O’Brien Qualifies for Nationals at Oyster River Home Meet

“I had a little bit left at the end of the race I think I could’ve put to use earlier,” said Cornell University running commit, Andy O’Brien (‘21) after qualifying for nationals in the hard fought race between four dominant New Hampshire runners. Despite qualifying for nationals in this race, O’Brien knows he can improve his already national qualifying time.

On May 14th, the Oyster River track and field team hosted 13 schools in their biggest meet of the season, including top teams like Coe-Brown, Concord, and Portsmouth. The boys team placed 4th out of the thirteen teams and 2nd out of the DII teams scoring 52 points, behind Coe-Brown who scored 93.5 points The girls came in 5th place scoring 48.36 points, falling shortly behind Winnacunnet with 55.86 points and Concord with 54 points. Although the girls came in 5th place in the meet, they came in 2nd place out of the DII teams competing and beat several DI teams. The girls sprinters have retained their position as the dominant sprint team of DII while many of the boys have competed very well individually. This has put both the girls and boys track and field team at a top spot of DII. 

This was the first meet where the wind wasn’t consistently above 15 mph, and the weather was warm so it was great running conditions. O’Brien placed 4th in the 3,200 meter race shortly behind three other DI running commits. O’Brien was happy with his race, but he knows he could’ve done better. “I walked away with a 12 second pr (personal record) so I can’t complain about that.” He continued to say, “the race itself was super competitive with 3 other very dominant distance runners. We pushed each other to run a fast race. I wish that I pushed myself more at the end of the race to go with them…I would’ve liked to win the race but I have my eyes set on the state championships.” O’Brien and the other top four runners all qualified for the 3,2oo meter nationals with their times.

The men’s 800 meter race had an unusual beginning, with three false starts. The first of the false starts was a runner leaving the starting line early. The next false start was from the pole in the pole vault event that fell into the race and knocked down multiple spectators including Keane Swiesz (‘23). The third false start came from a start gun malfunction. University of Rhode Island running commit Owen Fleisher (‘21), had a strong start to the race creating separation between him and the Concord runner, Brayden Kearns, who will be running for the University of New Hampshire next year. Kearns pulled the lead in the final stretch of the race in a neck to neck finish. Fleischer came in second place, finishing 0.16 seconds behind Kearns. Fleischer’s time for the 800 meter put him 2nd in the state for this year, and 1st for DII runners in the state. 

Oyster River girls runner, Charlotte Cousins (‘22), was a huge contributor to the girls team on Friday’s meet. Cousins won both the 100 meter hurdles and 200 meter race, earning her team 20 points. “I’m happy with my success so far this season, but I know I can run faster as the competition gets better,” she said. Cousins has been undefeated all season for the 200 meter race but as she moves onto the Meet of Champions and the state championship, her competition should get harder.

For the field events, Oyster River sophomore Daniel Doherty (‘23) came in 2nd place for the men’s high jump, clearing the 5’9” pole, just two inches shy of the 1st place men’s high jump. Jayson Blaisdell (‘22) threw the javelin an impressive 151’5”, earning himself 3rd place for the men’s javelin. Blaisdell also threw the discus 103’2”, the 6th furthest throw of the event. Between the two of them, Doherty and Blaisdell earned the Oyster River boys team 17 points.

The Bobcat’s girls 4 x 400 meter relay team came in 3rd place with a time of 4:19.61 seconds, closely behind Exeter and Portsmouth High School. The Bobcat’s boys 4 x 400 meter relay team finished in 3:42.02 seconds and placed 4th behind Concord, Coe-Brown, and Exeter. Bobcats sprinter Joseph Sigmon (‘22) came in 4th for the men’s 100 meter and 6th for the 200 meter. Ella Stasko (‘21) earned the girls team six points for her 3rd place finish in the 300 meter women’s hurdles. 

The Bobcats will be off to Coe-Brown Northwood Academy for their next meet this coming Friday, May 21st at 4:30 pm. This meet is called the Mini Elite 6 because it will be a smaller group of runners with more challenging qualifying times to get into the meet. Runners like Fleischer, O’Brien, and Cousins will compete for Oyster River at this meet. The following morning, Oyster River will be hosting another open meet which will have more runners and no qualifying times to be able to compete. The Bobcats look to improve off of their last meet and place in the top three for boys and girls.

Photos by Grace Keslar