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Bedford junior Rob Flynn runs here in the 1,000 meters, which he took second in with a time of 2:48.80, just a second behind Portsmouth’s Henry Wager. (Dan Moberger Photo))

Bedford boys runners take second overall, falling only to Portsmouth during meet at UNH

Runners from Bedford High School took to UNH’s Paul Sweet Oval, Saturday, Dec. 29, and came away with a second-place team finish on the boys side and a win for the girls.

The boys totaled 76 points to beat out eight other schools, but fell to Portsmouth, which earned 82. The girls’ closest competitor was also Portsmouth, but they won by a comfortable 98-70.

“We’re still piecing together where kids are going to run and which events,” Bedford coach Noah Pion said. “Overall, I think the kids performed well for the shape we’re in and the amount of practice time we’ve gotten in.”

Individual winners for the girls were Kristen Larosa in the 3,000 meters, Jenny Mara in the high jump and Brenna Williams in the long jump. The Bulldogs also came away with the 4 x 160-meter relay as well.

In addition, the girls got runner-up performances from Johanna Celli in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash, Erica Stieper in the 1500 meter, Hannah Shawver in the 55-meter hurdles, Anika Hibbard in the high jump and Amanda Ouellette in the shot put.

“Johanna Celli had a great performance in the 55 and the 300,” said Pion. “She also had a good 4 x 160 relay split.”

Kathlyn Rooney stepped up for Pion as well. She finished fifth in the 600 meters, in which her time of 1:49.10 was nearly a school record. Rooney also filled in with the 4 x 400-meter relay team.

“We’ve had a lot of good relay times and individual times – kids stepping up when I need them based on a few injuries,” Pion said. “I had an athlete today who stepped into a relay, which wasn’t planned, but that’s what the team’s about.”

In the field events, Williams’ 16-05.75-foot long jump also matched her personal best.

Individual winners on the boys team were Nick Villani in the 55-meter dash and Joseph Thibeault in the shot put. They also won 4 x 160-meter relay.

“Dylan York had a good day,” Pion said. “Taylor Wallace had a good 300 split. We had some good dash splits with Nick Vailas, Joe Thibeault and Nick Villani.”

The Bedford boys’ second-place finishers included Thibeault, who took second behind Villani in the 55-meter-dash, York in the 300-meter dash, Rob Flynn in the 1,000 meters, Keelan McCoole in the high jump. The 4 x 400-meter relay also came in second to meet-winner Portsmouth.

Also competing in the meet were Raymond, Oyster River, Kennett, Belmont, Concord Christian, Portsmouth, Bow, Pembroke, Laconia, Pelham and Windham.

Pion said the team needs to work on its 300- and 600-meter times if they hope to get qualified for states by the end of the season.

The Bulldogs came in second and third in the boys’ 300 meters, but failed to place in the 600 meters. The girls had a similar outcome in those races, taking the first and second runner-up spots in the 300 meters and failing to snag a top-three position in the 600.

“We’ve got to get in a little better shape to get our times down in the 600s and our 300s,” Pion said. “Also, our 4 x 400 relay – the kids are not feeling 100 percent confident because we’ve only trained so much.”

As the team prepares for the remainder of the season, Pion said their workouts will start to show greater improvement in their times. Bedford retakes the track on Sunday, Jan. 6 against Concord, Goffstown, Londonderry, Pinkerton, Salem, Monadnock, Kennett and Concord Christian.

“We’re doing more strength training now and we’re not worried about the endurance as much,” Pion said. “We’re going to get there, so we’re going to have to start hitting muscle endurance a little bit, tapering our lifting some and as soon as we get into power training, I think they’re going to see their times drop a lot more, especially around the right time – qualifying meets and states.”

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