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High schools: Record-breaking performances lift Coe-Brown girls to Division II track title

  • Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 800 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Parker won the race and set a meet record.     <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 800 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Parker won the race and set a meet record.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Merrimack Valley's Nancy Taban celebrates after winning the 100 meter hurdle race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Taban set a meet record.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Merrimack Valley's Nancy Taban celebrates after winning the 100 meter hurdle race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Taban set a meet record.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Parker won the race and set a meet record.       <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Parker won the race and set a meet record.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Jeremy Brassard runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Jeremy Brassard runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Merrimack Valley's Brendan Polichronopoulos runs the 400 meter dash during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Merrimack Valley's Brendan Polichronopoulos runs the 400 meter dash during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Alley Savioli throws the javelin during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Alley Savioli throws the javelin during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.        <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 800 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Parker won the race and set a meet record.     <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Merrimack Valley's Nancy Taban celebrates after winning the 100 meter hurdle race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Taban set a meet record.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Hannah Parker runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  Parker won the race and set a meet record.       <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Jeremy Brassard runs the 1600 meter race during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Merrimack Valley's Brendan Polichronopoulos runs the 400 meter dash during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Alley Savioli throws the javelin during the Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.    <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Division II Track and Field Championships at Pelham High School on Saturday, May 31, 2014.        <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

PELHAM – The expectations were about as high as they could be for Hannah Parker and Alley Savioli. And they still found a way to exceed them.

The Coe-Brown track and field standouts were in top form yesterday, as Parker set a pair of Division II records and Savioli had a dominant showing in the shot put to guide the girls to 137.5 points and their third straight championship. The Bears topped Milford (79.33) and Merrimack Valley (73), which used record-setting performances from Nancy Taban and the 4x400 relay team to stay in the hunt for the runner-up spot, while Lebanon (46.33), Pelham (46) and Oyster River (37) rounded out the top six.

The Coe-Brown boys, led by double-winner Jeremy Brassard and surprise long jump winner Isaac Nowland, scored 40 points to pull off fourth behind Lebanon (88), Portsmouth (84) and Souhegan (82). Merrimack Valley tied for eighth with 21 points, while John Stark was 18th with 4.

“Every (championship) has its own personality, because every team’s a little bit different,” co-Coach Tim Cox said. “What we love most as coaches is the balance of the team. We have jumpers, throwers, runners, distance runners, sprinters, and they all come together on this day.”

That depth and balance was shown in the numbers, as the Coe-Brown girls had four athletes win five events and six have top-three finishes. Leading the way were Parker and Savioli, who lived up to their top seedings by winning their events for the third year in a row.

Parker did so in two events, winning the 800 (2:11.37) and 1,600 (4:55.05) while breaking five-year-old division records in both.

“It was definitely a great feeling to cross the line and have them say that. I wasn’t expecting that to happen to me today,” said Parker, who also competed on the first-place 4x800 team (along with Elisabeth Danis, Mary Fowler and Sarah Curtin) and the 4x400 relay team. “I thought if I pushed myself hard enough, I could maybe do something like that. But actually doing it was an amazing feeling.”

Savioli also came in a favorite to win her third straight title, and came through in emphatic fashion. Her throw in the shot put went 38 feet, 5 inches, beating the throw of Milford’s Camryn Johnson by 5-1½ – a bigger gap than the one between Johnson and the 10th-place finisher.

The win was the highlight of a 26-point day for Savioli – she also finished second in the discus (100-8) and javelin (111-0), helping the Bears run away with the crown.

“I try to go into it thinking it’s just another meet,” she said. “Each time I win, it feels like a first time I won. It’s exciting, because there’s always new competition.”

Savioli and Parker weren’t alone in their heroics. The Bears also got record-breaking performances from Ariel Clachar, who repeated as long jump champion with a mark of 17-8¼ , and Danis, who set the mark in the 3,200.

“In the long jump, I have to get really emotional, I have to get really mad,” said Clachar, who also finished third in the 100 and fourth in the 200. “For college I want to go to a Division I school, so I had a lot riding on how I performed today. … It was pretty much me against myself.”

Danis’s time of 10:46.27 broke the mark of 10:48.34 set in 2008.

“The plan was to go for the meet record today,” she said. “Coming out of the race I was just so ecstatic to have broken (it). It’s just a testament to how hard our team works.”

While the boys’ race came down to the wire, the Coe-Brown girls spent the second half of the meet knowing they had pulled off what they expected coming in.

“The girls’ team across the board has continued to develop, from their freshman year right on through to this year,” co-Coach David Zink-Mailloux said. “They seem to peak at just the right times. They always seem to rise to the occasion, no matter what the conditions are. They come out and when they need to, they put on a show for everybody.”

The Merrimack Valley girls’ team turned heads, as well. Nancy Taban set a division meet record with a time of 14.78 in the 100 hurdles despite recently battling a hurt hamstring, and she also finished second in the 300 hurdles before helping the girls’ 4x400 team, along with Heidi Gooch, Meredith Ramsey and Kristie Schoffield, set a record at 4:03.05.

“I just feel good about it. Physically, I felt really healthy today,” she said. “I was ‘game on’ today.”

Mary Mullen was the other champion for the Pride girls. The top seed in the discus, she won the event for the second straight season with a throw of 105-11.

“I don’t like to look at the seedings. My sophomore year I was seeded first in javelin and I completely had an off day,” said Mullen, who was also fourth in the shot put. “I knew what I had to do, what I was good at, what I had to improve at. … It just worked.”

The boys’ meet saw Coe-Brown get big points from expected and unexpected sources. The Bears knew they could lean heavily on Brassard, who capped his career with his third straight win in the 1,600 (4:19.23) and won his second straight 3,200 title (9:43.83) while also running on Coe-Brown’s fourth-place 4x400 and 4x800 teams.

“These guys are very talented, everyone around here. They made me earn it,” he said. “We’ve been training for this for a long time. That’s what everyone wants to do, they want to win. I wanted to win and I gave it everything that I had.”

Yesterday, that was even more than in the past – the four-race load was heavier than Brassard had run in previous state meets, but the Coe-Brown coaches weren’t holding the senior back in his final showing.

“He’s been asking for that for two years now,” Zink-Mailloux said. “That was definitely on our minds, letting him do more than he would normally do.”

The other win for the Bears came in the long jump, where Nowland overcame an eighth seed and ailing knee to win the event with a leap of 21-11, good enough to set a school record.

“My knee felt pretty good,” he said. “I didn’t know how I was going to do. … It felt good to help the team finish fourth. I think my points really helped out.”

That fourth-place finish was a higher result than Cox said he expected .

“This boys’ team has been challenged the last couple of years,” he said. “We’ve had some good stars, but not a team. This year, from the very get-go, the ‘team’ was the mantra, and they were able to fulfill that today.”

The other local boys’ win went to MV’s Brendan Polichronopoulos, who was seeded first in the 400 and took the victory at 50.89.

“I’ve been working for it for a few years now. Definitely something I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “I decided if I let them take the first 200 (meters) … I could hopefully let my endurance show a little bit and get them in the last 200.”

In the girls’ meet, Coe-Brown also got points from Megan Rouillard (third shot put, fifth discus, sixth javelin), Christen Gallant (third javelin, sixth pole vault), Jelasa Nelson (fourth 100, sixth triple jump), Fowler (fourth 800), Brooke Laskowsky (fourth 1,600), Alli Pratt (fourth 3,200) and Meg Scannell (sixth 1,600). Merrimack Valley got points from Schoffield (third 1,600, third 3,200), Ramsey (third 200, fifth 100), Madison Irving (fifth javelin) and Morgan Walton (sixth 800).

Coe-Brown’s boys received points from Nowland (sixth high jump) and Lucas Fisher (sixth 3,200). MV got points from Ivan Niyomugabo (second triple jump), while John Stark’s Dan Caterino was fourth in the high jump.

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

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