. She also finished second in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump to lead the Crimson Tide to fourth place as a team.

Concord High sophomore Ella Goulas clears the bar during a jump-off to claim the Division I high jump crown at the NHIAA D-I track and field championship at Salem High School last May. Goulas cleared 5 feet, 4 inches to take the title. She also finished second in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump to lead the Crimson Tide to fourth place as a team. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison (center) crosses the finish line to claim the 1,600-meter title at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship last May at Sanborn Regional High School. Ellison won the 1,600 in 5:30 and the 3,200 in 11:50 to lead Kearsarge to second place as a team in D-III.

Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison (center) crosses the finish line to claim the 1,600-meter title at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship last May at Sanborn Regional High School. Ellison won the 1,600 in 5:30 and the 3,200 in 11:50 to lead Kearsarge to second place as a team in D-III. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Concord junior Alain Twite takes flight in the triple jump at the NHIAA Division I track and field championship at Salem High School last May. Twite won the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 11.5 inches, over a foot and half longer than the runner-up. Twite was the only boys' champion for Concord as the Tide finished 12th as a team in D-I.

Concord junior Alain Twite takes flight in the triple jump at the NHIAA Division I track and field championship at Salem High School last May. Twite won the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 11.5 inches, over a foot and half longer than the runner-up. Twite was the only boys' champion for Concord as the Tide finished 12th as a team in D-I. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 04-03-2024 9:57 PM

The Concord High School girls’ track and field team has been near the top of Division I for a few years, but head coach Hayden Daly believes that this year’s team is a special group. With three NCAA Division I commits, several veteran leaders and a deep roster, this could be the year the Tide go from being near the top to the top.

“Huge numbers this year,” Daly said. “Especially on the girls’ side, a ton of veterans. We have a lot of potential. We’re really hopeful it will all pan out and that we can stay healthy (for) states.”

Concord finished fourth last season and was the D-I runner-up in 2022, ending up second to Exeter by a half-point, and are an even more experienced team now.

When tasked with figuring out captains for this year’s team it was simply too challenging to whittle down, so the girls’ squad settled on five – Morgan Doherty, Ayva Mullen, Anna Makee, Rachel Gridley and Kelley Mikelson.

Doherty, who will compete on the University of Vermont track team next year, qualified for New Englands in the hurdles this past indoor season and finished third in D-I in the 100-meter hurdles last spring. She’s looking to branch out this spring and add depth to an already stellar group of jumpers.

Among that group of jumpers is Mullen (competing for the University of New Hampshire), a two-time champion in the triple jump (she finished fourth last season) and a regular scorer in the long jump and sprints.

Mikelson and junior Ella Goulas are the top returning high jumpers in the division. Goulas is coming off an indoor state championship title and also competed at nationals.

“We can pick up a ton of points (in the high jump and pole vault) in any big meet,” Daly said.

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Makee and Gridley lead a strong group of sprinters that has the potential to put together an exceptional 4x100-meter relay.

“They’re such a great group of athletes who have been with us forever it seems like,” Daly said. “We have a lot of talent. They have the kind of attitude you want from your senior leaders.”

Outside of the captains, senior Kendall Barton (committed to Stonehill) is one of the best pole vaulters in the division and tied for third at states last year with junior teammate Maddie Muller, who is also a scoring threat in the 400 and 4x400 relay.

Seniors Chloe Gudas (distance) and Caroline Cooper (sprints) are also significant contributors to this veteran group.

The Tide will also benefit from the return of junior Shelly Smith, who missed her sophomore season due to an injury after winning the 3,200-meter title as a freshman.

The Concord boys don’t have the same depth and level of experience as the girls but are also a talented crew.

Senior captain Alain Twite is the defending champion in the triple jump, winning the crown in his first season of high school track, and he still hasn’t mastered all of the technique. Raw talent and athleticism was enough to finish sixth in New England.

“He can do almost anything,” said Daly referring to Twite’s strength as a sprinter, high jump and basketball player. “He’s just figuring out the triple jump. If he can figure out the middle phase of the jump, he can be incredibly special.”

Similarly, junior Colby Nyhan tried the pole vault for the first time last season. As a sophomore, he tied for sixth in D-I but went on to finish second at the Meet of Champions and then tied for third in New England.

Concord also has a lot of potential in the sprints with the return of Tim Fahnbulleh and Deagan Hines, who were two of just three freshmen to qualify for the 100 meters at the D-I state meet and made up half of the Tide’s scoring 4x100.

“They want to keep climbing that ladder,” Daly said. “In middle school you can just show up and be the fastest runner. In high school, people can outwork you.”

Fahnbulleh and Hines will join senior captain Jackson Borkush on the 4x100.

Concord’s third captain is senior Tyler Watt, who just returned from competing nationally in Nordic skiing and can be one of the state’s best in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

Another athlete to keep an eye on is senior Nick Reynolds. An All-State soccer player who is trying track for the first time, Reynolds casually threw the javelin over 160 feet in practice, a mark that would’ve put him in the top two in the state.

“No cleats, no big approach, he just threw it,” Daly said. “If (the team) keeps this up, it could be really special.”

Concord is scheduled to open the season with a meet at Salem on Tuesday.

BOW

Division: II.

Coach: Ed King (second year).

Last year: Boys 18th; girls 16th.

Top returners: Boys: Alden Betterley, sr.; Owen Miller, sr.; Owen Boullion, sr.; Ben McDowell, sr.; Joe McDowell, sr.; Sean Nicholls, sr.; Kody McCranie, jr.; Miles Miller, so. Girls: Sabrina Bernard, sr.; Jess Birnbaum, sr.; Eve Libby, sr.; Charlotte Larochelle, so.; Julia Hou, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Aiden Ciminesi, sr.; Eli Wilkening, sr. Girls: Hannah Pawlowski, jr.; Charlotte Weiss, fr.; Camden Wilson, fr.; Gwen Barrieau, fr.; Cara Van Dyke, fr.; Madison Pfister, fr.

Outlook: The Falcons have historically been strong in the distance events and are looking to expand in the sprints with a large number of younger sprinters working with the veterans on both the boys’ and girls’ teams. The throwers have had a strong showing in the preseason and own a lot of potential. The Falcons also look to be strong in the jumping events with both novice and veteran athletes.

Teams to beat: Boys: Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Hanover, John Stark. Girls: Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Kennett.

COE-BROWN

Division: II.

Coaches: Lucas Fisher (third year) and Peter Larson (second year).

Last year: Boys and girls were both D-II champions.

Top returners: Boys: Jamie Lano, sr., distance; Sanjith Nomula, sr., distance; Elias Warner, sr., throws; Alex Conner, jr., pole vault; Cameron Lee, jr., sprints/hurdles; Max Lemay, sr., distance; Bryce Sartin, jr., jumps; Ethan Newick, so., sprints. Girls: Paige Murdough, jr., distance; Anna Bergeron, sr., distance; Samantha Perron, jr., distance; Isabelle Grenier, so., throws; Annika Gunderson, sr., throws; Emma Zeblisky, jr., throws; Jacqueline Heilshorn, sr., throws; Ainsley Kilbreth, sr., throws; Shannon Ross, jr., pole vault/sprints/jumps; Delaney Manning, jr., hurdles/sprints/jumps; Kylie Prusia, sr., sprints; Brooke Bachhuber, so., pole vault/sprints/jumps.

Top newcomers: Boys: Thomas Small, sr., throws; Keegan Sousa, so., distance; Ben Jobin, fr., distance; Harrison O’Neal, so., sprints; Travis Schultz, jr., sprints. Girls: Maggie Escabi, jr., sprints/jumps; Annabelle Lovett, fr., distance; Olivia Zadakis, so., distance; Tessa Kouchoukos, fr., sprints/jumps; Bristol Shirland, fr., hurdles/sprints.

Outlook: The Bear boys have won every outdoor and indoor track title since 2021, and the Coe-Brown girls have won the last three outdoor titles. The boys’ team graduated a banner class that has three runners competing at the D-I level in college. Out of 18 events, the Coe-Brown boys won six, finished second in four, finished third in four and scored points in 12 of them.

“We have a young and upcoming team with great senior and veteran leadership,” Fisher said. “This team is ready to make their own mark in the Division II track world. We are looking forward to competing each week, breaking new records and supporting each other. Look to Jamie Lano (two indoor titles and a second-place finish in February), Sanjith Nomula and Elias Warner to lead the way.”

On the girls’ side, the Bears have a nice mix of youth and experience, and should do especially well in the throwing events, “which looks to be one of the best in the state,” according to Fisher. “Our distance crew has a mix of experience and youth, and if everyone stays healthy, could have an impact at states. Our sprints/jumps/pole vault group lost some key seniors from last year, but we might have one of the strongest groups of freshmen we have seen in a long time, as well as some veterans and upperclassmen that should score points for us. We are very excited to see how things come together as the season progresses.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Hanover, Oyster River, Souhegan, John Stark, Hollis-Bookline, Lebanon. Girls: Oyster River, Hanover, Kennett.

JOHN STARK

Division: II.

Coach: Joel Kress (third year).

Last year: Boys 11th; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Eli Lemire, sr. Rory Magoon, sr.; Logan Montgomery, sr.; Rio Calle, jr.; Alex Descoteau, jr.; Joel Douzanis, jr.; Sam Kinsey-Turner, jr. Girls: Izabel Korbet, sr.; Rebecca Mussey, sr.; Rylee Barnard, so.; Kayla Barriere, so.

Outlook: The Generals have been overlooked in past seasons, but that won’t be the case this spring. The Stark boys came within two points of the D-II indoor title, nearly upsetting powerhouse Coe-Brown. Douzanis (shot put champion), Calle (high jump champion, second long jump), Montgomery (second 300, fifth high jump) and Kinsey-Turner (third high jump) led the Generals this past indoor season, while Calle is the defending outdoor long jump champion. That list doesn’t include the many other qualifiers Stark had last outdoor season that are returning. With scoring threats across all the disciplines and strong relays, the Generals could also be near the top in D-II again this spring.

The girls’ team doesn’t return as much depth, nor as many qualifiers as the boys’ team, but is capable of scoring some points at the state meet and having strong individual performances.

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II.

Coaches: Bob Mullen (33rd year) and Dyrace Maxfield (second year).

Last year: Boys 10th; girls 10th.

Top returners: Boys: Edward Amonor, sr.; Abi Karki, sr.; Bisson, so.; Brayden Laroche, so.; Cameron Moore-Jahn, sr.; Ben Newton, so.; Nick Ogelsby, jr.; Aiden Paquette, jr.; Mychal Reynolds, jr.; Beckett Rose, jr. Girls: Deziree Boutin, so.; Bailey Burdick, jr.; Abby Ciarametaro, jr.; Keira Cote, so.; Kendra Davidson, jr.; Trinity Delaney, sr.; Madison Geddes, jr.; Nicole Geoffrion, so.; Jada Lucas, so.; Tessa Lynch, so.; Lily Moser, so.; Daizey Perron, so.; Sydney Spack, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Van Barlow, fr.; Chris Bode, fr.; Ben Geoffrey, fr.; Davian Loiselle, so.; Logan Vong, jr.; Tony Wang, fr. Girls: Elizabeth Barrington, sr.; Hannah Barrington, fr.; Addison Dawson, jr.; Annie Dewitte, fr.; Reagan Jefferson, fr.; Gianna Panza, so.; Lacey Weddall, sr.

Outlook: Boys: “Our top returning juniors and seniors have already shown improvement in the early training season and are leading the way for an expanded roster,” Maxfield said. “The boys’ team has added depth in our distance events, with newcomers showing promise in the sprints and throws as well. MV is hoping to continue to climb and improve on our 10th place finish.”

Among the upperclassmen returners is Reynolds, who won the 600-meter indoor championship this past winter.

Girls: “The girls’ team returns much of its roster while adding some talented newcomers,” Maxfield said. “The team is excited to add more depth in almost every event. With our top returners leading the way and added depth for the relays, the girls team is looking to improve on 10th place.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Hanover, John Stark. Girls: Oyster River, Kennett, Milford, Coe-Brown.

PEMBROKE

Division: II.

Coaches: Mike Valotto (fifth year as head coach, ninth overall) and Jared Williams (second year).

Last year: Boys 13th; girls 5th.

Top returners: Boys: Gavin Currier, sr.; Dylan Hawkins, so.; Zac Heichlinger, so.; Brandon Lurvey, so.; Hayden Petersons, so.; Caleb Saturley, so. Girls: Jasmine Blake, so.; Ty Valley, sr.; Teagan Wing, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Noah Bush, so.; Adam Elmokaddem, fr.; Merric Harrington, so.; Julien Lembo, jr.; Liam Nickodemus, fr. Girls: Lexi Brown, fr.; Avery Kelly, fr.; Alyana Maguire, fr.; Teagan Nyhan, fr.

Outlook: Currier (defending boys’ triple jump champion) and Valley (girls’ triple jump runner-up) return to a much younger Spartan squad.

“We have a young team with a lot of underclassmen who are new to the sport,” Valotto said. “We are looking forward to the season.”

BISHOP BRADY

Division: III.

Coach: Diane Morey (14th year).

Last year: Boys third; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Josh Gentchos, sr.; Alan Yap, sr.; Ryan Casey, so.; LJ Putnam, so.; Connor McIntyre, sr.; Girls: Sarah Allen, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Seamus McIntyre, sr. Girls: Morgan Casey, sr.

Outlook: The Giant boys finished third last year behind state championships from Gentchos in the 100 and 200, and the 4x100 relay that included Gentchos and Yap. Sprinting looks to be the strength for Brady again this year, and the Giants are looking for a couple of athletes to emerge to fill in on another strong 4x100. Connor McIntyre could also qualify for the Giants in the throws, while Allen leads the girls’ team in the sprints and throws.

FRANKLIN

Division: III.

Coaches: Jen Schongalla (fourth year) and Jade Gizzi (first year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Camden Carelton, so.; Cameron Lebreque, so.; George Sarkis, so.; Gabriel Alers Alers, sr.; Cole Johnson, jr. Girls: Payton Cloutier, so.; Deanna Desmarais, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Virgilio Andrea Farnia, sr.; Luca Calgaro, sr.; Austen Collins, so.; Jordan Carter, fr.

Outlook: “While we might not have the numbers of some larger teams, we’ll be making up for it with dedication, teamwork and a strong focus on individual improvement,” Gizzi said. “This season, our goals go beyond just wins and losses. We’ll be striving for personal bests, pushing each other to reach new heights and fostering a supportive environment where everyone feels empowered to excel. By working together and maximizing our individual strengths, we’re confident this small team can leave a big mark on the track this spring.”

HILLSBORO-DEERING

Division: III.

Coach: Makayla Savoy (third year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Brady Curley, sr.; Mason Ferwerda, sr.; Tony Harris, so.; Daniel Richard, so.; Riho Guzman, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Elijah Bodanza, fr.; Jayden Brimmer, fr.; Kolton Lefebvre, jr.

Outlook: “We have a fairly large team this year compared to past years, which is very exciting,” Savoy said. “We have a young, eager team, and us coaches are really excited for what this year will hold for the HDHS track and field team. We hope for a fun, competitive, successful season this year.”

HOPKINTON

Division: III.

Coach: Rob Rothe (eighth year).

Last year: Boys seventh; girls third.

Top returners: Boys: Ben Daniels, sr., distance; Matt Clarner, sr., distance; Roman Finlayson, jr., distance. Girls: Shaylee Murdough, jr., distance; Reese Bove, jr., distance; Grace Hall, sr., jumps.

Top newcomers: Girls: Maddy Lane, fr., distance.

Outlook: The Hawks have 61 athletes on their roster — “the largest we’ve ever had,” according to Rothe — and that means many competitors who are new to the sport.

“We’re eager to see what they can do,” Rothe said. “With such a large roster this season and many newcomers, there are a lot of unknowns for how things will play out. We will be concentrating on finding a good fit for everyone in the events. It’s a big group to work with, but we’re excited about the potential they bring.”

One area that isn’t a question mark is Hopkinton’s strength in the distance events. The Hawk boys won the D-III cross country title and the girls finished as the division runner-up, with Lane, a freshman, taking home the individual crown. Hall is the three-time defending champion in the triple jump and a former long jump champion as well.

KEARSARGE

Division: III.

Coaches: MaryAnne Morcom (third year) and Justin Garzia (first year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls second.

Top returners: Boys: Daniel Dalbec, jr. Girls: Molly Ellison, sr.; Amelia Lefebvre, sr.; Maelle Jacques, so.; Juliet Faria, so.; Ellie Wimer, jr.; Ava Shapiro, jr.; Ainsley Frankiewich, so.

Outlook: After finishing second last outdoor and indoor season, the Cougar girls are poised for another strong showing this spring.

“Goals are to be competitive across many events at the state level for the girls’ team and increase the presence of the boys’ team at the state level this season,” Garzia said.

Ellison and Jacques went 1-2 in the 1,600 at last year’s D-III championship, while Ellison also claimed the 3,200 crown. Jacques won the high jump title, Ellison was second in the 3,000 and Lefebvre was third in the high jump this past indoor season. Kearsarge’s 4x400 was also the state runner-up in the previous outdoor and indoor seasons.

WINNISQUAM

Division: III.

Coach: Patti Malone (fourth year).

Last year: Boys ninth; girls eighth.

Top returners: Boys: Brendan Goodwin, jr., mid-distance; David Swain, jr., distance/pole vault; Henry Osmer, sr., distance. Girls: Victoria Kelly, sr., throws/hurdles; Skye Tibbetts, sr., jumps; Vanessa Power, sr., pole vault; Kaiden Robb, so., mid-distance.

Top newcomers: Boys: Dylan Griffin, so., sprints/throws. Girls: Lauren MacDonald, sr., throws.

Outlook: “We’re a big team this year with over 50 athletes, so we’re really looking forward to being able to spread out across events and make use of the numbers we have,” Malone said.

The Bear girls are looking especially strong in the hurdles, field events and relays, while the boys have depth and experience in the distance events and pole vault.

Teams to beat: Gilford, Newfound.