Exeter sends large contingent to Hershey track regional meet
19 qualify for today's state championship; Epping and Newmarket also send athletes
EXETER — The Exeter Parks and Recreation boys' and girls' track teams were once again the largest group at Monday's New Hampshire Hershey Track and Field regional meet at Rochester.
And that wasn't even the full amount of the athletes in the program run by the Exeter Parks and Recreation Department.
"We did like a qualifying type event with just the kids from our own program and that narrowed it down, so 45 went to the regionals," said assistant coach Dan Conrad, a summer intern with Exeter Parks and Rec who attends the University of New Hampshire.
Accepting athletes from Stratham and East Kingston as well as Exeter, 82 boys and girls in the 9-14 age group participated in the Monday and Thursday evening practices. This year's head coach is Gwen Coogan, who was unable to attend the regional meet, according to Exeter Parks and Recreation Director Greg Bisson.
Eight boys and 11 girls from Exeter Parks and Rec qualified for today's New Hampshire Hershey Championships at Manchester Memorial High School. The meet begins at 4 p.m.
In addition, teams from Newmarket and Epping also participated and will be represented by some strong competitors at the state meet.
"They did well," Conrad said. "A few of them came in first, second or third. The top four go to the states."
The 9- and 10-year-old boys had a strong showing. Jacob Buban edged teammate Camden Harrison for a 1-2 finish in the standing long jump. Buban was also third in the 400-meter dash. Finn Ward was second in the 200 meter dash and third in the 100-meter dash. His brother Harrison was second in the 50-meter dash. Andrew Bouvier was third in the 200 and fourth in the 100. The 4x100 relay team of Finn and Harry Ward, Buban, and Bouvier finished first.
Also moving onto the state meet from Exeter were 11-12 boys Alex Bouvier (third, 100), William Reynolds (2nd, softball throw), and Thomas Vanderslice (fourth, 800).
On the girls side, Exeter teams won the 4x100 relays in the 9-10 and the 13-14 divisions, with other first-place finishes coming from Olivia Moran in the 9-10 100-meter dash (also second in the 200) and Hershey meet veteran Grace Mautz in the 13-14 800 meters.
Mautz, competing for the first time in the 13-14 group, was also third in the 200 meters. She will be competing in her fifth straight state meet.
Other state qualifying results for the Exeter girls were: Emily Michelson, 9-10 100 (third); Kennedy Fitzpatrick, 9-10 long jump (third); Riley Orcutt, 9-10 softball throw (fourth); Jordan Heiser, 11-12 softball throw (third); Molly Warriner, 13-14 100 (second); Jesse Blaisdell, 13-14 100 (fourth); Emily Tosatti, 13-14 800 (second); Caroline Smith, 13-14 1,600 (second); and Shanice Marotto Potvin, 13-14 long jump (third).
The Exeter Parks program has a history of success at the state meet — and beyond.
Last year Mautz (11-12 400) and Elise Leavitt of Stratham (13-14, 400) were selected to represent New Hampshire at the national Hershey Track and Field meet in Hershey, Pa. Courtney Smith of Exeter represented NH in the 800 meters in both 2009 and 2010.
Newmarket's Russell, Epping's Gaudette triple qualifiers
Epping's Andrew Gaudette swept the 13-14 boys 100 and 200-meter dashes with times of 12.71 and 26.62 seconds, respectively. He also was fourth in the long jump.
For Lucas Russell of Newmarket it will be a return trip to the state championships after winning the 200-meter dash at the 11-12 division, placing second in the 100-meters and adding a fourth in the softball throw.
Russell will have some solid teammates coming along to Manchester. Camden Corso won the boys' 13-14 1,600 meter in a time of 5 minutes, 35.66 seconds, while Fred Holmes was second in the 11-12 400.
Epping had a pair of winners in the girls softball throws. Hayley Pelletier won the 9-10 division, to go with a 4th in the 50 meters. Megan Marasca won the 11-12 division. Also representing the Epping girls' team in Manchester will be Emma Roussel (9-10 long jump, 4th) and Oakley Lustenberger (9-10 softball throw, 3rd). Roussel, Pelletier, Lustenberger and Kate Roussel also qualified in the 4x100 relay with a fourth-place finish.
Epping will also be sending its boys 9-10 relay team of Joshua Coolidge, Alex Wyatt, Ben Millbury and Luke Rossel.