HAMPTON — The Pinkerton Academy of Derry boys and Bedford girls returned home as Division I Outdoor Track and Field champions.
Joe Poggi, Nick Sevilla and Isaiah Backels each won an event to lead the Astros to a convincing win at Winnacunnet High Sunday. Pinkerton amassed 100 points and easily toppled second-place finisher Bedford with 79 points and Nashua North with 71.
The girls’ title was decided in the last event, the 4 x 400-meter relay. The quartet of Johanna Celli, Katie Ho Sang, Mollie Redman and Gwenyth Winship posted a victorious winning time of 3:59.97, giving the Bulldogs an 86-80.50 victory over runner-up Londonderry. Winnacunnet was third with 73 points and Concord ended fourth with 71 points.
Entering that final event, Londonderry held a 78.50-76 lead over Bedford, but the Lancers could muster only a fifth-place finish.
“We knew entering this meet it could come down to the relay,” said Bedford coach Derek Stank. “All the teams today just did a great job and on the girls’ side, we had four teams that had a chance to win the state title. Our girls ran very well and they were determined to win that last event.”
Pinkerton boys’ coach Carol Quarles said the turning point for her team was capturing the top three spots in the 3,200 meters, earning the Astros 24 points.
“We finished second, third and fourth in that event in the Londonderry Invitational,” said Quarles. “We were certainly capable of taking the top three places. Today, as we have shown all season along, our team chemistry came through for us. Connor Kwiecien is a our team captain and today he made sure everyone was focused and ready for their event. He kept an upbeat feeling throughout the meet and our team followed his lead.”
Poggi won the 800-meter run in 1:55.78, Sevilla captured the 3,200 meters in 9:43.88 and Isaiah Backels took first place in the pole vault with a 13-03 throw.
Junior standout Zakari Jenkins of Nashua North was a two-time winner in the 100 meters (11.14) and the 200 meters (22.64). He didn’t top his personal best times in either event (10.8 in the 100 meters, 21.8 in the 200 meters), but that wasn’t his goal Sunday.
“This is all about team first and I just came out trying to give my team as many points as we needed to win,” said Jenkins, who was part of a state championship team with North last spring. “Our team is deep in talent,” said Jenkins. “We came into this meet confident.”
North teammates Demitri Jackson (triple jump in 44-03) and Matt Lavallee (shot put 45-08) were winners as was Brendon Keach in the discus at 138-07. George Feliz of Concord won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.29 and Justin Carbone took the 1,600-meter run in 4:24.37.
On the girls’ side Emma Checovich of Winnacunnet won the long jump in 17-4 and the 100-meter hurdles in 15.38. Megan Reese of Concord took home the pole vault title in 11-0 and Shannon Murdock of Exeter was a winner in the 1,600-meter run in 4:56.87 and the 3,200 meters in 11:13.49
Hana Knowles was victorious in the discus in 108-06 and Ann Sheehy of Winnacunnet took home the gold in the 300-meter hurdles in 44.61. Smita Boesch-Dining of Concord captured the 800-meter run in 2:22.85.