GORHAM, Maine — Junior Colin Donnelly won the 3,000 and was second in the 1,500 as the Winnacunnet High School boys track team placed fourth at Sunday’s Seacoast Championship meet at the University of Maine.
Donnelly beat the 12-man field in the 3,000 with a time of 9 minutes, 17.82, and finished just behind Oyster River’s Myles Carrico in the 1,500 with a time of 4:16.42. Carrico won in a time of 4:12.44.
“It just shows how tough he (Donnelly) is,” Winnacunnet head coach Joe Lemay said. “Winning one and then getting second in the next is very remarkable. He should be impressed and very happy with himself. We expected him to come in and score some points, and he did just that. He did his job.”
Exeter won the 10-team competition with 74 points and was followed by Portsmouth (62), Spaulding (37), Winnacunnet (36), Oyster River (26), Coe-Brown (24), Dover (14), Timberlane (12), Newmarket (6) and Sanborn Regional (3).
Junior Ryan Walker was fourth in the 600 (1:28.06).
“He’s new to this mid-distance running,” Lemay said. “Until I got there, he was told he was a sprinter, but I told him he’s a mid-distance runner. He keeps improving each meet. He opened up the season with a low 1:30 and then he hits a faster 1:30, and then goes and runs in the fast heat at the Seacoast (Championship) and runs this 1:28 and scored serious points for us. Given the right opportunity, he’s going to be getting better and better. This kid has only run the 600 three times and to say his third 600 was a 1:28 and he hit the auto qualifier by over a second is so remarkable.”
What did Lemay see in Walker to make the switch in events?
“The thing with him is that he’s built like a mid-distance runner,” said Lemay, a former runner for the University of New Hampshire men’s track team. “He’s a lot taller and has a long stride, but he’s also strong. Your sprinters are usually really strong guys with short, quick strides. (Walker) is super tall and has a long stride and is so fluid. When you tell him to float on the back straight he knows exactly what that means. He knows he can stay up tall, hold his rhythm and he can hold that for laps at a time. He just has a natural rhythm to his running form that you don’t really see and he’s a quick learner. He’s going to see things in this sport he might not have before, it’s super exciting. He’s a great kid to coach.”
Winnacunnet’s 4x400 relay team, consisting of Walker and Jack Taylor, senior Nicholas Beal and sophomore Zachary Valhouli, placed second in a time of 3:40.31.
Taylor was also second in the 1,000 (2:35.44).
Senior Austin Denis placed in the top 10 in two events, earning fifth in the 3,000 (9:36.24) and eighth in the 1,500 (4:30.66)
Junior Jake Bullard was fifth in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), Beal was sixth in the 1,000 (2:51.66), sophomore Eben Tobler was seventh in the 55 hurdles (9.08), sophomore Christian Fortin was eighth in the high jump (5-02), sophomore Jack Wilber was eighth in the shot put (36-08) and junior Rathanak Chea was ninth in the 1,000 (2:55.17).
The 4x200 relay team, consisting of sophomore Ben Berman, senior Alex Beal, Walker and Taylor, placed sixth in 1:43.6.
Other top-20 performances were turned in by senior Jake Duffy (shot put, 11th, 35-4),
junior Matthew Lambert (1,500, 12th, 4:33.31), Alex Beal (300, 13th, 41.53), sophomore Cole Cooper (1,000, 13th, 3:04.31), Berman (600, 14th, 1:35.16), senior Troy Corcoran (long jump, 16th, 16-04), sophomore Patrick D’Entremont (long jump, 17th, 16-03.5), sophomore Anthony LiPetri (300, 18th, 41.96) and freshman Chris Capezzuto (shot put, 19th, 30-04).
Winnacunnet will send five to the Dartmouth Relays on Saturday. Taylor and Donnelly will compete in the seeded mile, while Walker will compete in the 600, and Nick Beal and Austin Denis will compete in the 1,000.
The foursome of Donnelly, Taylor, Beal and Walker will also compete in the 4x800 relay.
“That’s going to be a great race,” Lemay said. “The teams that are seeded above us are some huge names, Hendricken, LaSalle, St. Johnsbury, those teams are so good historically in the distance events. I am super excited to see our four guys compete with them. We’re not looking for the win by any means we just want to see them run a smart and tactical race and compete with the big dogs.”