The Pelham High School Track and Field Team traveled to Hanover to compete in the Class I, M, and S State Championship Meet.
Prior to the start of the meet, the NH Track and Field Coaches’ Association presented All-State Awards to athletes who were voted on by Class I, M, and S coaches based on their season’s performances going into the State Meet. Both Cameron Robidoux and Todd Paquin were awarded these awards.
Competing in the meet were the following and their results (all of the results are from automatic timing. The adjustment to hand-timing is .24 seconds. All previous results from other meets have been hand-timed):
Due to injuries and lack of alternates, the Boys’ 4 x 200 team was forced to scratch from their event.
Mike Bogochow had automatically qualified and was seeded 19th overall going into the meet. He ran 9.02 seconds, which placed him 17th after prelims.
Cameron Robidoux was struggling from an ankle injury that occurred last weekend at the University of New Hampshire. Although he worked hard to heal this injury throughout the week, it was still significant enough to impair his performance in today’s meet. He placed second in his 55m preliminary dash heat with a time of 6.9 seconds. This earned him a spot in the 55m Dash finals. In the finals, he ran 6.98 and came in eight place overall. Although Cam was the second seed in the 300, he gave his best effort and earned a fifth place finish is his heat, limping the last 20 meters, with a time of 38.72 (just one second slower than his seeded time). Unfortunately, athletes in the other two heats ran personal bests and ousted Cam out of medal contention. He came in eighth overall for the day.
Kelsi Lynde was seeded third in the 55m Hurdles going into the meet. She came in second in her preliminary heat with a time of 9.36 seconds, tying her personal best when adjusted for hand-timing. This performance earned her a spot in the finals. In the finals, Kelsi ran 9.45 seconds which earned her sixth place overall, medalling. Kelsi was seeded last in the 300m dash as a non-automatic qualifier. She finished 12 out of 12, as expected, with a time of 46.07 seconds.
Emily Spognardi did not automatically qualify for the 1500m and had run fast enough to make the 12th place seed going into today’s meet, nearly three seconds slower than the number 11th seed. Running 5:16.44, Emily placed fifth overall in her event today, medalling. This was an excellent showing, out-running four girls who were seeded as much as seven seconds higher than her.
Melody Long did not automatically qualify for the 1000m and had run fast enough to make the 12th place seed going into the meet. Melody ran a .2 personal best in today’s meet with a time of 3:23.3. She placed 10th overall in today’s meet.
The girls’ 4 x 400m relay team, consisting of Emily Long, Melody Long, Emily Spognardi, and Kelsi Lynde, had only run this event once prior to today’s meet. Going into the meet, the girls were seeded number 11, with a time of 4:38.9. The ladies were placed in the slowest heat of the meet. They ran an incredible race, outperforming the others in their heat by 4 seconds. Their time of 4:31.12, outperformed 6 other teams in two heats and earned them a 6th place medal finish overall. It was a tremendous effort.
Todd Paquin, all season long, was the leading long jumper in the state until last weekend when a Class L athlete just edged past him. Going into today’s meet, Todd was the number one seed in Class I, M, and S, having jumped 20-feet-8.5-inches. Todd’s first event of the day was the 55m Hurdles. Going into the meet, he was seeded 10th overall in that event. During the prelims, he ran a second place heat finish of 8.26 seconds, placing him fourth overall in the finals of this event. Todd’s prelim time, when adjusted for hand-timing, was a full .3 seconds faster than his previous personal best. Next, Todd ran the 55m dash preliminaries. Todd placed second in his heat during this race with a time of 6.78 seconds, .1 seconds faster than his previous personal best. This placed him third overall going into the finals. After these races, the boys’ long jump started. Todd struggled to get his mark, competing for the first time this season in spikes. After he fouled his first two attempts, he jumped a personal best of 21-feet-2-inches, earning him a spot in the long jump finals. He immediately ran over to the hurdles finals, which were being held until the finish of the long jump prelims. During this event, Todd was running in third place when he landed awkwardly off a hurdle and fell on the track. Much to his credit and a testament to his character as an athlete, he got back up, jumped over the last hurdle, and finished the event with a time of 13.43 seconds. Coach Jaquith feels that Todd was running the hurdles faster than he ever has and was unable to control the speed. He got a little ahead of himself, over-rotated, and that caused him to stumble. Although he landed awkwardly, he had no choice but to get right back up and immediately run in the 55m dash finals. If an athlete scratches from any event in the State Meet, they forfeit the rest of their entries and may not compete in the rest of the meet. You would never know that Todd had just fallen less than five minutes earlier when he ran his 55m dash finals. He ran a time of 6.82 seconds and a fourth place, medalling finish. He then immediately went over to long jump finals where he came up lame on his first attempt in the long jump finals. As a coach, it was devastating for Coach Jaquith to watch an athlete suffer from bad luck at a state meet and lose the opportunity to finish out their favorite and most hopeful event. But she is also proud of how strongly he performed in so many events. If he hadn’t over-rotated in the hurdles, she feels strongly that he would have placed third or fourth overall in that event. However, Todd’s one jump was strong enough to land him a third place, medalling, performance overall. And the news is better. Todd also finished the day as the fourth best long jumper in the state and is qualified to compete at New England’s long jump in March. Coach Jaquith estimates that he probably jumped around 21-feet-6-inches on one of the fouled attempts and is hopeful for a strong showing at New Englands. Todd’s main goals for the day were to medal in his running events, break 21-feet in long jump, and qualify in that event for the New England meet. Despite the heartbreak of injury at a big meet, he reached all of those accomplishments.
Coach Jaquith and Coach Soucy are in the process of seeking out and reviewing old track and field records. They suspect that several athletes will have created new school records this season.
With nearly 30 athletes between the girls’ and boys’ programs, it is difficult for Pelham to compete for team scores against schools with significantly larger teams such as Hanover, Lebanon, Oyster River, and Merrimack Valley. Overall, six athletes performed well enough this season to compete as individuals in the State Meet.
Coach Tom Babaian just finished his second straight 11-0 Division V football season with his second straight championship trophy. Babaian also just finished his 13th season as head coach of the Pythons. The Pelham football program got started in 1993 when Joe Travierso was named to lead this group. Babaian served as an assistant coach in those early years and then took over the head coach job in 1996, and he’s seen seven Pelham gridders named to the New Hampshire Shrine team, but only five of them actually played in the game. Two weeks ago, Franklin High head coach Greg Husband was named to lead this year’s New Hampshire All-Stars against the Vermont stars in the 2009. Oh yes, over the years, most of the New Hampshire team is filled with Division I and II players, with several other small schools maybe getting a player in here or there, but this year Husband took two players off of the Pythons roster. It’s the first time that two Python football players have been named to this elite team, and it will no doubt be two weeks to remember for All-State Division V running back and defensive back Bruce Vieira and his buddy defensive tackle Bill Helliwell. Both Vieira and Helliwell are two time All-Staters who helped lead this team to 22 straight victories. Babaian admits he’s honored to have his two Pythons on the team, but he also warned, “Hey Tommy, you saw firsthand what these two kids did. Everybody in the state knew Bruce Vieira and were looking for him every play, but what did Bruce do? He ran over, under, around, and through people for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns when everyone knew he was getting the ball. You just don’t get more than one or two chances to coach a kid like Bruce in a lifetime, and I’m really glad that he’s going to get a shot to showcase himself amongst the big schools.”
Babaian went on to say, “We tried to talk to Bill Helliwell his freshman year, but his grades weren’t that good, and he was working with cars with his family’s business, but he decided to play his sophomore year and he even got in the last three games of the year in the 2006 season. Bill just kept working and getting better and faster and you always knew who number 79 was on Pelham’s football team, because at 6-foot-2-inches and 275 pounds, he was far and away the biggest kid on our team. Towards the end of 2007, other teams were always double-teaming Helliwell, so that freed up our other guys. This year Helliwell was double-teamed again and he was waiting for it. This year we got five new teams in our division that were either Division 2 or Division 4 teams the year before, and we only had four home games in the regular season. We went on the road to Campbell, Bishop Brady, Bow, St. Thomas, and Epping and only had 22-24 kids dressed for those games. What our kids did this year was just tremendous, but I have to say that we’re very proud that Pelham is going to be represented by Bruce Vieira and Bill Helliwell this August 1 at the Maple Sugar Shrine game. You better believe that our coaching staff will be there to cheer the boys on.”
The Pelham Python girls basketball team was under-manned for their 2008-2009 season finale in Dover against St. Thomas last Friday night, as Senior Brianna Szidat and junior Nicole Mastacouris were both ill and didn’t attend the game. This meant that coach Tim Powers had to use junior forward Jacqui Perry to the hilt, and she delivered. The Saints were able to grab a 16-7 first quarter lead that exploded to 29-12 by halftime. Junior forward Katie Halpin did a nice job of helping out Perry under the boards, and Pelham also got some inside support from Rachel Fournier and Casey Szmyt. Pelham started getting the hot hand in the third quarter as Jacqui perry was having success getting open underneath after stepping outside and hitting a three-pointer, but the Saints ran off 10 points in the final two and a half minutes of the third quarter to keep Pelham at bay with 45-23 lead after three quarters. Saint Thomas improved to 9-9 in Class I and will begin their playoffs later this week. Pelham ended their season with a 4-14 season that was filled with a lot of injuries but the Pythons improved a lot along the way. Jacqui Perry led the Pythons with 15 points in this game, Katie Halpin had five points inside, Sarah DeBaldo had four points, and Kayla Bailey and Amanda Blake had a basket apiece. We’ll get together with coach Timmy Powers next week to take a look back on the Pelham girls hoop season and see everyone that they have returning for next season.
With just one week left in the Class I regular season, Pelham boys basketball coach Todd Kress is just hoping that his kids can stay in shape and stay healthy as the Class L playoffs draw near. His kids really caught a “Bulldog by the tail” last Tuesday night as the Pythons headed over to play Bedford. Pelham had beaten this team 88-40 three weeks ago, and Kress had used four JVs almost exclusively in an attempt to keep the score down, but Bedford was ready for their best outing of the year last Tuesday night. The Bulldogs not only surprised the Pythons out of the starting blocks by getting off to a 12-8 first quarter lead, but they stretched it to 32-26 by halftime. Coach Kress was getting his regular production from Justin Hojlo and sophomore Stephen Spirou, but he’d need those two even more down the stretch. Bedford refused to go away through three quarters as Pelham cut the lead to 48-45 heading into the final eight minutes, but Hojlo and Spirou both came through with clutch hoops and cashed in on 20 free throws in the game. Leading 67-64 as the clock ticked down, Bedford’s last three-point attempt sent the game into overtime giving Pelham their 15th win of the season. Hojlo led all scorers with 26 points, Spirou had 25 huge points, and coach Kress got some key performances from Sean Sweeney and Conor McColgan, who had five points apiece, and Mike Lombard, who had four points.
The Pythons got a real nice win last Friday night when the Saint Thomas Saints came to town looking for a big upset. The Saints stayed with the Pythons for two quarters, as Pelham held a slight 41-38 halftime lead, but Justin Hojlo and his crew took over in the second half and were able to come away with an 82-73 victory that upped their Class I record to 14-1. Pelham outscored the Saints 23-16 in the third quarter and Hojlo was busy burying many of his game-high 35 points, with four of them being 3-pointers. Stephen Spirou cashed in for 17 points, and coach Kress was very happy to have sophomore forward Mike Lombard back on the floor as he sank nine points and had 10 rebounds, and that’s exactly how much the Pythons won by as they took it 82-73.
Taylor H. Jackson of Pelham was selected as a member of the Granite State Elite, U14 Field Hockey Team. The selections were made after tryouts in November, where many qualified field hockey athletes from across New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts participated. Granite State Elite Field Hockey competes in tournaments from December through May. They practice in the New Hampshire Dome in Milford.
The U14 Team, which Taylor plays forward, won their first tournament this year on January 31 at Smith College in Northhampton, MA. Taylor’s team played four rounds in which she scored four goals and had seven assists. Congratulations Taylor.
What better way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day than getting a good workout? The Gym-Ken Gymnastics girls gymnastics teams celebrated February 14 at the Cupid’s Twist competition in Bow, taking home second place team prizes for both levels 4 and 5.
Level 4 took second place in the team competition.
Alexandra Masone of Windham, 9.1 for first on vault, 8.250 for fifth on bars, 8.85 for first on beam, 9.2 for first on floor and first place in the all-around (AA) with 36.4.
Rebecca Heath of Windham, 8.75 on vault, 8.6 for second on bars, 8.3 for second on beam, 9.1 for third on floor and second place in the AA with 34.750.
Anya Comeau of Derry, 8.8 on vault, 8.650 for first on bars, 7.8 on beam, 9.150 for second on floor and fourth place in the AA with 34.4.
Tory Sipes of Windham, 8.9 fourth on vault, 8.550 for third on bars, 8.0 for fourth on beam, 8.9 for fifth on floor and fifth place in the AA with 34.350.
Alexis Ouellette of Salem, 8.8 on vault, 7.5 on bars, 8.6 on beam, 9.0 for fourth on floor and 33.9 AA.
Paige Butler of Windham, 8.85 on vault, 7.5 on bars, 8.250 on beam, 8.6 on floor, and 33.2 AA.
Samantha Jezak of Windham, 9.150 on vault, 9.550 for first on bars, 9.050 for third on beam, 9.6 for first on floor and first place in the AA with 37.360.
Gabriella Palermo of Salem, 9.0 on vault, 9.050 for third on bars, 8.0 on beam, 9.2 for third on floor, and 35.250 AA.
Scarlett Souter of Windham, 8.85 on vault, 8.750 on bars, 8.350 for fifth on beam, 9.0 on floor and 34.950 AA.
Level 5 took second place in the team competition.
Erica Muse of Salem, 8.5 for fourth on vault, 8.850 for fourth on bars, 9.3 for first on beam, 9.150 for second on floor and second place with 35.8 AA.
Lindsay Maffei of Windham, 8.850 for first on vault, 8.9 for third on bars, 8.650 for fourth on beam, 8.8 for fourth on floor and second place with 35.2 AA.
11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions
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