Track & field: Concord girls win 44-team Black Bear Invitational, Coe-Brown boys set 3 meet records

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 04-30-2023 10:33 PM

The Concord High girls’ track and field team is good. Really good. The Tide has talent, depth, skilled athletes in all disciplines, and all of that was on display on Saturday at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. 

Junior Morgan Doherty won the 100-meter hurdles, and finished third in both the 300 hurdles and long jump; sophomore Ella Goulas won the triple jump, finished second in the high jump and fourth in the long jump; and all three Crimson Tide relays finished in the top six as Concord claimed the Black Bear Invitational team title.

The Tide tallied 103.33 points, easily topped the field of 44 teams at the largest team-scoring invitational in the state. Phillips Exeter Academy (68 points), Nashua North (64.33), Nashua South (43), Oyster River (29) and Portsmouth (25) rounded out the top six, while Manchester Central and hosts Coe-Brown (23) tied for seventh.

Phillips Exeter (88) and Oyster River (56) were the top two boys’ teams, while the CBNA boys finished third (45) behind four event titles and three meet records.

Seniors Aidan Cox and Gavin Demas both won their individual events, the 3,200 (9:02.75) and 800 meters (1:52.68), respectively, in meet record times, and joined fellow senior Tyler Tkaczyk (sixth 3,200) and junior Jamie Lano on the record-setting 4x800-meter relay (8:06.60)

Senior Zachary Bistany won the discus (141 feet, 0.25 inches) for Coe-Brown’s fourth victory.

The Concord boys (33) finished fourth, led by the title-winning 4x100 relay of freshmen Deagan Hines and Tim Fahnbulleh, junior Jackson Borkush and senior Quinn Marino, while Souhegan (29) rounded out the top five.

Kearsarge senior Amelia Lefebvre won the girls’ high jump by clearing 4 feet, 10 inches.

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It was a great day for Capital Area teams and athletes, but no single team performed as well as the Concord High girls. And that was without of their best competitors, two-time Division I triple jump champion and 4x100 anchor Ayva Mullen, out with an injury.

“Ayva is one of our best jumpers and leaders on the team,” Concord head coach Hayden Daly said. “Some of my other girls stepped up and blew up today … “It showed we have some depth. We have a lot of girls who did really well.”

Doherty had never broken 16 seconds in the 100 hurdles, but ran a 15.74 in the prelims to qualify for the finals and ran even faster (15.42 seconds) in the finals, edging Phillips Exeter’s Willa Hock by .02 seconds for the title.

Goulas won the triple jump in 35 feet, 11.5 inches, and also cleared 4-10 for second place in the high jump (Lefebvre was the winner due to clearing in fewer attempts). 

While the Tide did well across several events, hurdles and jumps were definitely a highlight, with juniors Caroline Cooper (second triple jump), Kendall Barton (third pole vault) and Kelley Mikelson (fourth triple jump, tied fourth high jump), and sophomore Madeline Muller (second pole vault and 400) scoring in those events.

For technical events like the jumps and hurdles, it can be harder to train for those early in the season while pits are flooded and access to a cleared track is limited.

“They’re doing really good performances in not the best weather. Once we get some nice spring days … they’re all in,” Daly said.

Senior Molly Nyhan, sophomore Shelly Smith (fourth 1,600), and juniors Alina Pincoske and Chloe Gudas (third 800) formed the runner-up 4x800; junior Rachel Gridley, seniors Katherine Muller and Caroline Quirk, and Cooper were the fourth-place 4x100; and Doherty, the Muller sisters and senior Avery Fitcher were sixth in the 4x400.

With the absence of Mullen and the non-traditional order events at the Black Bear (the 4x400 and 4x800 were back-to-back, whereas the 4x800 is usually the first event and 4x400 is the last), it forced Daly to try some new combinations on relays, which “starts to open up possibilities for states.”

The Tide finished half a point behind Division I champions Exeter at last year’s state meet and are undefeated so far this season, but team isn’t thinking about the championship. At least, not yet.

“We’re excited that we scored over 100 points and had points from a lot of different places,” Daly said. “But for now, they really want some reps and some warmth. They’re all in (on this season). They’re a nice little team.”

The Tide boys had some strong performances. Marino finished second in the 200 in addition to anchoring the 4x100 relay and senior Sam Foulds finished second in the discus (137-10.75) with the second-best throw recorded in D-I so far this year. Sophomore Colby Nyhan (third pole vault) and senior Ayoob Ismael (sixth javelin) rounded out Concord’s scoring.

The Coe-Brown boys also showed they are title contenders in D-II. Lano, Cox, Demas and senior Ben Robinson were the fourth-place 4x400 on what was an exceptional day for the Bears’ distance and mid-distance runners.

“They have been working really hard and really consistently,” Coe-Brown co-head coach Lucas Fisher said. “They are the epitome of hard work and dedication. They’re super strong right now. They’re buying into the program and the training. You couldn’t ask for anything more. It was just an awesome day for Coe-Brown as a whole, for the (boys and girls teams) and going toe-to-toe against the best competition in New Hampshire.”

CBNA also showed it has the best track infrastructure around, pulling off a 44-team invitational without a hitch. 

“It takes an entire community to run a meet of that caliber,” Fisher said. “Our staff was just on top of it. We have an awesome community for supporting us.”

Josie Malloy (third triple jump), Anushka Chavda (fourth 100, fifth 200), Sheldyn Fisher (fourth 3,200), Madeleine Grenier (fifth discus) and Shannon Ross (sixth pole vault) were the individual scorers for the Coe-Brown girls.

The Bears also had two fifth-place relays, the 4x100 (Malloy, Brooke Bachhuber, Chavda and Natalie Sicard) and the 4x800 (Fisher, Paige Murdough, Emma Larson and Madison Taylor). 

The Kearsarge girls tied for 11th with Newfound (14 points each) behind Lefebvre’s victory, Molly Ellison (fifth 800) and the fifth-place 4x400 (Ellison, Lefebvre, Rachel Holderman and Ellie Wimer).

Victoria Leak (second discus, sixth shot put) scored all nine points for the 15th-place Merrimack Valley girls.

Hopkinton tied for 16th with Reese Bove (third 400) and Elise Miner (fifth javelin) scoring the Hawks, and Pembroke tied for 20th behind strong throws in the javelin from Natalie Longacre (third) and Lillian Corbitt (sixth). 

Other top area finishers on the boys’ side was Gavin Currier (second triple jump) for Pembroke (tied for 21st), Aidan Donahue (third high jump) for 24th-place Winnisquam and Bishow Thapa (sixth 400) for Merrimack Valley.

MV tied for 28th place and also had a strong finish from its 4x400 of Thapa, Marshall Carey-Matthews, Beckett Rose and Tyler Wallace.

Max Bishop (fifth javelin) scored for 30th-place Hopkinton and August Zock (tied sixth in pole vault) scored for 33rd-place Kearsarge.

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