Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division I championship
At Canterbury Woods, 9 a.m.
Teams: Bedford (24-6), Bishop Guertin (24-6), Concord (24-6), Manchester Central (23-7), Keene (20-10), Londonderry (20-10), Winnacunnet (20-10), Pinkerton (19-11), Merrimack (18-12), Nashua North (18-12)
Area competitors: Concord – Adam Godbout, Matt Latourette, Ben Bengtson, Tim Levins, Josh Pifer, Samantha Reed, Sam Tardiff, Lucas Karathanasis
Notes: Concord has finished fourth in this event each of the last three years, but where the Crimson Tide ends up this year is anyone’s guess. While Concord lost both of its matches against defending-champion Bedford, it split results with four of the other top six teams – Guertin, Central, Keene and Londonderry. “It’s looking like states will be an open ball game,” Tide Coach Ed Deshaies said after his team’s final match of the season. Godbout, Bengtson and Pifer were Concord’s top scorers in last year’s D-I championships and those three, all seniors, have been leading the team this year along with LaTourette, Levins and Reed.
Division II championship
At Beaver Meadow, 9 a.m.
Teams: Windham (20-0), Portsmouth (19-1), St. Thomas (18-1), Hanover (17-3), Lebanon (15-5), Bishop Brady (14-6), Goffstown (13-6), Kingswood (13-7), Sanborn (12-8), Hollis-Brookline (11-11), Plymouth (9-10), Souhegan (10-12)
Area competitors: Bishop Brady – Alex Von Svoboda, Danny Bryck, Jackson Bouley, Jack Bryck, Brendan Bryck, Connor Gagnon, Alex Thompson, Nick Vermette; MV – Jesse Demers, Nicco Vizziello; Coe-Brown – Ryan Oliver, Joel Bolanger; Pembroke – Bobby Andrews, Casey Gut; John Stark – Ben Guilmette, Zachary Hellings
Notes: Playing on its home course should be worth a couple of strokes for Bishop Brady, which finished fifth in this event last year. The Green Giants will also have the benefit of championship experience since four of the top five golfers from that 2012 team will be on the course today – Vermette, Thompson, Brendan Bryck and Von Svoboda, who finished sixth overall in the D-II individual tournament. This field is loaded at the top, but Brady has held its own against the big guns, including a one-stroke loss to defending champion Hanover, a tiebreaker loss to St. Thomas and a two-stroke loss to Portsmouth.
Division III championship
At Ridgewood, 9 a.m.
Teams: Bow (22-0), Pelham (20-4), Gilford (19-5), Campbell (17-5), Mascenic (16-6), Kearsarge (15-9), Laconia (13-9)
Area competitors: Bow – Doug Champagne, Jake Rand, Trevor Garrett, Colin Plumb, Sam Morrow, Josh Lascasse, Jeremy Duhamel; Kearsarge – Zach Swinerton, Lahtesha Nelson, Laura Rodgers, Connor Shannon, Bailey Kane, Andy Arnold, Lucas Muzzey; Belmont – Brandon Pearl, Caleb Drouin; Winnisquam – Riley Campbell, Jordan Dahl
Notes: The Falcons are the overwhelming favorite to claim a second straight title, as they cruised through the regular season undefeated and beat each opponent by at least eight strokes. Adding to the advantage is Bow’s depth; Coach Mike Seraikas has consistently stressed that the one-day format of the championship throws records and rank out the window, but with Rand, Duhamel, Champagne and Lacasse having earned medalist honors in matches this year, the Falcons have insurance against a bad day for a top player. Bow’s opponents do have some reason for optimism, however. Pelham gave the Falcons their toughest test of the season on Sept. 19, and Mascenic, with four titles in six years, thrives on this stage.
Division IV championship
At Ridgewood, 9 a.m.
Teams: Derryfield (20-0), Hopkinton (18-3), Newport (16-4), White Mountains (17-5), Moultonborough (15-8), Inter-Lakes (12-9), Profile (12-9)
Area competitors: Hopkinton – Sam Winslow, Peter Benson, Jamison Crouch, Evan O’Keeffe, Max Legier, Simeon Marklin; Franklin – Corey Nelson, Jacob Geddis
Notes: The Hawks have a final chance to outplay the Cougars, who have been responsible for the only three defeats Hopkinton has suffered. The odds of a major upset have improved with each head-to-head meeting, however, as the Hawks have closed Derryfield’s margin of victory each time they’ve faced the Cougars. Following through on chance No. 4 would likely require career days from the Hopkinton golfers, who have been led all year by Benson and have also seen Winslow, Legier and O’Keeffe post low rounds. While the Hawks hope for a Derryfield takedown, they had better keep an eye on Newport as well, as the Tigers have dropped two matches to Hopkinton by a sum of three strokes.