Track: Hopkinton girls win D-III title; Brady’s Gentchos wins 3 titles, breaks 2 records

Hopkinton’s Reese Bove (3) runs a leg of the 4x800-meter relay at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday. The Hawks won the 4x800 and the overall team title.

Hopkinton’s Reese Bove (3) runs a leg of the 4x800-meter relay at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday. The Hawks won the 4x800 and the overall team title. JOSH SPAULDING / Salmon Press

The Hopkinton girl’ track and field team poses with hardware after winning the Division III team title at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday.

The Hopkinton girl’ track and field team poses with hardware after winning the Division III team title at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Bishop Brady’s Josh Gentchos crosses the finish line to win the 100-meter finals at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday. Gentchos clocked a time of 10.65 seconds, breaking the state record. Gentchos also anchored the D-III record-breaking 4x100-meter relay.

Bishop Brady’s Josh Gentchos crosses the finish line to win the 100-meter finals at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday. Gentchos clocked a time of 10.65 seconds, breaking the state record. Gentchos also anchored the D-III record-breaking 4x100-meter relay. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Bishop Brady’s Joshua-Stephen Bissah (right) hands off to teammate Seamus McIntyre in the 4x100-meter relay at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship on Thursday at Winnisquam Regional High School. Bishop Brady won the relay in 43.25 seconds, setting a new division record.

Bishop Brady’s Joshua-Stephen Bissah (right) hands off to teammate Seamus McIntyre in the 4x100-meter relay at the NHIAA Division III track and field championship on Thursday at Winnisquam Regional High School. Bishop Brady won the relay in 43.25 seconds, setting a new division record. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Shaylee Murdough runs the anchor leg of the 4 x 800 relay for Hopkinton on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Shaylee Murdough runs the anchor leg of the 4 x 800 relay for Hopkinton on Thursday, May 23, 2024. JAY SMITH—NHXCTF

Hopkinton's Maddy Lane runs the 1600 meter during the Division III track and field championship on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Hopkinton's Maddy Lane runs the 1600 meter during the Division III track and field championship on Thursday, May 23, 2024. JAY SMITH—NHXCTF

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 05-24-2024 1:38 AM

Modified: 05-24-2024 8:55 AM


TILTON – Hot and humid conditions didn’t bode well for a record-breaking day, but that wasn’t even close to being the case. Facing one of the most competitive groups of Division III athletes and teams in NHIAA track and field history, the Hopkinton girls’ squad rose to the challenge.

Freshman Maddy Lane won the 1,600 (5 minutes, 16.73 seconds) and 3,200 meters (11:39), and also ran on the champion 4x800-meter relay with junior Reese Bove, sophomore Sofia Upton and junior Shaylee Murdough; Murdough finished second in the 800; and senior Grace Hall was the runner-up in the triple jump, lifting the Hawks to the team championship at Winnisquam Regional High School on Thursday evening.

Hopkinton’s 55 points topped a competitive top six that included Pelham (44), Newport (43), Newfound (37), Kearsarge (36) and Winnisquam (35).

Belmont and Sanborn tied for seventh with 33 points each.

Out of the 36 events contested between the boys’ and girls’ meets (18 events per gender), 26 of them had winning performances that were better in 2024 than in 2023, and seven division records were broken.

Bishop Brady senior Josh Gentchos was responsible for two of those seven records, winning the 100 meters in 10.65 seconds and anchoring Brady’s 4x100 relay (43.25 seconds) that included seniors Joshua-Stephen Bissah and Alan Yap, and junior Seamus McIntyre. Gentchos was also a state champion in the 200 (22.23 seconds).

Concord Christian senior Rolen Sanderson in the 400 (50.23 seconds) and the Hopkinton 4x800 of seniors Ben Daniels, Vincent Louca and Matt Clarner, and junior Roman Finlayson (8:21) were the other area boys’ champions.

Other area girls’ state champions were Belmont junior Adeline Takantjas in the triple jump (34 feet, 1.25 inches), Kearsarge sophomore Maelle Jacques (tied at 5-0 in the high jump) and Winnisquam senior Victoria Kelly in the javelin (123-6).

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In such a competitive field of athletes, it made doubling and tripling up in events even more difficult than you’d expect.

“We had a strategy going on where we were putting a lot on certain individuals,” Hopkinton head coach Rob Rothe said. “It was a real group effort.”

Hopkinton’s girls’ 4x800 was ranked third, but out-performed to win the first race of the day in 10:11. The Hawks needed to put forth a great effort to top runner-up Sanborn, beating the Indians by 8 seconds, and shortly after Lane defeated Sanborn’s Lily Tedford by just 2.11 seconds to win the 1,600.

Lane had a more comfortable victory in the 3,200, winning by about 20 seconds.

“We weren’t really sure if we were going to be able to hold back at all (in the 4x800),” Rothe said. “The 1,600 was very competitive. (Lane) did a phenomenal job. She was super strong overall.”

Murdough ran the 4x800 before a grueling 800 race where she finished just .30 seconds behind champion Alanna Hagen of Newmarket to finish second. She still had enough left in the tank to anchor Hopkinton’s third-place 4x400 relay in the final race of the day with Bove, Upton and sophomore Aisling Madden.

“It was a real group effort,” Rothe said. “We had points in places we didn’t really expect. Everything really counted.”

With 61 athletes on the Hawk track roster, the most in program history to Rothe’s knowledge, Hopkinton was able to contest more events and expand more into more disciplines.

Hall, the only senior on the girls’ roster, was half an inch shy of a four-peat in the triple jump (even though her jump of 34-0.75 was better than her winning mark of 33-6.75 last season) and finished fifth in the long jump.

Points from Hall were expected, but a sixth-place finish from sophomore Zoe Bishop in the javelin was a bit of a surprise.

Hall was on the Hopkinton championship team in 2021, but that team was a fraction of the size of this year’s team that represents around 19% of the Hopkinton High School student body.

“I’m so proud of them, everybody pulled their weight,” Hall said. “It was so much fun. We’ve really expanded into field events and tried new things. It’s fun to be on a big team … having (so many teammates) be supportive was really great. .. I’m so excited to see what they do next year.”

“It’s a really strong group (of teammates) that’s helped carry (the state competitors) along,” Rothe added. “It’s kind of surreal, we knew we had a chance, we knew it would be low scoring, but there would be maybe four of five teams that could take it today. We knew we had to be perfect and they gave it everything they had.”

Jacques tying for the high jump title and finishing third in the 1,600 led Kearsarge, who also received scoring from senior Amelia Lefebvre (third shot put, fourth 200, fourth high jump), Ainsley Frenkiewich (fourth pole vault), Molly Ellison (fifth 1,600) and Juliet Faria (sixth 200).

Host Winnisquam was led by Kelly, Lauren MacDonald (second shot put, fourth discus), Skye Tibbetts (second long jump, fifth high jump), Vanessa Power (sixth pole vault) and the fifth-place 4x100 (Kaiden Robb, Denessa Williams, MacDonald and Tibbetts).

Takantjas spoiled Hall’s four-peat and scored in both the 100 hurdles (fourth) and 300 hurdles (fifth) to lead Belmont. Sophomore Ava Lacasse (second 200, fourth 100, sixth triple jump) scored in three individual events and also anchored the fifth-place 4x400 with Jaelyn Nialetz, Rebekah Edgren and Takantjas. The Raiders also had points from their fifth-place 4x800 of Devyn VonKadich, Emilie Defrancesco, Riley Degange, Eleni Papadopoulos.

Boys

Trinity (59 points), Monadnock (57) and Portsmouth Christian (52) traded places in the top three of the boys’ standings all meet long with Pelham (47) and Newport (42) completing the top five.

Bishop Brady finished sixth with 38 points, 30 of them from Brady’s three state titles. While Gentchos’ time in the 100 finals (10.65 seconds) was faster than the D-III record (10.80) and the state record (10.73 set by Merrimack Valley’s Seth Baylus in 2022), he likely won’t get credit for the record due to the high wind rating.

Gentchos will get another crack at the state record at next weekend’s Meet of Champions at the University of New Hampshire. The top three athletes per event in all three NHIAA divisions automatically qualify and the rest of the field is filled out with the best performances from throughout the regular season.

The competition was stiff in D-III sprinting this year (four runners broke 11 seconds in the 100-meter finals on Thursday) and Gentchos will be pushed even further at MOCs.

Yap (third 200, fifth 100) also scored for Brady.

Hopkinton (eighth, 25 points) was led by the winning 4x800, Louca (third high jump), Hunter Eckner-Naylor (third javelin), Finlayson (fifth 800) and the sixth-place 4x400 (Daniels, Joe O’Rourke, Finlayson and Louca).

Winnisquam and Concord Christian tied for 13th with 14 points each.

Winnisquam’s Brendan Goodwin (third 400) anchored both the third-place 4x800 (with David Swain, Philipp Rompf and Henry Osmer) and fifth-place 4x400 (with Francis McComiskey, Taber Haggett and Osmer), while Sanderson (first 400, fourth 800) scored all of Concord Christian’s points.

Elijah Bodanza (third 1,600) and Robert King (fifth 110 hurdles) scored for Hillsboro-Deering (20th, 8), and Brady Filteau (third discus) led Belmont (tied 22nd, 6).