State record-holder Betsy Garnick of Nashua's Bishop Guertin will be out to defend her two state championships and add two more to her resume as the NHIAA Indoor Track Championships are contested at the Leverone Field House on the Dartmouth College campus today.
Garnick is the Division I champion and state record-holder in the 55-meter hurdles. A year ago, the Cardinal stalwart broke the state mark of 8.44 with a 8.34 qualifying time, and then trimmed another 0.12 off that time with a blistering 8:21 in the finals.
Her 2013 top-seed time in the event is 8.10.
Garnick also won the 55-meter dash as a junior and she, Londonderry freshman Yorgelis Ortiz and Bedford junior Johanna Celli all share top-seed times of 7.20.
Garnick is the top seed in the long jump where she finished second a year ago and her seeded distance of 17-8.25 is more than a half foot better than her nearest rival.
In addition, the speedster is seeded fourth in the 300-meter dash.
Bishop Guertin is the nine-time defending girls' D-I champion, and a 10th consecutive crown will not fall solely on Garnick's shoulders. Junior Molly McCabe is the reigning 1,000-meter run champion and senior Sarah Burke is the current 600 titliest and D-I record-holder.
McCabe brings top-seed status into today's 1,000 and 600 while Burke is ranked second in both events. McCabe possesses the second-best time of the season in the 300 and the third quickest clocking in the 1,500. Burke is ranked among the top five in the 1,500.
The trio will help make BG's relay teams a gold medal threat, as well.
Other returning champions in the D-I girls' meet include Timberlane of Plaistow seniors Hannah Kimball and Katherine Estep in the 1,500 and 3,000 respectively, and Merrimack sophomore Julia Perry in the 300.
The Timberlane duo will need to overtake Lexi Pelletier of Winnacunnet to reclaim laurels, however, as the Warrior senior and cross country Meet of Champions gold medalist is the top seed in both events.
Bedford's Jenny Mara, who tied the Division II standard in the high jump at 5-feet, 4-inches last season, competes in today's D-I Meet and is the top seed.
Division I boys
Derry's Pinkerton is the defending team champion and Bedford, now a D-I school, is the defending D-II champion.
The Astros sport a number of seeded athletes including Chris Poggi (No. 1 in the 600 and 1000) as well as No. 2 seeds Zach Ciccio and Connor Kwiecien, while Bedford boasts 55 dash top-seed and the D-II shot put champion, Joe Thibeault. Dylan York joins his Bulldog teammate with an identical 6.40 seeding time in the short sprint.
Zakari Jenkins fuels Nashua North's fortunes. Jenkins posted the season's top division time of 36-flat in the 300.
Division II girls
Four defending champions seek their second consecutive state champions, led by cross country senior standout Courtney Hawkins of Milford.
Hawkins won the cross country Meet of Champions as a junior and is the 2012, 3000-meter champion. She enters the 3000 with a division-best time of 10:22.5 this season, nearly 13 seconds better than any rival. She is also seeded second in the 1000 and 1500.
Aidan Bardos of Hanover and Kelly Ludew of Lebanon are the defending titleists in the 600 and 55 hurdles respectively.
While, defending champion Bedford competes in D-I, Milford, Hanover and Swanzey's Monadnock all finished within three-points of each other for the second spot.
Monadnock is bolstered by the Athanasopoulos sisters, Michaela and Jenna. Michaela is the defending long jump champion and owns a near-12-inch-better leap over all fellow competitors. She is also the top seed in the 300 and 55 hurdles as well as the second seed in the 600.
Jenna is seeded second in the hurdles and fourth in the long jump.
Division II boys
Hurdler Ben DeForest leads defending champion Souhegan of Amherst. As a sophomore a year ago, DeForest won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.17. He enters today's competition with a top-seeded time of 7.50.
A bonfide speedster, DeForest shares the season's top time of 6.60 in the 55 dash with Bow's Jordan Birtz and Merrimack Valley's Andrew Alicea. His versatility makes the Sabers junior the top seed in the high jump at 6-4 with Milford's Jarad Asselin and Lebanon's John Cioffredi.
Cioffredi is the defending high jump champ.
Souhegan's s bid to repeat as team champion is bolstered by two-event top seeds Tanner Kent and Eli Moskowitz. Kent posted the division's top times in the 300 and 600 meter runs, while Moskowitz is ranked first in the 1,500 and 3,000.