Hanover High Track Team Shines at Opening Meet
The Hanover High School track team took full advantage of Tuesday’s summer-like heat and enjoyed a number of red-hot performances in a season-opening meet at Merrimack Valley featuring several Division Two track powerhouses. The Marauder boys did particularly well, outscoring Lebanon and Windham and finishing second behind host Merrimack Valley. The Hanover girls finished fourth, but were only two points behind Windham and 16 behind Lebanon. A number of the Marauders qualified for the state meet, with strong performances from both veterans and rookies.
The boys showed both depth and quality, with 15 different athletes scoring points, and scoring in every event except the triple jump. Upperclass leaders for the Marauders included senior Alessandro Vecchi, who won the discus with a toss of 112’4.5”, and finished third in the shot put. Junior Morgan Baughman won the 1600 in 4:46, and was second in the 3200.
Freshman Kyle Doucette had a breakout day, with an individual first and two seconds, and a first place relay finish. The lanky speedster tied for first in the 200 yard dash (23.60), and tied for second in the 100. He also was second in the long jump with a leap of 19’2”, and helped the 4 x 400 meter relay team finish first. The relay victory was perhaps the highlight of the meet, with the quartet of Doucette, Deveon Martin, Colm Seigne and Sam Pych gutting out a win after the end of a long, hot day, with each participant having already placed in multiple events. Anchor Sam Pych took the baton in a dead heat with his MV competitor, and held him off for a signature victory.
Pych was fifth in the long jump, and also placed in both the 100 and 200. Martin was fifth in the 200, giving Hanover three of the top five in that event. Seigne was third in the 800. Senior Sam Ives also placed in multiple events, with a second in the 400 and part of a third-place finish by the 4 x 100 relay. Sophomore Bauti Gallino ran a leg in that relay, and took fifth in the 400. Senior Ben Sobel got points in the relay and finished second in the high jump, qualifying for the state meet with a jump of 5’8”. Freshman Ivan Hacker was the final member of the third-place relay quartet.
Brothers Charles and Andrew Chen were Hanover’s point-getters in the hurdles. Charles, a senior, was 3rd in the 300 meter hurdles, and 4th in the 110 meter event. Andrew, a freshman, was fourth in the 110. The Marauders showed excellent depth in the throws. Daniel Pinigin was fifth in the shot put behind Vecchi, and Henry Lang was fourth in the discus. Junior James Napier was 5th in the javelin.
The Marauder girls got several strong performance from their veterans, but it was quite a coming out party for the freshmen, with six different members of the class of 2020 earning points. Luck Glueck won the grueling 3200 meter run with a time of 12:40.80. Anna Stafford was all over the place, finishing second in the 200, which she had never run, finishing third in the 300 meter hurdles, which she had never run, and earning third in the high jump.
The contributions from ninth graders continued with a third place in the 800 by Christine Aman, less than a second out of second. Peiper Thomas was third in the 200 and Alice Garner was 5th, giving the Marauders three of the top five finishers. Thomas and Stafford both ran legs on the third-place 4 x 400 relay. Finally, Kate Henggeler was second in the shot put.
Senior Hannah Wittmann employed a lot of muscle memory, finishing second in the high jump with a leap of 5’10”, even though she had not jumped, even once, since last May. She also showed no rust with a third place finish in the discus, despite the fact that she had not thrown the disc since freshman year. Junior Elsa Nordstrom was second in the 800 meter run, and both she and Wittmann earned points in the 4 x 100 relay.
Sophomore Leila Trummel had an impressive day in the distance runs, finishing third in both the 1600 and 3200. Classmate Emily Bregou was right behind with a third in the 3200.
Head Coach Steve McConnell was effusive in his praise of the entire squad, saying, "We had a great day. I'm so proud of the kids. They were awesome, especially considering we have yet to run all the way around our track due to snow and ice still on it. There is much to be excited about. Obviously things like winning an event are great, but it's equally great to see and athlete show some courage and toughness in a race when you didn't expect it, or see it, or see a kid who has been working hard for a long time finally hit a big throw for them. We had a lot of moments like that today."
Continued McDonnell, "I was so pleased with the boys 4 x 400 relay. We talk a lot about that race, but how it is the test of a team, how it determines championships, and so on. It gave me goosebumps to watch our boys run at the end of a very long day for each guy in the team. They were competitive throughout, they ran smart, and with heart, and in the end they held off the host MV team for the victory. It was a great end to a great day."
The Marauders return to Penacook and Merrimack Valley High in 11 days to participate in the MV Invitational, perhaps boosted by the novelty of actual practice in the events in which they will be competing.