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NHIAA track: Newport clinches title; Hanover’s MacLean a champion

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/29/2021 10:13:50 PM
Modified: 5/29/2021 10:13:48 PM

PELHAM, N.H. — Sleeping on a lead can be tough — just ask the Newport High School boys track and field team.

The Tigers took a 14-point lead at the NHIAA Division III state championship meet on Wednesday in Gilford before inclement weather halted the proceedings. Not until the triple jump and high jump events were completed Saturday at Pelham High could they finally claim victory.

Coach P.J. Lovely was Newport’s only representative on Saturday. Marius Edwards was a triple jump competitor but couldn’t make it to Pelham to finish the event on account of his graduation from Mount Royal Academy.

“You love to see good competitors,” Lovely said of his solo journey. “I have four really solid seniors (Edwards, Chase Hamilton, Ryder Lovely and Jagger Lovely) who put their heart and soul into the track team, and I wanted to see it in person to see if they could come home with a state championship.”

Newport built its lead on multiple event victories on Wednesday. Edwards (discus), Jagger Lovely (300 hurdles), Ryder Lovely (200 dash) and the 4x100 relay team of Hamilton, Eric Wilkinson and the Lovely brothers all won. Edwards was able to get in a fourth-place (39 feet, 2 inches) triple jump before storms ended the day’s action.

The Tigers’ lead shrank on Saturday thanks to a pair of runner-up results from Kearsarge’s Berhan Kidane, but it didn’t stop them from prevailing with 68 points to over the Cougars’ 66 and Monadnock’s 48. It was Newport’s first track and field state title since 1958, according to Lovely, back when it was known as Towle High.

“No sleep until today, (due to) the anticipation,” he said. “My kids couldn’t sleep. Marius, he had graduation, so he’s on edge. They’re texting me left and right asking me for updates. I haven’t even updated them yet.”

D-II girls: Hanover’s MacLean races to 100-meter dash win

On May 17, 2020, Hanover HIgh’s Ella MacLean broke her pelvis and a foot during a family hike in Enfield. Doctors were concerned about her being able to walk normally, yet a year later she won an NHIAA Division II girls state championship in the 100-meter dash.

“I didn’t know if I was going to ever be able to run at the level I was now, so this is exciting,” said MacLean, a senior. “I’m still really hurting a lot, like right now I am, but I’ve just learned to push through it, I mean, it can’t get worse.”

MacLean, who won the same event three years ago as a freshman, plans to run track next year at Southern Connecticut State.

“She worked so hard,” said Hanover coach Steve McConnell. “She was at Wayne’s World at 6 a.m. like four days a week working, rehabbing. She had an extra surgery on her foot. They let it heal for a while, and then they realized it wasn’t healing properly, so they had to go in and do surgery to fix it and then let it heal again. She’s been through a ton, so pretty amazing.”

MacLean, who also helped the 4x100m relay team (with Mia Bagnato, Jessica Lichtenstein and Casey Havrda) take third place, was scratched from the 4x400m due to pain.

“She wanted to run,” McConnell said. “We had to talk her out of it and convince her that it’s better to just stay healthy.”

Eva Simpson took MacLean’s place in the 4x400m, joining Sophie Wise, Bagnato and Havrda in a fifth-place effort.

Lebanon’s Isabella Hastings took second place in the high jump. The sophomore endured a tough schedule change when the high jump and pole vault were flip-flopped due to persistent rain, forcing her to run the 4x800m relay race in between her preliminary and final high jumps.

“I think the most difficult part was I had the 4x8 right in the middle,” Hastings said. “And it definitely hindered what I was able to do on high jump because I had to come back in; I only had two minutes to jump.

“I was at 4-10. I had three jumps. I didn’t make any of them, but I was so tired and was just completely shot from the 4x8.”

Hastings, who owns a PR of 4-9, jumped a 4-8 on Saturday.

“She didn’t quite PR today, but with the conditions, I didn’t think she was going to jump super high,” said Lebanon coach, Kevin Lozeau. “Like I told her, it’s all about how you place relative to everyone else. Cold day, she was prepared. I thought she was fourth, but second is great. So she’ll be jumping again next week and hopefully she’ll go 4-10, if we have nicer weather.”

The NHIAA Meet of Champions, which is scheduled for Saturday at Sanborn Regional High School, will include the top four finishers from each event at the state meet.

A thermometer reading of 45 degrees coupled with wind and rain made for challenging conditions in Pelham.

“I’m glad we made it through the short sprints with no one getting hurt,” Lozeau said.

“I just wanted to make sure that they all stayed warm. They were allowed to bring the tent, which was good. We stayed as dry as possible. … This year they haven’t allowed tents because they didn’t want people congregating for COVID. Today they allowed it, for obvious reasons.”

Coe-Brown won the D-II girls team competition with 123 points, followed by Milford (78) and Oyster River (70). Hanover finished in 11th place (18) followed by Lebanon in 13th (nine).

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