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Townsend, relay teams earn Meet of Champions bids



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PETER HAINE hands the baton off to Zach Switaj during the 4X800-meter relay at Saturday’s Class I Meet in Northwood. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 31, 2010
NORTHWOOD — Kennett track coach Bernie Livingston always stresses the importance of finishing the season strong.

A number of his athletes took that to heart so much that it turns out that the Class I Meet won't actually be the end of the season.

Senior Liza Townsend and the boys' 4X800-meter relay team of Peter Haine, Zach Switaj, Nick Jenis and Dalton L'Heureux earned automatic bids to this Saturday's Meet of Champions, while the 4X400-meter relay team of L'Heureux, Jordan Cruz, Graham Rioux and Switaj is likely in to the next round and the 4X100-meter team of Ryan Goodson, Cruz, Chris Oktavec and Mike Albert is on the bubble of making it on to the next round.

"Sometimes people are just so happy to get to the state meet that they don't do as well," Livingston said. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen to us.

"It's easy to get distracted in an event like that," he continued. "You better be on your game, it puts a little more pressure on you."

Townsend actually qualified for the Meet of Champions in two events.

She finished third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.16 seconds. She was second in her preliminary heat in 16.31 seconds, while teammate Madison Smith was fourth in her head in 17.34 seconds and missed the cut for the finals.

Townsend took second in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, one and three-quarters inches.

The remainder of the girls just missed out on qualifying for a chance to move on.

Hannah Wright ran to a solid seventh place finish in the 800 meters with a time of 2:26.48. She was third in her heat.

The 4X100-meter relay team of Smith, Townsend, Shantell Allard and Vicky Weigold raced to ninth overall in a time of 52.73.

The 4X400-meter team of Quin Schreiber, Emmaline Ashe, Sianna Streeter and Wright was eighth overall in 4:20.73, while the 4X800-meter team of Ashe, Streeter, Danielle Mason and Sarah Hernandez took 11th overall in a time of 10:50.04.

Emily Leich tied for eighth in the pole vault, clearing seven feet, six inches. Smith leaped to 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 31 feet, four and three-quarters inches.

Christine Fournier was 14th in the javelin with a toss of 81 feet, 11 inches, while Alaina Hayford was 14th in the discus with a throw of 84 feet, five inches.

Weigold raced to a fourth place finish in her heat of the 100 meters in a time of 13.42, but missed qualifying for the finals. She was also fourth in her heat of the 200 meters in a time of 27.85.

The boys' 4X800-meter team started the meet out strong, taking fourth overall in a time of 8:26.88. The 4X400-meter team ran to fifth overall, just two one-hundredths of a second out of an automatic bid to the Meet of Champions (the top times outside the automatic qualifiers across all three classes also get invited). The boys finished in 3:33.57. The 4X100-meter team also took fifth overall with a time of 45.62 seconds.

"Our relay teams continue to show me no respect," Livingston joked. "They make it so close that I almost have a heart attack every time."

Switaj raced to sixth place in the 800 meters with a time of 2:03.75, while L'Heureux was 10th in the same race in a time of 2:06.

Dustin Stewart finished 10th in the preliminaries for the 110-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 17.45 seconds. He was also 10th in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.27 seconds.

Albert barely missed qualifying for the 100-meter finals, finishing as the seventh competitor (six make the finals) in preliminaries with a time of 11.85 seconds. He was second overall in his heat.

"All in all, I thought it was a good day," Livingston noted. "Not everybody had their best day, but everyone did well."

The Eagles who do qualify (the teams on the bubble will get notified on Wednesday) will compete at the Meet of Champions on Saturday, June 5, at 2:30 p.m. at Merrimack High School.

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