The Sun (Lowell)
MCELHINNEY AND SANTOS RULE, JONES RUNNER-UP
Local athletes star against the best at Meet of Champions
FITCHBURG >> Anna Mcelhinney has been one of the best cross country and track runners in the state.
But along the way there’s been a few hiccups. In the indoor season, she missed out on an Allstate championship in the two mile by one-hundredth of a second. And last week at the Division 3 state meet, she was disqualified from the two mile due to incidental contact, a call she and her coaches disagreed with.
To say she had a chip on her shoulder coming into the first day of the two-day Meet of Champions event would be an incredible understatement.
“After last Saturday, it became difficult for me to race again because there was some negativity going on through my head, so getting on that track again to run the mile was a little bit daunting,” she admitted. “I knew that I just wanted to show the officials that I can run a good two mile and that disqualification from last week should not have happened. Coming into the race, there was a lot of revenge for me. Not just with the officials, but also losing (the All-state title) indoors by onehundredth of a second so I had more of a chip on my shoulder to win.”
Thursday would not feature any controversy. Mcelhinney took the title with a time of 11:05.55, which was not her best, but despite the heat and everything else, she’ll certainly take it.
“(The win) definitely made up for last week. This was the last two mile race of my high school career. I’m not going on to the New Englands or nationals. I’m just going to focus on summer training. Finishing out my high school career with a win at the Meet of Champions, it really couldn’t have played out any better,” she said.
On Saturday, in the second day of competition, Mcelhinney placed fifth in the mile 5:03.10. Also for the Indians, sophomore Nyrah Joseph continued her torrid season. She placed third in the pentathlon competition, which included second in the 100-meter hurdles (15.15) and second in the high jump (51), while she also grabbed six in the triple jump (36-05).
Santos a winner
The other champion from Thursday was Tewksbury High senior Jayani Santos, who took the 200meters in a blistering personal best time of 24.62 seconds, despite being seeded fifth. This is just her third season of competing in track.
“I was very, very nervous going into the race. Coach (Fran) Cusick just told me to run it hard and you can win and I said, ‘I don’t really know about that’. My only intentions was to beat
my personal record from before and that was really it,” she said. “I had no intentions of actually winning it. I would have been satisfied if I finished in the top five or top three. I just didn’t expect for the outcome. I did not expect that first place, nor did I expect that time.”
Santos took took the lead about 50 meters in.
“My starts (tend to be) very bad, so Cusick just said as long as I get out hard, the outcome will be good because I always end up catching them at the end regardless,” she said. “He said my start looked much better than what it looked like before. Coming off the curve, I just kept going with everything that I had and made it to the finish.
“I knew that I had (the win), but I just didn’t know that was the time. When we saw the time, Cusick and I were just very shocked. I thought my time would be in the low 25’s, so I did not think that time of 24.62 was possible since my previous best was 25.2,” she said.
On Saturday, Santos came back to place seventh in the 400 (58.62) and then she was part of the sixthplace 4×100 relay team with Cassidy Paige, Kimsan Nguyen and Amanda
Ogden in 50.18.
Jones soars again
Lowell senior Ronnie Jones finished second in the shot put, throwing 41-09.
“I wanted to be at my best in this meet. I’m leaving high school without a (MOC) title. But I was in fifth place going into my final throw and I put one out there of 41-09, which there’s a couple of girls who I know can throw that so that’s all I had in me today. The weather was tough and everyone was throwing off until their last throws.”
This was the final time Jones — one of the most prolific track athletes in
LHS history — will compete wearing a Red Raiders’ jersey. She will go to nationals in two weeks.
“I remember my sophomore year, first time ever throwing the shot put and I remember being at my first meet and the winning throw was 38 feet and I said, ‘There’s no way I’m ever going to throw that.’ And here today I threw 41 feet,” she said. “I have come a long way and this sport has given me so many opportunities. I learned so much about myself, how to compete and I have gained so much more confidence because of this sport. I’m done with Lowell High but this was my most favorite team that I have ever been on.”
Also for Lowell, Annamaria Mbuyu placed seventh in the triple jump with a leap of 36-04.25.
Westford and Littleton
Westford’s Alin Aydogan finished eighth in the pentathlon, scoring 2,398 points. Her best performance came in the long jump, taking fourth (16-1). Littleton’s Norah Kobaly finished eighth in the javelin, throwing 133-06.
Parker Charter senior Theo Puterbaugh finished second in the discus, throwing 159-11, before also taking
second in the shot put, throwing 58-07.75.
“For me it’s just all about being consistent and proving to myself that I belong here. Last spring I remember I threw 45 feet (for the first time), indoors I threw 56 feet, and this season I have thrown 62 feet. Today I didn’t throw that far and ended with a 58-07.75, so getting second place just shows all of the work that I have put in,” said Puterbaugh, who will take his talents to the University of Rhode Island.
Tewksbury’s Ryan Cuvier placed fifth in the triple jump with a mark of 42-11.25. Chelmsford’s Will Larsen continued his terrific season as he finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles in 56.61.
Littleton’s Mubeshire Bradshaw placed sixth in the pole vault, clearing 1206 and Timothy Rak was eighth in the mile in 4:21.43. Lowell’s Khai Yin was seventh in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.24, while teammate Evan Imasogie was eighth in the 100 in 11.24.
Billerica junior Ryan Leslie was fourth in the mile (4:18.88) and seventh in the two mile (9:19.78).
Also on Thursday, Westford junior Paul Bergeron claimed fourth in a very competitive two mile in 9:05.68. He elected not to run Saturday.