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April 08. 2013 10:55PM

NHIAA Girls' Track Preview: Bishop Guertin's Garnick set to fly high again


Manchester Memorial hurdler Danira Ibrahimovic practices in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Last month, Betsy Garnick of Bishop Guertin of Nashua broke her own state record by winning the New England Indoor Track and Field championship 55-meter girls' hurdles in 8.01 seconds at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston.

Now, with momentum at her back, she returns for her final spring track season, a year after she set the state record in the 100-meter hurdles in three consecutive meets.

Her first state record came in the Division I meet (14.48), which was followed by her 14.27 mark in the Meet of Champions and her current state time of 14.09 at the New England Track and Field championships in Saco, Maine.

"What's not to like about Betsy," said Souhegan of Amherst head coach John Eastman. "The tenacity and confidence she shows on the track is just outstanding. She's a winner."

To that, Exeter coach Jeff Holmes added "You can't teach speed. Betsy's quickness and the fact she's a very good technical hurdler is a tough combination to beat."

As a freshman last year, Hannah Parker carried Coe-Brown of Northwood to the Division II title. She won the 400 meters (57.71), 800 meters (2:19.66) and the 1,600 meters (4:59.54) in the Division II meet.

"For a freshman, Hannah was amazing just to see her strength and endurance," said Eastman, entering his 15th head coaching season at Souhegan. "She's very quick and surprisingly strong for a young runner."

In the 1600-meter run, senior Courtney Hawkins of Milford enters the season as the top seed in the state. She had a personal record time of 5:03.49 in the Meet of Champions.

Merrimack Valley of Penacook senior Julianah Adejuyigbe started last season throwing the discus 80 feet and ended the season with a winning 128-05 heave in the Division II meet. She set a Division II meet record in the shot put with a 41-foot throw.

Holmes has the luxury of returning Exeter junior Sydney Petersen, a terrific 400-meter athlete who helped lead the Blue Hawks to the Division I title last spring. She set the school record in the 400 meters in 59.40 at the Meet of Champions.

"She's a hard worker, talented athlete who is one of those kids who commands the respect of others," said Holmes.

Exeter will have a good chance of defending its title with sophomore Rachel Leonard (400, 800 and 200 meters), sophomore Shannon Murdock (800, 3,200 and 1,600 meters) and senior captain Melissa Murray (1600-, 3200-meters) back.

Londonderry, behind senior Katie Mullett (100-meter dash), junior Kristen Bourque (200-meter dash), Sydney Lagueux (3,200 meters) and senior Melanie Packard (pole vault) will be formidable along with Bishop Guertin's trio of Garnick, junior Molly McCabe (800-meter run) and senior Sarah Burke (800-meter run).

Bedford joins the Division I ranks with junior Johanna Celli leading the Bulldogs in the 200-meter dash. Junior Katie HoSang of Bedford will be a contender in the 400 meters and teammate Jenny Mara will be a force in the high jump.

In the 3,200-meter run, Elizabeth Conway of Manchester Central emerges as the top seed in the state while across town at Manchester Memorial, hurdler Danira Ibrahimovic will be scoring points for the Crusaders.

"Danira continues to improve in every meet she compete in," said Memorial coach Scott Hastings.

In Division III, senior Karisa Bergman of defending state champion White Mountains of Whitefield will be tough to beat in the discus and shot put.

The scoop

Athletes to watch: 100-meter dash: Meredith Ramsey, sophomore, Merrimack Valley; Katie Mullett, senior, Londonderry; 200-meter dash: Johanna Celli, junior, Bedford; Kristen Bourque, junior, Londonderry; 400-meter dash: Sydney Petersen, Junior, Exeter; Rachel Leonard, sophomore, Exeter; 800-meter run: Hannah Parker, sophomore, Coe-Brown'; 1600-meter run: Courtney Hawkins, senior, Milford; Shannon Murdock, sophomore, Exeter; 3200-meter run: Elizabeth Conway, senior, Manchester Central; Sydney Lagueux, senior, Londonderry; 100-meter hurdles: Betsy Garnick, senior, Bishop Guertin; Jenna Athanasopoulos, senior, Monadnock; 300-meter hurdles: Crista Hargbol, senior, Sunapee; Kelly Ludew, senior, Lebanon; High Jump: Brittney Lambert, junior, Alvirne; Marykate Melanson, junior, Plymouth Regional; Pole Vault: Jamie Briggs, junior, Keene; Melanie Packard, senior, Londonderry; Long Jump: Rachel Hill, senior, Somersworth; Samantha Toscano, senior, Coe-Brown; Triple Jump: Lindsey Beauregard, junior, Hollis/Brookline; Michaela Blackwell, sophomore, Pinkerton; Shot Put: Julianah Adejuyigbe, senior, Merrimack Valley; Adaeze Obinelo, sophomore, Nashua South; Discus: Samantha Donohue, senior, Coe-Brown; Morgan Ferland, sophomore, Fall Mountain; Javelin: Moriah Morton, senior, Lebanon; Miranda Gagnon, senior, Somersworth

Defending state champions: Division I, Exeter; Division II, Coe-Brown; Division III, White Mountains

Calendar dates for spring track: Londonderry Invitational, Saturday, May 18; Hanover Invitational, Dartmouth College, Saturday, May 18; Hepthahlon, Decathlon, Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16 at Nashua South.

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