Ken Stejbach photo Hampton Recreation’s Zach Andronaco, left, raced to a first-place finish in the 11-12 year old boys 100-meter dash at Friday’s Hershey Track and Field state meet at Manchester Memorial High School.
By Ken Stejbach firstname.lastname@example.org
MANCHESTER — Tommy Harter had momentum and urge on his side.
Judging from his post-race encouragement to his fellow athletes, the 14-year-old from Seabrook and member of the Hampton Recreation team also had a great deal of respect for and from his fellow competitors at Friday's New Hampshire Hershey Youth Track and Field Meet.
Harter won the 13-14 year old boys 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 15.72 seconds, and teamed with Sean Cotter, Ryan Hanley and Chris Labrie to win the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 53.66 seconds.
Justin Trott and Zach Andronaco also claimed first-place finishes and earned the right to wait and see whether their times will qualify them for the North American Final, which is slated for Aug. 7 in Hershey, Pa.
Trott won the 13-14 boys 1,600 in 5:16.86, and Andronaco, the 11-12 boys 100 in 14.44.
The winning times and distances from Friday's meet will be compared with the best from the rest of Region 6, which includes not only New England, but much of Canada. Only the best times and distances qualify.
I had a lot of momentum from my friends and family, said Harter. I really had an urge to win.
Harter was aiming for a 2:12 to 2:14 time in the 800, but a 2:15 wasn't too shabby either. He had to battle Salem Recreation's Jordan Bowman down the final stretch for the win. Bowman was clocked in 2:16.18.
I'm hoping it's close enough, said Harter, referring to his time and a possible trip to Hershey, Pa. Harter will be a freshman at Winnacunnet this fall.
Andronaco, a 12-year-old from Hampton, was also hopeful. I think I had a good start and kept on going as fast as I could, he said.
Winning was a big step for Andronaco, who finished fifth at last year's state meet.
I think school track helped me a lot, said Andronaco, who will be heading into seventh grade at Hampton Academy.
Devinne Cullinane will be headed to Deerfield (Mass.) Academy this fall, where she plans to play hockey and run track. Friday evening, she was the only athlete from Hampton Recreation to have qualified for the North American Final in at least in the past 18 years; she found herself up against a formidable competitor by the name of Courtney Smith from Exeter Parks and Recreation.
Cullinane finished second to Smith (2:25.71) in the 800-meter run this time around with a time of 2:36.56.
Cotter also took a second-place finish in the 13-14 boys 1,600 with a time of 5:26.09.
Other members of the Hampton team who recorded top-six finishes included Jakeb Smith in the 11-12 boys 400 (fifth, 1:12.26); Xavier Coggleshall in the 11-12 boys 800 (2:57.27); and Nicole Arsenault in the 13-14 girls 200 (third, 30.46) and 100 (fourth, 14.51).
Hampton's 11-12 boys 4x100 — Charlie Gasperoni, Brandon Hanley, Coggleshall and Andronaco — finished third in 1:03.69.