GRACIE RYAN flies through the air in the triple jump at the Meet of Champions on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 09, 2014LONDONDERRY — Four local athletes proved themselves to be among the best in the state and in doing so, earned a chance to go up against New England's best.
Plymouth's Malcolm Gocha, Kennett's Gracie Ryan, Prospect Mountain's Cody Symonds and Kingswood's Dylan Tarbox all earned the right to compete in the New England Championships with their performances at Saturday's Meet of Champions at Londonderry High School.
The top local performer was Gocha, who earned himself two spots in the Meet of Champions.
His best performance came in the 100 meters. After qualifying fourth with a time of 11.3 seconds, he ripped off an impressive 11.07 in the finals to win the 100-meter title over defending champion Zakari Jenkins of Nashua North.
Gocha came back in the 400 meters and finished fourth overall, crossing in a time of 50.99 seconds to earn fourth place overall.
Ryan, who last week at the Division II championships set a new school record in the triple jump at 36 feet, three inches, obliterated that record in her first jump of the afternoon and finished with a best jump of 37 feet, one-quarter of an inch, which put her second overall behind Lauren MacGregor of Salem.
"She's on her game, that's for sure," Kennett coach Bernie Livingston stated.
Ryan also came incredibly close to qualifying for New Englands in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing seventh overall in 46.78 seconds.
Tarbox earned his bid in the 300-meter hurdles, breaking his own school record in a time of 40.38 seconds to finish fifth overall. He also added a ninth place finish in the 200 meters in 23.57 seconds. The Knight senior has a choice to make, as Kingswood graduation is also on Saturday morning.
Symonds earned his bid to New Englands in the 800 meters, as he finished sixth overall, setting the school record in a time of 1:57.58.
In addition to the kids moving on to New Englands, other athletes had solid performances at the Meet of Champions.
Alex Rayno of Prospect Mountain qualified in two events. He finished 13th in the 100 meters in 11.77 seconds and then finished 11th in the 200 meters in 23.87 seconds.
Kennett's Thomas Chant also competed in the 200 meters, finishing 10th in 23.82 seconds.
Prospect Mountain's Mark Jannini qualified for the 110-meter hurdles finals with an eighth place finish in 15.75 seconds and then finished eighth in the finals in 15.91 seconds.
Kingswood's Ben Craycraft set a personal best in the triple jump, leaping 39 feet, 7.5 inches to take eighth place overall.
Two locals qualified in the discus, with Corey Crawford of Kennett finishing just shy of a New England bid in seventh at 127 feet, eight inches, while Kingswood's Zach Mason finished ninth at 121 feet, seven inches.
Newfound's Noah Fogg, after winning the Division III javelin title the previous week, finished eighth overall with a toss of 151 feet, seven inches.
In the relays, the Kingswood 4X100-meter team of Clancy Mason, Abe DeMaio, Mitch Tappan and Tarbox finished ninth in 45.16 seconds, while the Kennett team of Brian Caputo, Kyle O'Keefe, David Mays and Chant was 12th in 45.52 seconds. The Prospect 4X400-meter team of Logan LaRoche, David Troy, Shane McCartney and Symonds was 13th in 3:36.68. In the 4X800, the Kennett team of Mays, Tyrus Parker, Nick Brown and Andrew Casella was ninth in 8:23.49 and the Prospect team of McCartney, Mike Fife, Alex Bennett and Dylan Tuttle was 16th in 8:47.37.
Kennett's Gigi Miller finished in ninth overall in the 400 meters in a time of 1:01.01.
Newfound's Jasmine Patten threw her way to 15th overall in the discus, firing a best of 88 feet, 11 inches.
Kennett's Julianna Livingston threw her way to ninth in the javelin with a throw of 103 feet, four inches.
The Kennett 4X100-meter team of Tessa Greenhalgh, Maggie LaRoche, Ryan and Miller was seventh overall in 51.1 seconds, while the 4X800-meter team of Lisa Carper, Zoe McKinney, Izzy Forde and LaRoche was 112th in 10:25.26.
Kennett's Nick Roberts (high jump) and Prospect's Sarah Mayberry (pole vault) both qualified and competed on Saturday, but they did not make opening heights in their respective events.
The New England Championships will take place at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass. on Saturday, June 14, starting at 10 a.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org