Indoor track preview: Coe-Brown looks to stay at the top of D-II

Coe-Brown’s Gavin Demas reacts after crossing the finish line to claim the state title in the 600 meters  at the NHIAA Division II indoor track and field championships at Dartmouth College on Feb. 12. While Demas has since graduated, the Bears still have many other athletes returning from last year’s championship team.

Coe-Brown’s Gavin Demas reacts after crossing the finish line to claim the state title in the 600 meters at the NHIAA Division II indoor track and field championships at Dartmouth College on Feb. 12. While Demas has since graduated, the Bears still have many other athletes returning from last year’s championship team. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Bishop Brady's Josh Gentchos (center) reacts after crossing the finish line to claim the state title in the 55-meter dash at the NHIAA Division II indoor track and field championships at Dartmouth College on Feb. 12. Gentchos also ran a leg on Brady’s state champion 4x200 relay and is back to defend his titles in 2023-24.

Bishop Brady's Josh Gentchos (center) reacts after crossing the finish line to claim the state title in the 55-meter dash at the NHIAA Division II indoor track and field championships at Dartmouth College on Feb. 12. Gentchos also ran a leg on Brady’s state champion 4x200 relay and is back to defend his titles in 2023-24. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy’s Aidan Cox runs towards a New England title in the mile at the 35th New England Interscholastic Indoor Track Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston on March 4. Cox has since graduated, but many other athletes have returned from Coe-Brown’s championship team.

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy’s Aidan Cox runs towards a New England title in the mile at the 35th New England Interscholastic Indoor Track Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston on March 4. Cox has since graduated, but many other athletes have returned from Coe-Brown’s championship team. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

Kearsarge’s Amelia Lefebvre is one of five returnees from last year’s state meet.

Kearsarge’s Amelia Lefebvre is one of five returnees from last year’s state meet. Jay Smith / NHXCTF

JAY SMITH  / NHXCTF

JAY SMITH  / NHXCTF

JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 12-15-2023 2:51 PM

Modified: 12-15-2023 5:36 PM


With a two-year hiatus between indoor track seasons, there was a lot of uncertainty heading into the campaign last winter.

At the Division II championship, that uncertainty faded quickly. The Coe-Brown Northwood Academy boys’ team won its first indoor track championship with 101 points, tripling the total of runner-up Oyster River.

The Bears scored in nine of the 13 events and won four individual titles. With many of those contributors returning, including defending 1,000-meter champion Jamie Lano, the goal for CBNA is clear.

“The boys are looking to defend their title,” said Coe-Brown’s David Zink, who is entering his 16th year as head coach. Zink added that his squad has “a good mix of returners and incoming talent.”

Jamie Lano, a senior, was the D-II individual cross country champion this past fall. Fellow senior and cross country teammate Sanjith Nomula is also back after competing in last year’s state meet in multiple events, while juniors Gavin Dyjak, Quinn Froburg and Landon Graveline also return to a formidable crew of distance runners.

Seniors Rex Betts-Levin, Thomas Small and Elias Warner return to lead the Bears in the shot put, while junior Cameron Lee will lead Coe-Brown in the sprints and hurdles, and sophomore Ethan Newick contributing in the sprints and jumps.

Junior Liam White, sophomore Keegan Sousa and freshman Jonathan Hooper are the top new talent on the Bears’ roster.

Three graduates from last year’s team – Aidan Cox, Tyler Tkaczyk and Gavin Demas – combined for three state titles and a runner-up finish, and are now competing at the Division I level in college, so the Bears will have their work cut out for them to stay on top.

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Zink expects Oyster River, Hanover and Souhegan to be in the mix in a much tighter top group of teams compared to last year.

The Coe-Brown girls were a competitive third last year with 38 points, while Oyster River narrowly bested Newmarket, 53.5-51, for the title, and the Bears are “looking to climb back to the top of D-II,” according to Zink.

Like the boys, the girls’ team graduated some key contributors, but have several strong additions to the team, especially in the sprints, and added some athletes who performed well for the CBNA outdoor track team last spring.

Seniors Anna Bergeron and Francesca Ferguson and juniors Paige Murdough and Samantha Perron are all returning after winning the D-II title in the 4x800 relay last winter and qualifying in individual distance events as well.

Junior Delaney Manning is strong in the sprints, hurdles and jumps, while senior Kylie Prusia and junior Shannon Ross are joining the indoor team after a strong season sprinting outdoors.

Sophomores Isabelle Grenier and Sadie Scruton return to lead Coe-Brown in the shot put, and senior Annika Gunderson is now on board after throwing well in multiple events in the spring.

Junior Maggie Escabi, sophomore Olivia Zadakis and freshman Bristol Shirland are the other top newcomers for the Coe-Brown girls.

Zink expects Oyster River, Newmarket, Kearsarge and Newport to be in the mix with Coe-Brown in the girls’ team standings. Coe-Brown opens the season on Saturday with an afternoon meet at Plymouth State University.

CONCORD

Division: I.

Coach: Hayden Daly (eighth year).

Last year: Boys 13th; girls fourth.

Top returners: Boys: Josiah Conley, so., distance; Carter Cutrer, jr., jumps; Deagan Hines, so., sprints. Girls: Ayva Mullen, sr., sprints/jumps; Madeline Muller, jr., sprints/jumps; Morgan Doherty, sr., hurdles/jumps; Rachel Gridley, sr., sprints; Ella Goulas, jr., sprints/jumps; Kelley Mikelson, sr., jumps/sprints.

Top newcomers: Boys: Jackson Borkush, sr., sprints; Tim Fahnbulleh, so., sprints; Alain Twite, sr., jumps. Girls: Quinn Doherty, fr.

Outlook: The Crimson Tide girls return several athletes who scored points and/or compete in last year’s D-I state championship, including Doherty (third 55 hurdles) and Goulas (second high jump). Concord was just two points away from taking third pace as a team.

BELMONT

Division: II.

Coach: Scott Clark (11th year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls tied 15th.

Top returners: Boys: Damien Sanborn, jr., sprints; David Tripp, so., hurdles. Girls: Ava Lacasse, so.; Adeline Takantjas, jr., hurdles; Hannah Young, so., sprints; Jaelyn Nialetz, jr., sprints.; Rebekah Edgren, jr., distance.

Outlook: The Raiders return multiple qualifers from last season’s state championship meet and are coming off strong spring track seasons.

BISHOP BRADY

Division: II.

Coach: Diane Morey (14th year) and Megan Morey (sixth year).

Last year: Boys sixth; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Josh Gentchos, sr., sprints/jumps; Alan Yap, sr., sprints/jumps.

Top newcomers: Boys: Andy Hunton, sr. Girls: Sarah Allen, jr.

Outlook: After winning the 55-meter dash title last season, Gentchos is back to defend his crown. He only needs to drop .03 seconds from his best time to set the school record. Yap also competed in the 55 dash at the state championship and ran a leg on the champion 4x200 relay with Gentchos. Hunton should make an immediate impact and Allen is joining the team after a strong spring track season in the sprints and jumps.

BOW

Division: II.

Coach: Amy King (first year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls eighth.

Top returners: Boys: Sean Nicholls, sr., shot put; Jack Noce, jr., distance; Thomas Sargent, jr., distance. Girls: Sabrina Bernard, sr., multi; Charlotte Larochelle, so., sprints/jumps; Emily Fauteux, jr., sprints/hurdles; Mackenzie Szczepanik, jr., jumps; Lexi Insana, jr., mid-distance; Julia Hou, so., distance.

Top newcomers: Boys: Kody McCranie, jr., sprints; Alden Betterley, sr., distance; Owen Miller, sr., distance; Wyatt Worcester, so., distance. Girls: Hannah Pawlowski, jr., distance; Charlotte Weiss, fr., shot put.

Outlook: The Falcons are excited to have some of their top athletes from outdoor track and cross country joining the ranks of the indoor team. The boys’ team has more than doubled in size and is able to field relay teams this season, while the girls’ return the majority of their athletes who were a part of the runner-up 4x800 and sixth-place 4x200 at last year’s championship. Bow has been strong in the distance events and relays in recent seasons, and is hoping to expand into more events this year.

Teams to beat: Boys: Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Merrimack Valley, Hanover, Souhegan. Girls: Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Newmarket, Milford.

FRANKLIN

Division: II.

Coach: Jade Gizzi (first year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: David Ranlet, so.; Cameron LaBrecque, so. Girls: Deanna Desmarais, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Virgilio Andrea Farina, sr.; Allen Emery, jr. Girls: Ava Kolacz, so.

Outlook: “This season we have a small but mighty team with so much talent across the board,” Gizzi said. “As this is many of the kids’ first meet this coming weekend I have high hopes for them to complete this meet successfully and be a force to reckon with on the track as more meets are to come.”

JOHN STARK

Division: II.

Coach: Joel Kress (second year).

Last year: Boys tied 23rd; girls DNS.

Top returners: Boys: Rio Calle, jr., jumps; Eli Lemire, sr., distance; Sam Kinsey-Turner, sr., jumps; Logan Montgomery, sr., jumps; Joel Douzanis, jr., multi; Rory Magoon, sr., shot put. Girls: Rylee Barnard, so., distance.

Top newcomers: Boys: Cole Biagiotti, jr., throws; Austin Patenaude, so., distance. Girls: Kayla Barriere, so., distance; Ayris Beliveau, jr., hurdles.

Outlook: The Generals enter their second season as a program with a roster double in size from their inaugural year. John Stark returns Calle, the D-II outdoor long jump champion, plus several strong athletes from the outdoor track and cross country programs.

KEARSARGE

Division: II.

Coach: Maryanne Morcom (second year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls fifth.

Top returners: Boys: Daniel Dalbec, sr., distance. Girls: Molly Ellison, sr., distance; Amelia Lefebvre, sr., multi; Juliet Faria, so., sprints; Ellie Wimer, jr., mid-distance; Gabby Lamb, sr., shot put.

Top newcomers: Girls: Maelle Jacques, so.; Riley Raynes, so.

Outlook: The Cougar girls return all five athletes who competed at the state championship last season, including Lefebvre (D-II runner-up in the shot put and high jump, ran on third-place 4x400) and Ellison (third 3,000, third-place 4x400). With a bigger and deeper the roster this time around, Kearsarge looks like one of D-II’s best once again.

“Looking forward to building a stronger girls team in the spring,” Morcom said.

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II.

Coaches: Bob Mullen (33rd year) and Joan Boisvert (third year).

Last year: Boys 12th; girls tied 22nd.

Top returners: Boys: Mychal Reynolds, jr., multi; Nathan Bain, so., distance/shot put; Ben Newton, so., distance; Declan Bisson, so., multi; Eddie Amonor, sr., shot put. Girls: Madison Geddes, jr., mid-distance; Sydney Spack, so., mid-distance.

Top newcomers: Boys: Cameron Moore-Jahn, sr., sprints/jumps; Beckett Rose, jr., jumps; Cohen Reymond, so., sprints/jumps; Cooper Hedderig, so., distance; Tony Wang, fr., distance; Ben Geoffrey, fr., distance; Silas Webb, jr., distance; Brayden Laroche, so., jumps/hurdles; Elijah Raycraft, jr., sprints/jumps; Chris Bode, fr., jumps; Andrew Corliss, fr., sprints/jumps; Vann Barlow, fr., jumps.; Abhiman Kharki, sr., shot put; Jed Duquette, jr., shot put. Girls: Emily Baca, fr., distance; Reagan Jefferson, fr., distance.

Outlook: Both the Pride boys’ and girls’ teams are looking to improve on last year’s middle-of-the-pack finishes and “are learning to be good teammates, working as a team, and learning new skills and events,” Boisvert said. “Leadership and attitudes have impressed the coaches. With outstanding returning veterans and with newcomers showing great potential, both teams are looking forward to an exciting and successful season.

PEMBROKE

Division: II.

Coach: Mike Valotto (sixth year).

Last year: Boys tied 17th; girls tied 25th.

Top returners: Boys: Gavin Currier, sr.; Graeme Haglund, so.; Zachery Heichlinger, so.; Brandon Lurvey, so.; Matthew Palleschi, so.; Hayden Petersons, so.; Nichola Preve, jr.; Girls: Jasmine Blake, so.; Reagan Ellsworth, sr.; Samantha Ellsworth, so.; Ty Valley, sr.; Teagan Wing, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Shane Bowen, fr.; Rajon Burris, fr.; Noah Bush, so.; Adam Elmokadden, fr.; Major Fish, so.; William Gruber, fr.; Merric Harrington, so.; Dacota Hewitt, fr.; Julien Lembo, fr.; Kayle Longacre, fr.; Liam Nickodemus, fr. Girls: Alexis Brown, fr.; Alayna Flanders, fr.; Avery Kelly, fr.; Alayna Maguire, fr.; Teagan Nyhan, fr.

Outlook: Currier, last year’s third-place finisher in the high jump, is the only individual point scorer returning to a year Spartan squad comprised of 25 freshmen and sophomores, and just three upperclassmen.

“We lost 13 seniors from last season so there are going to be some big voids to fill,” Valotto said. “I will say, having a young group, it has been fun so far and we can see the potential of these kids. Our hope is to have this young group grow together over the next few seasons become our new core of top athletes.”

WINNISQUAM

Division: II.

Coach: Patti Malone (second year).

Last year: Boys DNS; girls tied 20th.

Top returners: Girls: Victoria Kelly, sr., hurdles; Zariah Moore, so., sprints; Kaiden Robb, so., sprints; Alexis Searles, sr.; Devin Timmons, so., shot put; Emily Tripple, so.; Denessa Williams, so., sprints

Outlook: The entire Bears roster has experience competing in track and field, and are looking to continue that growth this winter. Kelly competed at the state meet in both hurdle events last outdoor season, while Moore and Robb are looking to qualify in their individual sprints and lead a formidable 4x200 relay.

“I’m definitely feeling optimistic about Kaiden’s chances in the 300-meter races,” Malone said. “She’s determined and is working hard after a strong outdoor season as a freshman. The same goes for Zariah, but in the 55 meters. She had a good season playing field hockey this fall and is eager to keep her training going this winter. Victoria is as driven as she ever is, and I’m feeling pretty good about her potential this winter. The distances will be unfamiliar to her, as she hasn’t raced indoors yet, but she’s quick off the blocks, and I think the 55 distance will suit her for hurdles.”

Teams to beat: Girls: Oyster River, Souhegan, Coe-Brown, Kennett, Gilford, Newport, Belmont.