Twice As Nice For Merrill At New England's!

Nikki Merrill's splendid sophomore campaign continued on Saturday.

The Portsmouth standout was one of just two double-winners at the New England Championships. With a strong kick on the final lap, she pulled away from the field in the mile en route to a personal best of 4 minutes, 56.09 seconds. La Salle's Emily Kane was fourth overall in 4:59.67.

Merrill, who won three individual titles at the State Meet a few weeks ago, also broke the tape in the 600m. Competing in the unseeded heat, she was timed in a winning 1:35.11. She defeated top-seed Samantha Frigborg of Acton-Boxboro, who also was timed in 1:35.11 in her heat. The separation was just .104.

Central's Donatien Djero established a state record in the 300m by finishing third overall with a time of 34.48. He broke the mark of 34.77 by Hope's Matt Washington in 2007. Teammate Austin Wolo was fifth in the race with a 35.57 clocking. The two classmates were also part of the Knights' first-place 4x200m relay that was timed in 1:29.62. Djero was also fourth in the 55m at 6.49. 

La Salle Academy senior Sam Coleman clocked one of the top times in the country in the 55m dash. Coleman was second to two-time champion Mark Doyley of Weaver with a big-time PR of 6.35.  Doyley was timed in 6.33. Both went under the meet record of 6.38. 

Defending champion Anthony Shepard of South Kingstown was second in the long jump with a leap of 22-6.5.

Barrington's Mars Bishop and La Salle's Joseph dos Reis both dipped under 4:20 with podium finishes in the mile. Bishop placed second overall in 4:18.54 and dos Reis was fourth with a PR of 4:19.04. In the girls' 3,000m. La Salle's Grace Connolly (10:44.36) and South Kingstown's Ellie Lawler (10:44.70) were third and fourth, respectively.