TILTON – He came in as the defending champ and the top-seeded favorite. But Belmont senior Eli Allman didn’t let any of that get to him.
“I’m pretty easy going,” he said, “so I didn’t really feel any pressure.”
The laid-back Allman defended his title in the 110 hurdles and the Raiders, who came into the meet with the most points according to seed, finished second with 59 points. Belmont was within striking distance of first place going into the final event, the 4x400, trailing Monadnock by six points. The Raiders took first and the 10 points that came with it in that closing relay, but Monadnock finished second and claimed the team title with 63 points.
“We wanted to take down Monadnock, and it came down to the last event, and that was all we had,” Belmont Coach Scott Clark said.
Clark emphasized that it was, “a fantastic day all the way around,” for his team, and that he and his fellow Belmont coaches – Aaron Hayward and John Goegel – don’t worry about points, which helps create the kind of relaxed attitude that buoyed Allman.
“We really preach (that) you are just here to compete at your best level,” Clark said. “And on this day, there’s so many variables that come into it, why add another one like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get these points.’ I really believe thinking like that helps you rise to the occasion.”
It certainly worked for Allman.
“I got a pretty good rhythm in prelims, got my spot in the finals and took it pretty easy,” he said. “And then in the finals, I just pounded it out and got the win.”
Junior Hunter Dupuis earned Belmont’s other individual title, finishing first in a tight 200 field. Dupuis also ran an astonishing second leg for the first-place 4x400 relay team, pulling the Raiders from the back of the pack to the front.
“He went by the entire field,” Clark marveled.
Belmont’s Ian Remenar ran the final leg of the 4x400 and took second in the 300 hurdles, while Adam Sojka ran the first leg of the 4x400 and was third in the triple jump. Nolan Gagnon was the fourth member of the 4x400 team, and the Raiders had a second-place finish from the 4x100 team of River Mathieu, Marc Forgione, Dupuis and Ben Hillsgrove.
Kearsarge graduated a ton of talent from last year’s title team, but the Cougars still finished fourth on Saturday. A big chunk of Kearsarge’s 44 points came from the pole vaulting pits, where senior Grant Croft and junior John Cunningham finished 1-2, respectively. Craft cleared 12-6 while Cunningham went 11-6.
Kearsarge junior Alex Kalpakgian was seeded 10th in the 100, but he rose to the occasion of the state meet and took fourth. Kalpakgian also finished fourth in the 200 and was part of the third-place 4x100 relay team with Elijah Westerberg, Craig Berube and Gavyn Magistro.
Bow took fifth as a team with 39 points and brought home an individual championship as Mike Perry finished first in the triple jump with a mark of 41-8.25.
“It seems every meet Mike was getting a little better, he’s been doing 36, 37, 38,” Bow Coach Jon Uhouse said. “And then he just peaked at the right moment and hit 40.”
Brian Bushnell was second in the 100 for the Falcons, and he was part of the first-place 4x100 relay team with Matt Nicholls, Grady Beaulieu and Conor O’Mahony.
Inter-Lakes junior Ian Daly rolled to an impressive win in the 800 in 1:59.05, a personal best. Daly was also part of the first-place 4x800 relay team with Owen Billin, Tom Grubbs and Alex Losada. Shawn Deflorio took second in the shot put for the Lakers.
Newfound climbed on the strong shoulders of Leo Ntourntourekas and wound up in ninth place with 21 points. Ntourntourekas battled to the top of two tight throwing events, finishing first in the shot put with a distance of 47-3, and then squeaking past defending champ Sean Sullivan of Bishop Brady to win the discus.
Host Winnisquam and Hopkinton tied for 19th with 10 points as each team had one champion. Winnisquam senior Scott Hinds used his home-track advantage to take first in the 400 in 51.53, nearly two seconds ahead of the nearest competition.
Hopkinton junior Kevin McGrath was the only jumper to reach the 6-foot mark, and his 6-0 jump brought him first place in the high jump.