Can’t compare to the Bears

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 05-27-2023 3:18 PM

It’s hard to expect improvement from a track program that has swept the team titles for back-to-back years. Winning championships is something you’d expect from a program as dominant as the one at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, but at Friday night’s NHIAA Division II state track and field meet, the Bears reached an even higher level of perfection.

The CBNA boys set three D-II records, won six events and scored in 12 of 18, while the Bear girls won three events and scored in 11 as the Coe-Brown track won swept the D-II team titles for the third consecutive year. It was also the fourth title in a row for the CBNA boys.

Coe-Brown’s boys tallied 135 points – the most any of the Bears’ teams have scored in this stretch of championships – while the girls topped the standings with 108.5.

University of Virginia-bound Aidan Cox set not one but two division records in his final D-II meet, winning the 1,600 meters in 4:12.22 (previously set by cousin and teammate Luke Tkaczyk in 2021) and the 3,200 in 8:57.63 (Cox’s own record set in 2021).

Fellow senior Gavin Demas won the 800 in a record 1:54.37, besting the previous mark of 1:55.43 (run by Oyster River’s Gubby Noronha in 2011) after already racing to fourth in the 1,600.

The girls’ 4x800 kicked with a victory in the first race of the day, with sophomores Samantha Perron and Paige Murdough, junior Anna Bergeron and senior Mallory Taylor winning in 10:16, and the 4x100 following in 51.03 seconds thanks to smooth handoffs from senior Josie Malloy, sophomore Shannon Ross and junior Kylie Prusia and a huge final leg from senior Anushka Chavda.

Senior Madeleine Grenier won the discus with a toss of 108 feet, 6 inches, while senior boys Zach Bistany and Zach Bistany won the discus (157-10) and the pole vault (12-0), respectively.

The Coe-Brown boys’ 4x400 put an exclamation point on the end of the meet, with the relay team of junior Jamie Lano, Demas and seniors Matt Corriveau and Ben Robinson winning in 3:27.89.

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Outside of the winners, there were plenty of other athletes grinding out gusty performances, doubling or tripling up in events, and outperforming their seeds. 

“We had 50 kids here today competing. More than half of our roster,” Coe-Brown co-head coach Lucas Fisher said. “It’s a huge team effort. That’s what’s so special about Coe-Brown. Having the coaching staff to manage all those kids was huge. … I couldn’t ask for the team to do a better job than just executing their job. The kids were having fun and doing their jobs. That’s all we ask for.”

Senior Tyler Tkaczyk (second, 1,600; third, 3,200), Corriveau (second, 200; second, long jump), Lano (third, 800; third, 1,600), Bistany (third, shot put), junior Elias Warner (fourth, discus; fifth, javelin; sixth, shot put), seniors Nikhil Chavda (fifth, 3,200), Finn Hill (fifth, pole vault), Liam Wheeler (fifth, discus) and Wyatt Olofson (sixth, javelin)= and sophomore Cameron Lee (sixth, 300 hurdles) all scored for the CBNA boys.

Sophomore Luc Kerouac, Chavda, Robinson and junior Sanjith Nomula formed the runner-up 4x800.

Seniors Chavda (second, 10;, second, 200), Sheldyn Fisher (third, 3,200; fourth, 1,600), Natalie Sicard (second, 100 hurdles; third, triple jump, fourth, long jump), Alexis Cowan (fourth, triple jump; fifth, long jump), Malloy (fifth, long jump; sixth, long jump) and Grenier (fifth, shot put) all scored for the Coe-Brown girls.

Sophomore Emma Zeblisky (second, javelin), juniors Annika Gunderson (third, javelin) and Jacqueline Heilshorn (fifth, javelin), freshmen Sadie Scruton (fourth, shot put) and Isabelle Grenier (sixth, shot put) and Ross (tied fourth, pole vault) were the underclassmen scorers.

“It was really exciting because it was close between us and Oyster River this year,” Chavda said. “But all of us had a good day on the same day. It’s states. This is the end. We’ve all got to leave it out there. We went out there with the attitude that we have nothing to lose, we wanted to leave it all out there for the team.”

“To be teaching at a school of 600 and have 80 on the track, it’s amazing to see what they accomplish,” said co-head coach Pete Larson.

“Sometimes you take it for granted,” Cox said. “We’ve established this culture for so long. We’re used to it, but looking back at it, I’m going to try to not take it for granted and take it all in. It’s amazing that we were able to improve every year.”

Other area victories came from Pembroke senior Natalie Longacre in the girls’ javelin (115-2), Pembroke junior Gavin Currier in the boys’ triple jump (40-9.5) and John Stark sophomore Rio Calle in the boys’ long jump (21-3).

Hanover (88), Oyster River (54) and Lebanon (52) were second through fourth in the boys’ standings, while Merrimack Valley (10th, 21 points), John Stark (11th, 18), Pembroke (13th, 15) and Bow (18th, 1) also had top-six finishers.

Oyster River (91), Kennett (42), Milford (41) and Pembroke (39) were the other teams in the top five for the girls, while Merrimack Valley (10th, 24) and Bow (16th, 4.33) were the other Capital Area team scores.

Merrimack Valley’s second-place 4x400 of Marshall Carey-Mathews, Beckett Rose, Tyler Wallace (third, 300 hurdles; sixth, 110 hurdles) and Bishop Thapa (third, 400), John Stark’s Logan Montgomery (third, 200; sixth, high jump) and Joel Douzanis (sixth, triple jump), Pembroke’s Jimmy Valotto (fourth, shot put) and sixth-place 4x800 (Ben Dugas, Joe Fitzgerald, Isaiah Berkeley, Evan Berkeley) and Bow’s Joe McDowell (sixth, pole vault) were the boys’ local scorers.

The Pembroke girls finished fifth behind Zoie Wall (second, 300 hurdles; third, 100 hurdles), Ty Valley (second, triple jump), Lillian Corbitt (fourth, javelin), Longacre (fifth, discus) and the sixth-place 4x100 (Rebecca Insley, Valley, Wall, Kayla Amyot).

Merrimack Valley’s Victoria Leak (second, discus; third, shot put; fifth, 100 hurdles; sixth, javelin), Lily Moser (sixth, 300 hurdles) and third-place 4x800 (Kendra Davidson, Samantha Kimball, Sydney Spack, Madison Geddes), Bow’s Maya Brochu (fifth, 3,200) and Mackenzie Szczepanik (tied fourth, pole vault) rounded out the area scorers for the girls.

But for all the strong Capital Area representation, the day, once again, belonged to Coe-Brown and a banner year of CBNA seniors that have 12 members who will be pursuing track at the collegiate level.

Said Sheldyn Fisher, “It feels good to close it out as seniors one more time.”

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