HAMPTON — Through 11 events, Pinkerton was in sixth place, trailing first-place Bedford, 57-27.
To most, the Astros had no shot. Even for the believers, things were looking bleak.
“My heart was sinking a little,” second-year Pinkerton coach Carol Quarles said.
But she did know a run was in the offing. The Pinkerton distance runners kicked it into high gear and kicked everybody’s butts.
When the dust had settled at Winnacunnet Regional, the Astros beat runner-up Bedford, 100-79. They had scored a stunning 73 points in the final seven events.
The Astros are accustomed to winning. Cross country coach and father Mike Clark yelled, “Trifecta” as the Astros won the Division 1 state titles in cross country, winter track and now spring track.
The turning point was the 3200. The Astros pulled off a highly unusual, 1-2-3 finish with Nick Sevilla (9:43.88), Tom Hanlon (9:44.46) and Phil Parent (9:44.75) turning the tide. That was a whopping 24 points and gave Pinkerton the lead, 80-67, with two events left.
“The distance kids came through,” Quarles said. “I was a little nervous, trying not to be a negative Nelly. Capt. Connor Kwiecien said, ‘It’s not over until it’s over.’”
And it was over for everyone else after Isaiah Backels soared 13 feet 3 inches to win the pole vault.
Joe Poggi smashed his previous best by over three seconds with an eye-popping 1:55.78 to win the 800. It was the third straight year the Poggi clan won the 800. His brother Chris, a sub-1:51 800 runner as a freshman this year at the University of New Hampshire, won it in 2012-2013.
“I knew he had it in him,” Chris Poggi said. “I can’t believe he ran Hoerner down.”
That was Memorial junior Brett Hoerner, who had run 3.3 seconds faster than the younger Poggi this spring. Hoerner ran a blistering opening 400 and he was either going to run the race of his life or seize up. It became clear in those last 40 or so yards, it was a bit more of the latter.