Double Doses of Victory
Pair of Twin Titles Highlight Raiders’ Effort
Lebanon’s Craig Telfer, right, runs the last stretch of the 4x100-meter relay at the NHIAA Division II track & field championships yesterday at Pelham High School. Telfer helped Lebanon finish in second in the event. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Lebanon’s Nell Houde finishes the 3,200-meter race yesterday. Houde finished in sixth in the event, earning a point for her team and helping them finish fourth overall. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Lebanon’s Josh Fontaine crosses the finish line in fifth place in the boys 3,200-meter race during the NHIAA Division II track & field championships yesterday at Pelham High School. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Lebanon's Josh Fontaine runs in the boys 3200-meter race during the track and field championships -- he finished in fifth in the event. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Lebanon's Georgia Michalovic floats during one of her jumps in the championships -- she finished fourth in the event. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Lebanon's Moriah Morton throws in the girls shot put event -- she finished in fourth at the event. (Concord Monitor - Andrea Morales)
Pelham, n.h. — With their fellow Lebanon High Raiders counting on them to win two events each at the New Hampshire Division II outdoor track championships yesterday, veterans Kelly Ludew and John Cioffredi delivered.
Cioffredi just followed a different route to his double: victories in the high jump and — wait for it — the shot put, while Ludew defended her titles in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles for girls.
“I don’t think anyone was expecting it,” Cioffredi said after throwing the shot 47 feet, 5.25 inches and defending his 2012 high-jump title to lead the Raider boys to fourth place as a team.
Lebanon throwing coach Beth Perkins thought Cioffredi could do it, if he could find his way among the high jump and long jump and triple jump and shot put venues within the time limits. What she didn’t know was whether she’d ever seen anyone else do it.
“It’s the damnedest double I think I’ve ever seen,” said Perkins, a Vermont shot put and discus champion several times over for Hartford in the early 1990s. “Totally out of the blue.”
Well, maybe not totally: After several weeks of training to offset a shortage of throwers among the Lebanon boys, Cioffredi steadily improved in practices and meets, culminating in a throw of 43 feet at the Hanover Invitational on May 18.
“It’s all about timing more than size and strength,” Perkins said. “Had I had him as a freshman, he could have been competitive with Dominic (Filiano, Lebanon’s four-time Division II champion and the New Hampshire record holder, now at Dartmouth College). He could hit 55 feet next year, or more.”
Assuming that Perkins can twist his arm again …
“I knew I was the favorite coming into states for the long jump,” Cioffredi said. “I really wanted to defend my title. But I only decided to do the shot when Beth told me, ‘John: You’re going to throw the shot.’ The decision was not made by me.”
Just the execution: He advanced to the preliminaries of the shot with his best throw of the day, then held his own in the finals to secure the title – while also finding time to finish fifth in the long jump and the triple jump.
“I was pleased,” he admitted. “I PR-ed (improved on his previous best) by 4½ feet.”
Ludew ran fractions of a second behind her PRs in the hurdles, but fast enough to hold off strong challenges in the 100 (15.67 seconds to 15.69 for Merrimack Valley’s Nancy Taban) and the 300 (46.57 seconds to 47.86 for Hanover’s Katherine Vincelette).
“Nancy’s a really fantastic competitor, and she pushed me really hard,” Ludew said. “And Katherine was great at 300. All day, I was trying to remember what our coaches teach us about peaking at states – that I still have the talent, and just have to bring it out when it counts.”
Enough Raider girls followed Ludew’s peaking lead for Lebanon to finish third as a team — just 11/2 points behind runner-up Milford — and qualify for next week’s New Hampshire Meet of Champions: Moriah Morton threw the javelin 116 feet, 2 inches to win by two feet, and added the fourth-place shot put, while Heather King placed second in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump.
Other Raiders scoring points with top-six finishes in individual events were Emily Kovacs with a fourth in the 200-meter dash, Nell House with sixth-place runs in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, performances of fourth and sixth respectively in the long jump from Georgia Michalovic and Lauren Anikis (who also triple-jumped to fourth place and tied Hanover’s Hannah Mahon for fifth in the high jump), while Samantha MacDonald and Heather Selmer went 4-5 in the pole vault. Lebanon also placed fourth in the 4x100-meter relay.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Lebanon coach Andrew Gamble said. “Nobody even had us in the game today, and we were right up there.”
For the Raider boys, top-six performances following Cioffredi’s included third-place finishes from Will Merchant in the long jump and Nevin Kapuscinski in the 200-meter dash, Craig Telford fourth in the 110-meter hurdles, Galen Moynihan’s tie for fifth in the high jump, and relay finishes of second in the 4x100, third in the 4x800 and sixth in the 4x400.
Joining Vincelette in leading the Hanover girls to sixth place were Safiya Walker with fourth in the 300 hurdles, Parker Goss fourth in the 1,600-meter run, Aidan Bardos fifth in the 800, and the 4x100 relay team’s sixth-place finish.
For the Hanover boys, who finished 12th as a team, Noah Williams raced to second in the 3,200 meters, while the 4x100 relay team ran sixth.
For the Stevens boys, who moved up from Division III to Division II, Akeem Bailey led the way with a 200-meter-dash clocking of 23.95 seconds — 5/100ths behind winner Hunter Normandeau of Portsmouth — and sixth in the 100 dash. Maddy Boardman placed fourth for the Stevens girls in the javelin.