Bow, White Mountains rule Division III track
Putting a lock on the distance races, Bow's Jonathan Vinnenberg won the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter runs while Andrew Weckstein captured the 3,200-meter run, enabling the Falcons to claim the boys' title at the Division III Track and Field Championships at Newfound Regional in Bristol Saturday.
Vinnenberg went on to run a leg on the Falcons victorious 4-by-400-meter relay team.
His meet performance was only rivaled by Romario Bailey of Claremont's Stevens, who won four individual gold medals with winning efforts in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
Joining the Falcons in a team victory lap after the meet were the White Mountains of Whitefield girls, who secured their first NHIAA track and field championship plaque in school history.
No meet records tumbled Saturday, but Lucia Martin of Swanzey's Monadnock equaled the girls' pole vault divisional mark with a jump of 10 feet even.
Bow outdistanced Stevens in the boys' team scoring, 100-68, while White Mountains' girls topped Monadnock, 93-85.
► Meet results from lancertiming.com.
“Jono had an epic day,” said Bow coach Dyrace Maxfield. “Prior to the meet, we knew our distance guys had to get us points, but our athletes came through in the triple jump and javelin with some unexpected points to give us a little room for error.”
But there was no error from the Falcons runners.
Vinnenberg posted winning times of 51.56 in the 400, 2:02.30 in the 800 and 4:43.65 in the 1,600, while Weckstein paced the 3200 field in 10.01.5.
With only the Meet of Champions left to contest, Vinnenberg, who will attend West Point in the fall, remained undefeated in all of his New Hampshire races this spring. In addition, he competed in just his third open 400 race ever.
“Last night was the first time I ever used (starting) blocks,” Vinnenberg confessed.
Vinnenberg is the three-time Division III 800 champion and two-time 1,600 titleist.
Bailey, who came to America from Jamaica in the fall of 2009, is a natural sprinter and only recently added hurdles to his repertoire. He won the short dashes in 11.29 and 23.02 respectively and tamed the hurdles in 15.19 and 39.82.
Several outstanding performances and solid team depth helped the Spartans to their crown. Senior Erin Voigt, who was seeded 13th in the high jump, cleared the bar at 5-feet to surprise the field with 10 White Mountains' points, and freshman Jessica Schanlaber won the 1,600 in 5:27.08 for another 10.
Karisa Bergman, who sprained her ankle during the javelin competition, rallied and took gold and 10 points in the discus with a throw of 113-6, and the winning Spartans 4-by-100- and 4-by-400-meter relay teams accounted for 20 points.
“We needed a lot to go right for us, and it did,” said White Mountains coach Jared Mills. “We scored in all event areas.”
The vault area provided much of the meet's drama. First three-time division vault champion Martin matched the D-III record at 10 feet for the runner-up Huskies, and then Hopkinton's Aaron Beckwith shattered his pole, which was bent at maximum compression, on his first attempt at 12 feet. Uninjured and undaunted, Beckwith went to a backup pole, cleared the height on his next attempt and went on to win the event at 13 feet even.
“It was hard concentrating, especiaIly after hitting myself in the face with my knee,” said Beckwith. “I went to a shorter pole which is easier to bend, but it made it harder to propel myself upward.”
Seeking a division record, Beckwith failed at 13-7, but his best-ever jump measured 14-feet.
The girls' meet featured several double-winners. Kathereeya Tonyai of Conant's Jaffrey won the 100 and 200 dashes and Sunapee's Crista Hargbol was first in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
Gabe Carter led the Kearsarge of North Sutton boys with wins in the long and triple jumps.
The best from Division III compete at the Meet of Champions at Londonderry Saturday afternoon.