CONWAY — Kennett High turned in a few top-notch performances at the prestigious Meet of Champions on Saturday afternoon at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The meet brought together the top 16 athletes in each event from Division I, II and III.
Coach Bernie Livingston had a few athletes on the bubble going into the meet, and two of his five hopefuls — Chris Desmaris and Trey Snowden — made it into the talented field and got to compete.
“I’m really happy for Trey and Chris,” Livingston said Monday. “On the other hand, I’m disappointed for Sierra Parsons (discus), Eva Drummond (800 meters) and the boys’ 4X400 meter relay team who just missed getting to compete by one spot. I would have loved for them to have the opportunity.”
Senior Chris Caputo competed in a record four events for the Eagles, running the 200 and 400 meters, competing in the long jump and throwing the javelin.
“Chris had a busy day but competed to the best of his ability,” Livingston said. “That’s an awful lot to do. I’m not sure we’ve ever had an athlete do two running events, a throwing event and a jumping event. It’s incredibly impressive to qualify for the Meet of Champions in four events.”
Caputo started his day with the javelin. He finished 15th with a throw of 127’4” (won by Jacob Pacheco of Bishop Guertin, 171’6”). Caputo’s personal best in the event is 147’6”, which would have been good enough for seventh overall.
Then it was onto the long jump, where Caputo was 13th with a jump of 19’4.25” (won by Ryan Sullivan of Lebanon, 21’2.5”). Caputo’s PR of 20’10” would have been good enough for third place.
Almost immediately after the long jump, Caputo took to the track to run the 400 meters. He set a personal best in a time of 51.3 seconds (had been 51.98), which was good enough for sixth place overall (won by Zach Verow of Bedford, 49.79).
Two events later, Caputo closed out his day with an eighth-place finish in the 200 meters in 23.85 (won by Conor Seleny of Pinkerton Academy in 22.94). Caputo’s previous best of 23.09, set the previous week at the Division II Championships, would have been good enough for second place on Saturday.
“To run the 400 and 200, that an incredible double,” Livingston said. “I’m not sure many people try that, let alone try that and long jump and throw the javelin. (Laughing) Chris likes to keep busy.”
The sixth-place finish in the 400 meters qualifies Caputo for the New England Track and Field Championships this Saturday (10 a.m.), at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.
“This is the third time that Chris has qualified for the New Englands in his career,” Livingston said, pointing out he qualified in the long jump as a junior and again in the long jump his senior year for the indoor championships.
Caputo and Livingston have a goal in mind for Saturday.
“The goal is to break 51 seconds,” Livingston said. “I think that’s a realistic goal.”
The school record held by Cam LaBrie is 50.8, set in 2015.
Junior Nadia VanDyne was the lone KHS girl to compete on Saturday. She equaled her own school record of 9’ in the pole vault, finishing 11th overall (won by Styler Bomba of Alvin, 11’).
“Nadia had one really good jump at 9’6”,” Livingston said. “She was very close to getting it. To tie the school record on the biggest stage in the state is a nice accomplishment.”
Desmaris, a junior, ran a personal best by almost 2 seconds in the 1,600 meters. Seeded 13th, he finished 11th in 4:34.70 (won by Exeter’s Jacob Winslow in 4:14.82).
“I’m so happy he got in and ran so well,” Livingston said.
Snowden, a senior competing in his first year of track, fouled on his three attempts in the discus (won by Campbell’s Joshua Hoffman, 146’8”), but came oh-so-close to landing a new PR.
“I have so much respect for Trey,” Livingston said. “In his first year out he picks probably the most technical event, that and the pole vault, to compete in. On his first throw, he hit the pole, which called a sector foul. On his second, he threw out of (bounds). His third throw, which would have been his best, (Coach) Peter Kondrat thought it was over 130’, but he stepped out of the ring.”
He added: “Trey is a very talented athlete. If he had one more year, I’m sure he would have been among the very best in the state and one of our best throwers ever. I’m very proud of him for coming out for the team and all he has done.”