DURHAM — The Winnacunnet High School boys indoor track team won two events and placed in the top five in six others in Saturday’s season-opening, eight-team league meet at the University of the New Hampshire.
Winnacunnet placed fourth as a team with a total of 35 points.
Pinkerton won with a score of 95.5, and was followed by Exeter (44), Portsmouth (43.5), Winnacunnet, Londonderry (31), Spaulding (24), Nashua South (18) and Bishop Guertin (3).
“Right now in the season, for us, it doesn’t really matter about placing high in these league meets,” Winnacunnet coach Joe Lemay said. “We’re pretty confident still, especially with the showing that we had. Those teams we competed against were all the big schools in Division I, so to say we were competing right there with Pinkerton and Exeter despite the fact that we graduated so many people last year, we still had a strong showing and a lot of the younger guys stepped up in a big way.”
Junior Jack Taylor won the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes, 37.64 seconds, a good enough time to qualify for state meet at season’s end. The qualifying time was 2:43.
“(Taylor) ran maybe the most perfect 1,000 that I’ve seen him race in a while,” Lemay said. “His pacing was on point, he just put the foot on the gas pedal and didn’t really look back. It was really a flawless race on his part; just goes to show where he is with his training, and where he’s at already in the season.”
Taylor also ran the second leg in Winnacunnet’s 4x400-meter winning relay team.
The quartet of junior Ryan Walker, Taylor, senior Nick Beal and sophomore Ben Berman finished in a time of 3:51.24.
Senior Austin Denis was second in the 3,000 (9:28.34), just 3 seconds away from qualifying for the state meet.
“That was huge,” Lemay said. “He smashed the opening qualifying standard (10:10); I don’t see him not going to states. He’s a strong runner and he’s only going to get better. I was very impressed with what he ran.”
Walker (600, 1:31.84), Beal (1,000, 2:55.44), junior Matthew Lambert (1,500, 4:40.94) and sophomore Eben Tobler (55 hurdles, 8.74) all placed fifth in their respective events.
Tobler ran behind Billy Powers, who is now running at Cornell, last year. Tobler qualified for state, which was a 8.94.
“He was (Powers') protege last year,” Lemay said. “He took in all he could. He’s going to states after his first meet, and that’s huge.”
The 4x160 relay team, consisting of senior Troy Corcoran, Tobler, and sophomores Owen Parker and Patrick D’Entremont, placed fifth in a time of 1:23.44.
Other top-10 performances from Winnacunnet were turned in by sophomore Jack Wilber (shot put, seventh, 36 feet, 5.25 inches), junior Nolan Duffy (600, ninth, 1:38.34), sophomore Cole Cooper (600, 10th, 1:40.64), and D’Entremont (long jump, 10th, 17-6).
Other performances were turned in by Berman (300, 11th, 41.54), senior Jake Duffy (shot put, 11th, 34-03.25), junior Rathanak Chea (1,000, 12th, 3:00.44), senior Alexander Beal (600, 14th, 1:45.44), sophomore Anthony LiPetri (600, 15th, 1:46.54), junior Nolan Duffy (long jump, 15th, 16-09.5), freshman Chris Capezzuto (shot put, 16th, 30-02.5), freshman Hunter Janetos (300, 17th, 43.44), Corcoran (long jump, 18th, 16-04.5), sophomore Christian Fortin (long jump, 19th, 15-04.5), sophomore Jasper Pimental (300, 20th, 44.44), freshman Colin Kimball (300, 21st, 45.54), senior Aidan O’Keefe (1,000, 22nd, 3:19.24), freshman Brady Hanson (300, 24th, 45.84) and freshman Jason Bowley (long jump, 25th, 13-04).
Winnacunnet will compete on Saturday at Plymouth State University. The 16-team meet is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
Winnacunnet will compete against Belmont, Laconia, Bishop Brady, Plymouth, Pembroke, Prospect Mountain, Bow, Merrimack Valley, Goffstown, Gilford, Manchester West, Winnisquam, Kearsage, Pelham and Franklin.
“With where we are compared to the big Division I schools last weekend, although there are more schools coming this weekend, they're a lot smaller and I honestly think we can win this meet,” Lemay said. “Not really about the points so early in the season; we’re just trying to get everyone to states. That’s what really matters. With that being said, I still really think we can win the meet with what we’re doing right now.”