CONWAY - For the first time in school history, both the Portsmouth High boys' and girls' track teams finished the outdoor track season as NHIAA state champions.
The Clippers boys won the Division II crown for the first time since 2015 while the Portsmouth girls won their second straight D-II crown on Saturday at Kennett High School.
The Portsmouth boys earned 89 points, finishing well ahead of runner-up Windham (68½ points). The Clippers girls won in dramatic fashion, finishing with 70 ½ points compared with runner-up Milford's 68.
The Portsmouth girls secured their championship by finishing ahead of Milford in the meet's last event, the 4-by-400-meter relay. The Clippers finished second to Oyster River of Durham with a time of 4 minutes, 10.62 seconds. Milford took third, finishing in 4:14.1.
Portsmouth sophomore Sarah Morin anchored the Clippers 4-by-400 girls team, holding off Milford junior Meg Sawyer down the final stretch to clinch the title for her program. Ellen Baker, Grace Ripperger and Maddie Coscia also ran for Portsmouth in the event.
"It's one of those things that after the fact is really a lot of fun but during it is not so much fun," Portsmouth girls' coach Stan Lyford said.
Morin also won the pole vault and finished runner-up to Souhegan of Amherst senior Elise Lambert in the 300-meter hurdles.
Lyford's son, Mike, is the head coach of the Clippers boys' team. Mike Lyford said it is amazing coaching alongside his father.
"He got me into coaching and just being with him day in, day out and sharing ideas and working together is so much fun," Mike Lyford said. "He's the coach you want to have."
Mike Lyford described the meet as one filled with ups and downs for the Portsmouth boys. He credited his team's depth for its ability to overcome some its shortcomings Saturday.
"For every bad thing that happened, a couple good things happened," Mike Lyford said. "It just worked in our favor and we're big enough and deep enough where you can take hits like that."
Senior Harrison Flagg helped the Clippers boys to the title by winning the discus event with his throw of 137 feet. Teammate Ryan Prinz finished runner-up to Trinity of Manchester senior Stephen Duckett in the 400-meter dash.
Duckett won the both the 200 and 400-meter dashes in division-record times. His mark of 49.45 seconds was .01 of a second faster than Monadnock of Swanzey's Adrian Packard finished in to set the previous mark in 2000. Duckett's time (22.06 seconds) in the 200-meter dash was .18 of a second faster than the previous record, which was set by Bishop Brady of Concord's Steve Marino in 1998.
Duckett also anchored Trinity's 4-by-400 boys' relay team to a state championship. The Pioneers finished the event in 3:32.7, just ahead of runner-up Hanover's time of 3:33.39.
"The competition was really stiff so I kind of just sent it, gave it my all, left everything on the track," Duckett said after winning the 400-meter dash.
Duckett was not the only competitor from a Queen City school to leave Conway with some hardware. Manchester West's Corinne and Julia Robitaille, who are identical twin sisters, both earned individual titles.
Corinne Robitaille edged Souhegan sophomore Marissa Romano to win the 800-meter run and finished runner-up in the 400-meter dash to Sanborn of Kingston freshman Kristina Allard. Corinne Robitaille finished the 800 in 2:19.04, just ahead of Romano (2:19.45).
Julia Robitaille won the 1,600-meter run with her time of 4:58.76. Julia Robitaille took the lead midway through the third lap of the four-lap race and proceeded to create a healthy gap between her and the field. Milford junior Lauren Robinson, who won the 3,200-meter run, finished runner-up with a time of 5:03.16.
"I think it really helped to have those really fast girls in the race with me," Julia Robitaille said. "We took turns leading and it helped mentally to have someone right in front of you."