Boys’ Track Athlete of the Season: Hillsboro-Deering’s Ben Ketterer

  • Hillsboro-Deering’s Ben Ketterer competes in the 100 meters in a regular season meet. Courtesy

  • Hillsboro-Deering’s Ben Ketterer stands with his 100-meter dash championship banner in the HDHS gym for winning the Division III title in the event. Courtesy

  • Courtesy Courtesy

  • Courtesy Courtesy

  • Hillsboro-Deering’s Ben Ketterer competes in the long jump during the Division III track championships at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton in 2018. Ketterer built on a strong sophomore year with a record-setting junior campaign and he’s been named “Monitor” Boys’ Track Athlete of the Season. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 6/27/2019 10:44:02 PM

Entering the season Ben Ketterer’s goal was to break a school record and bring home a runner-up banner. He accomplished that goal, and then some.

Ketterer, a junior on the Hillsboro-Deering boys’ track team, ended up bringing home three banners to the HDHS gymnasium, winning the 100-meter dash (12.01 seconds) and long jump (20-7½), finishing second in the triple jump (school-record 41-3¾) and running on the school-record 4x100 relay (46.45 seconds), leading the Hillcats to their best season in program history and earning ½Monitor ½Boys’ Track Athlete of the Season honors.

Ketterer’s individual events were responsible for 28 of H-D’s 38 points, leading the Hillcats to fifth place in Division III, and he had them in contention for a shot at the top three.

The last time H-D won any track titles was when Viktor Montanez swept the boys’ 100 and 200 and Katie White won the girls’ javelin title back in 2013. Ketterer’s titles were the first that H-D has won in any sport since Emma Moore brought home the D-III Alpine skiing slalom title in 2015.

“Ben is an excellent athlete,” H-D head coach Susan Else said. “This year we observed him putting more effort into conditioning and training for specific events. He is a very coachable athlete, listens, then performs. He is also gifted with athleticism.”

Ketterer, who also demonstrates his athleticism on the soccer pitch and basketball court for H-D, needed careful conditioning and preparation to get him through a grueling Division III championship meet.

After clocking 11.98 seconds for the second-fastest time in the 100 prelims, Ketterer narrowly overcame Kearsarge’s JJ Davis for the 100 title in the finals after a short break. With just the 1,600 in between, Ketterer hopped back on the track to anchor the fourth-place 4x100 relay with senior Jordan Berrocales (who also qualified for the 100 finals and competed in the 200), senior Thomas Grammitt and junior Cameron Jones.

Following his four races on the track, Ketterer had eight attempts at both the long jump (he set the school record in this event and made it to New Englands last season) and triple jump pits.

“It was definitely busy,” Ketterer said. “I was really loose. I was well-rested. I carbo-loaded the day before. We had great competition and I don’t think it could’ve been better. My one goal was to at least break another (school) record and bring home another runner-up banner at least.”

But Ketterer’s dedication to the team goes far beyond his individual performances.

“This was the biggest boys’ team and overall (boys’ and girls’ combined) team ever,” Else said. “We had 38 boys on the team and 19 girls. Ben did recruit boys to join the team. I am not sure what he told them but it worked. I believe that he knew there were many good athletes who were not participating in a spring sport and wanted the guys to be a stronger team. It worked. ... It was definitely the best team finish ever at a D-III state meet.”

Those recruits made an immediate impact to the team, especially Ketterer’s friend and classmate Charles Veitch, who qualified for the D-III meet in four events, scoring in two of them (fourth in the long jump and fifth in the shot put) and narrowly missing out on scoring in the discus (seventh).

“I told (Charles), ‘You’d break the shot put record if you joined our team,’ which he did. He smashed it,” Ketterer said. “None of my friends played a spring sport. I told them to jump on the track team to keep them in shape for their fall sport. It’s a fun environment. Everyone is friendly, helps you out, and you can have fun with it.”

To make the accomplishments of Ketterer and the Hillcats even more impressive was that they do not have a track to practice on, which makes honing the technical skills for the sport – such as taking steps for the jumping events or timing relay handoffs with exchange zones – especially difficult.

“We literally just run around our school and do what we can with the soccer fields and the hallways,” Ketterer said. “We have a long jump pit, but it’s on pavement. We did a little bit at the school with chalk on the pavement (to make exchange zones for handoffs), but it’s not the same.”

Aside from two practices at ConVal High School facilities, the only time H-D actually got to use track and field facilities was during competitions, but thanks to Ketterer’s leadership and ability to improvise, things worked out just fine for the Hillcats.

“He was a leader by example predominantly,” Else said. “He is a pretty quiet and humble team member. ... He did lead small groups in conditioning and in specific training – blocks and sprint intervals, etc.”

With a record season under his belt, Ketterer is eager “to keep improving.”

“I’d like to bring home some more banners from the division meet and maybe one from (Meet of Champions),” Ketterer said.

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