DII State Track & Field Championships

“We set the team up to do our best.  The kids ran extremely well,” said head sprint coach Nick Ricciardi.

On Sunday, February 5th, Oyster River High School’s Track and Field team joined many others to compete in Hanover, New Hampshire, for the Division II State Championship Meet.  The event was held at Leverone Field House, Dartmouth College’s indoor track.

The boys’ team took third place with a total of 41 points, and the girls placed fifth overall with 36.  The entire division, of at least twenty two teams, was present.  The meet was determined to be a success by both Oyster River athletes and coaches, with strong performances across the board.  Especially notable were several of the Bobcats’ relays.

OR’s distance runners were the first to step out onto the track.  The girls’ team came out strong in the first event of the afternoon, placing fourth in the 4x800m relay.  The team, consisting of Madison Hoppler (‘20), Sophie Sullivan (‘21), Kadence Murphy (‘20), and Lily Doody (‘21), cut nearly thirty seconds from their previous best time.  “We have been training hard over the past couple weeks with intense speed and long interval workouts,” said Doody.  “I was the last leg, so my strategy was just to try to pick off as many people as I could, knowing we had a strong possibility of scoring.”  The boys team, of Patrick Lyons (‘19), Ben Stone (‘19), Noah Hall (‘20), and Henry Duisberg (‘20), placed sixth with a time of 9:03.84.

The OR girls’ 4x800m relay team.  From left to right: Murphy, Doody, Hoppler, and Sullivan.  (Photo credit: Scott McGrath)

“Our athletes had been doing tune-up workouts to be very race ready, where general endurance and strength blends with speed,” said head distance coach Scott McGrath.  “Many of our athletes were entered in multiple events at the state meet and our workouts were aimed at simulating the demands of the meet using a series of very hard efforts with limited recovery time.”

With the third leg of the girls 4x400m and 4×200 relay, Lydia Hoffman (‘18), out for the count with the flu, Evelyn Fischer (‘20) and Abigail Schmitt (‘19) stepped in.  This replacement certainly did not set them back too far in the 4×400, as the girls relay team swept the event, placing first, two seconds ahead of the second-place competition, Portsmouth.  “She did a really nice job,” said Concannon, of Fischer’s 64 second split.  “We were all super impressed, especially because it was her first 400m ever.”  The girls’ 4×200, seeded first, held a strong lead for the majority of the race, but fumbled over a handoff, and were set back several yards.  The team placed fifth overall, still managing to earn points for the team.

In the last event of the afternoon, the boys’ 4x200m relay team had a stellar performance.  The team demolished the existing school record by over two seconds, placing second overall with a time of 1:36.02.  The team consisted of Grant Heine (‘18), Cameron St. Ours (‘19), Jacob Zercher (‘18), and Connor Manning (‘18).  “I’m incredibly proud of our relay team,” said Manning, who ran the anchor leg.  “I knew that however the first three legs did, I needed to get the baton and go as fast as my body would physically let me in order to get the record.”

Heine races the first leg of the boys’ 4x200m relay. (Photo credit: Amy Trafton)

Other Standout athletes of the day included sprint runner Devan McClain (‘19), and distance runner Kieran Murphy (‘18).  McClain had two strong individual races running a personal best and placing first in the 55m with a time of 7.34.  She placed fourth in the 300m with a time of 43.12, 0.25 seconds behind teammate Amelia Concannon, who placed third, with a personal best of 42.87.  Both McClain and Concannon were also members of the girls 4x200m relay and the winning 4x400m relay.  Murphy placed 1st in the 3000m with a time of 9:07.42, and 3rd in the 1500m with a time of 4:17.49.  “I felt great [in the 3000m]; it was a fun race,” said Murphy.  “I would have liked to have placed 2nd in the 1500, but no one can predict what Cam Star [of Pelham] will do, and [Spenser] Sawyer [of Windham] has some solid speed.”

McClain crosses the finish line during the 55m dash. (Photo credit: Amy Trafton)

Athletes and coaches alike were proud of their overall performance.  “Despite the weather and the flu going around, the vast majority of us were healthy, fit and confident,” said McGrath.

Ricciardi reiterated this idea, adding, “Everything we do from November till February is to set them up for success.  We came home with some individual state championships as well as a ton of [personal records]; their hard work really showed.”

Several Oyster River athletes will continue on to run at the New England Championship Meet, but for many, this meet marked the end of the indoor season.

To view the complete lists of results, click here: http://lancertiming.com/