Coe-Brown boys win first track championship in program history

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  • Bow pole vaulter Tyler Bennett came in second at the D2 Track and Field Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown pole vaulter Parker Eaton on his last vault at 11 feet, 6 inches€ at the D2 Track and Field Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley runner Sophia Reynolds (bottom right) competes in the 1600 race at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2109. Emma York from MV runs third from left. GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • Pembroke runner Madison Bennett in the 100-meter dash at D2 Track and Field Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown’s Jonathan Thorn releases his first shot put throw at the D2 Track Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown’s Porter Heigis anchors the 4x800 relay at the D2 Track and Field Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley 110-meter hurdler Cliff Lessard (center) competes at the D2 Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Bow hurdler Isabelle Slocum (left) competes at the D2 Track Championships at UNH on Saturday, May 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/25/2019 6:15:56 PM

DURHAM – After the Coe-Brown boys’ track team lost the team title in 2017 by three points to Trinity, and then finished third last season and graduated star athletes Orion Clachar and Evan Tanguay, the Bears figured a Division II crown was a few years away.

It turns out they didn’t have to wait that long.

Coe-Brown won three events – senior Jonathan Thorn in the discus (133-6), sophomore Porter Heigis in the 800 (1:59.53), and the 4x800 relay team (8:13) – but more importantly used their balance and depth to claim the first D-II boys’ outdoor track title in school history.

“This was not expected at the beginning of the year,” Coe-Brown coach Tim Cox said. “But there was something about this team at the beginning of the year, when we started looking at the landscape of Division II, there was no dominant team. When there’s no dominant team you always have a shot, especially when you have the group of kids that we do. They dedicated themselves this season. … They worked their tails off and they stuck together.”

The Bears scored in nine of the 18 events and finished with 65 points to beat out Hollis Brookline, which was a surprise runner-up with 58 points.

Merrimack Valley senior David Reynolds won both the 1,600 (4:29.75) and the 3,200 (9:45.54) to lead the Pride to third with 47 points.

Bow (20 points) finished 13th, John Stark (16) wound up 16th and Pembroke (five) was 21st.

On the girls’ side, Portsmouth won its third straight title with 91.5 points. Oyster River (87) and Milford (69.5) rounded out the top three. Coe-Brown tied ConVal for eighth with 24 points.

Merrimack Valley placed 12th with 21 points, Pembroke tied for 18th with six points, and Bow and John Stark shared 20th with four points each

Just like their coaches, the Coe-Brown boys preached team.

“The biggest reason why we won is because we don’t have a lot of superstars on the team,” said Thorn, who also finished third in the shot put. “We don’t have a lot of studs, but what we have is a really close team who puts in a lot of work on and off the track and it paid off. We don’t have any superstars, but we have a well-balanced team.”

They also have a tough guy in Thorn, who suffered an injury on Friday but still managed to win the discus and take third in the shot.

“I tore my groin in practice yesterday,” Thorn said. “Normally I rotate during the shot put, so I had to change my form and ended up gliding due to the injury … I didn’t score as high as I wanted in the shot put, but my team made up for what I wasn’t able to do.”

Just like Thorn, who made sure to credit Cox’s leadership, Coe-Brown’s strong group of distance runners stretched themselves for the sake of team, participating in multiple events.

Heigis anchored the 4x800 relay team to a victory in the first event of the day with teammates Colby Hoffman, Gavyn Lewis and Patrick Hill. Heigis had enough time to recover to win the 800 (and set season- and personal-record times with his 1:59.53 finish), and capped the meet by anchoring the sixth-place 4x400 with Hoffman, Shane Cameron and Cayden Donaghue.

“We were trying to load (the distance events) up because we don’t have a lot of hurdling or (sprints),” Heigis said. “We were trying to get as many points wherever we could get them. That was our plan, to dig deep and hope it would work out all right.”

The plan paid off as Dawson Dubois (third 1,600), Luke Tkaczyk (fourth 3,200 fifth 1,600) and the 4x400 and 4x800 relays scored points in the distance and mid-distance events.

The Bears were also strong in the field events, with Donaghue, an upperclassman newcomer to the team, finishing fourth in the triple jump and Parker Eaton, Sam Patteson and Cody Tanguay going 3-4-5 in the pole vault. The Coe-Brown pole vaulters are coached by Tom Tanguay, one of many assistants working with the Bears’ track program.

“We are very blessed to have an awesome coaching staff,” Cox said. “A handful of us are paid. A handful of us are not paid, but they volunteer their time. It’s all about the love of the sport and the love of the kids. … We felt like this was as complete of a track team as we could put together this year, given the fact that we had a lot of new faces. The stars all kind of aligned.”

In addition to a pair of Reynolds victories, MV was led by a win from the 4x400 team of Dylan Lessard, Seth Baylus, Christian Bortnick and Christian Oglesby, winning in 3:33.57.

Knowing that he was running in both races, Reynolds tried to slow the pace down in the 1,600, but a blistering final lap resulted in a greater effort than he intended. Running against a fresh competitor in Oyster River’s Andy O’Brien, Reynolds still managed to hold him off, winning by 1.4 seconds.

“I was really excited with how I did in the 1,600. I didn’t even do the 1,600 last year,” Reynolds said. “I’ve never been as good at it (as the 3,200), so I was really excited to win it.”

Other individual scorers for the MV boys were Lessard (second 300 hurdles, fifth 110 hurdles), Baylus (fifth 100), Oglesby (fifth 400), Matt Reynolds (fifth 3,200) and Camden Donovan (sixth high jump).

Bow’s scoring came from Tyler Bennett (second pole vault), Jonathan Routhier (fourth javelin), the third-place 4x800 (Kirpal Demian, Sam Berube, Colin Lessard and Ben Neff) and the fifth-place 4x100 (Aiden Westenberg, Joseph Rychwalski, Bennett and Routhier).

Joseph Wegman (second high jump), Aram Fowler (fifth javelin) and the third-place 4x400 of Ian Combs, Collin Astholz, Erik Hilyard and Brandon Langdon scored for John Stark, while Christian Army (fourth 110 hurdles) and Harry Army (sixth triple jump) scored for Pembroke.

The Coe-Brown girls had solid relays with Abigail O’Connor, Samantha Lemay, Olivia Noni (sixth 300 hurdles) and Sophie Laird (fourth 800) forming both the second-place 4x800 and the sixth-place 4x400.

Addison Cox (fourth 3,200) and Natalie Roy (fourth discus, fifth shot put) rounded out the Bears’ scoring.

Sophia Reynolds (second 3,200, third 1,600), Emma York (fifth 1,600) and Theresa Irving (tied fourth high jump, fifth triple jump) scored for MV, Kassidy Larson (fourth javelin and the fifth-place 4x100 (Madison Bennett, Amanda Montminy, Cassidy Rondeau and Kaitlin White) scored for Pembroke, Kristina Pizzi (fourth 400) scored for Bow and Briann Langdon (fourth 200) scored for John Stark.

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