Early in the morning of Saturday, May 25th, the UNH track had 21 teams competing from all around the state. The Oyster River girls’ track team fought against two daunting factors: the heat and the sheer numbers possessed by the Portsmouth team. Despite the constant opposition of fresh legs by Portsmouth, the Oyster River girls battled, falling by only 4 ½ points, Earning second out of 21 teams from around the state. The Oyster River boys’ battled the heat as well, placing 7th with 31 points.
“It’s not easy to run in this heat. The girls who we had out there were all in four events. We got every ounce we could out of our team to try to score the most points that we could,” said Nick Ricciardi, Oyster River’s head track coach, about the added element of the heat.
“We scored almost 30 more points than on paper. You really can’t ask for more than that,” said Ricciardi on his team’s performance. Throughout the season the team has been led by a strong sprinting contingent. This meet was no different. Oyster River girls scored 76 of its 87 points in events distancing 400 meters or less.
Devan McClain (‘19) led the way scoring a meet high 40 points for her team. Winning the 100 meter dash in a time of 12.89 seconds as well as the 200 meter in 16.01 seconds was a key element of the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
Competing in the relays with McClain was Jennifer Nadig (‘21) (4×100 and 4×400), Amelia Concannon (‘19) (4×100 and 4×400), Lily Doody (‘20) (4×400), and Laurel Gordon (‘19) (4×100). Concannon was runner-up to McClain in the 200 with a time of 26.48 seconds while Nadig placed sixth with a time of 26.83 seconds. Gordon followed up a PR in the prelims with a fourth place finish in the 100 in a time of 13.21 seconds and Doody, who doubled in the 400 and 800, came in third and sixth respectively with times of 61.88 and 2:25.12.
The 4×100 team of Nadig, Gordon, Concannon, and McClain set a meet record with their time of 49.04. “Our tactic was to try not to think at all. Sometimes when we think to much, we really get in our heads and mess up everything that we have done,” said Gordon.
In the 100 meter hurdles, Charlotte Cousins (‘22) came away with the win in a time of 16.12. After setting a PR in the prelims, Cousins went into the finals with the top time. “I just tried really hard not to get psyched out and I just tried my best not to get nervous,” said Cousins. In that same race, Evelyn Fischer (‘20) placed sixth with a time of 17.50 and third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 48.41.
Throughout the meet, the Bobcats battled an additional factor, the heat. “I was sweating before I even got on the line,” said Gordon. Traditionally, heat is an advantage for most sprinters and jumpers, keeping them warm between races. With the assistance of the heat, McClain, Gordon, Cousins, and both sprint relays all set PRs.
While races continued on the track, field events were underway for the entirety of the meet. Corinne Quaglieri (‘20) placed third in the javelin with a throw of 105-05.
On the boys side, several Oyster River athletes had standout performances. Sidonio LaBelle-Brown (‘20) won the triple jump with a school record jump of 44-5.75 as well as placing third in the high jump at a height of 6 feet. LaBelle-Brown enjoyed the added element of heat. “I feel that I perform better. Any heat is good for me,” he said.
In the 3200, Andy O’Brien (‘21) placed second with a time of 9:46.94 while Trevor Sassaman (‘20) placed sixth in the 800 with a time of 2:02.63. As a team, the boys placed seventh with a total of 31 points. “I thought our whole team did really well,” said LaBelle-Brown. “We just don’t have the numbers right now to win a championship,” he added.
Several Oyster River athletes have qualified for the Meet of Champions this Saturday, June 1st at UNH, where they will compete against athletes from all four divisions. “We could not have had a better day. Everything that we needed to do we did and more,” concluded Ricciardi.