No Hurdle Too Tough for Paige
CHELMSFORD — During the indoor track season, Makayla Paige captured the second best 800-meter time in the country. Last week, at the prestigious Loucks Games in New York, she finished first.
On Saturday morning, the extremely talented Tewksbury High sophomore completely shifted gears and participated in the 400-meter hurdles, the 200 and the long jump. And all she did this time was win the hurdles with a time of 1 minute, 3.53 seconds. Not only was that over four seconds better than the runner-up, it stands as the new Merrimack Valley Conference Championship Meet record.
“We didn’t want to run the 800 yet, we’ll do that later in the season,” said Paige, who was featured on Fox-25 on Friday night for her dominance in track and field. “The coaches didn’t want me to get tired of the 800. (Competing in the hurdles) has helped me in the 800 because I don’t have to think that I have to do this in the 800 or think about whether or not I’m running a bad race.”
And what’s the toughest part of the hurdles?
“Getting over the hurdles with good form. I can get over them but my form stinks. The first hurdle, I skyrocketed so bad,” she said with a big laugh.
Paige ended up taking second in the 200 in 26.21 and was 11th in the long jump.
North Andover won the meet, crushing the other nine teams. Lowell finished third, Billerica was fourth, Tewksbury was sixth and then Chelmsford and Dracut were eighth and ninth, respectively.
Paige’s good friend, Billerica High junior Nicole Anderson -- who finished in third place in the same race as Paige last weekend in New York -- and teammate Sam Maffeoboth had first places in the 400 and 800 and were also part of the winning 4x800 relay race. Although neither girl was injured, they both didn’t feel completely at 100 percent between the heat, prom the night before and lunch.
“The first lap I didn’t feel that great but then the last 600 (meters) or so I felt better,” said Maffeo, who finished in 2:17.66. “I knew I could push as the pace wasn’t that bad. This is my last MVC meet as I’m a senior and I just really wanted this. I had prom last night. My feet hurt a little. But I really wanted to get a personal record.”
Anderson didn’t have prom but had her typical lunch, which didn’t agree so much with her stomach.
“I had a sub for lunch and it didn’t go down right,” she said with a laugh. “Normally it’s fine but it’s hot today so it just didn’t digest as well as I wanted it to.”
She was seeded first and although she didn’t meet or beat her seeded time, she still easily won the race in 58.28 seconds.
“Winning this means a lot because this is such a deep conference,” she said. “There’s so many talented runners so to be able to come out on top against these very talented girls is an honor and a privilege.”
Maffeo, Anderson, Hannah Doherty and Leithsa DiManche won the 4x400 with a time of 4:00.91 for Billerica.
The other individual first places all came from Lowell as Deborah Zahui Gboignon won the discus at 99-03, Ann Nkole took the shot put at 37-00.25, Jordan Lamarre took the 200 at 25.41 and Kimesha Lewis won the 100 at 12.37 seconds, which broke a school record.
“I know I needed to get a good start off the blocks so I was working on driving down and working through my dry phase through the middle of the race and keeping my form,” said Lewis.
“I’ve done this for four years and I still don’t have it (the start down), but every day is a new day to try to get better.”
Nkole threw a huge personal best of 37-00.25, which was well over a foot over her previous best of 35-9.
“Usually if I have a bad first throw, I lose confidence and things get worse but today I had a really good first throw and they kept getting better and I was getting more and more confident,” she said.
Lowell’s 4x100 relay team of Rebecca Cady, Lewis, Lamarre and Celeste Mensah broke a school record with their first-place finish and collective time of 48.92 seconds.
Also placing for the Red Raiders were Athena Mowatt (35-06) and Sarah Moundele (34-06), who were second and fifth in the shot put, while other fifth places were Mensah in the 200 (27.54), Slap Mirambeaux in the mile (5:27.11) and Lindsey Ahern in the two-mile (12:14.75). Patricia Kalenera was sixth in the triple jump at 34-04.00 and the 4x800 (10:22.37) and 4x400 (4:21.52) relay teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Doherty and Deidra Anderson -- Nicole’s twin sister -- finished second and fourth in the mile with times of 5:20.23 and 5:25.48, and then Haley Slaney (12:03.00) and Danielle Sullivan (12:07.63) were second and third in the two-mile. In the 400-meter hurdles, Lauren Montion was third at 1:09.85 and Sadie Hall was fifth at 1:10.97, while Kayley Mace tied for fifth in the high jump, clearing 4-9, and the 4x800 relay team was third at 10:16.08.
Senior Marissa Ladderbush cleared 8-0 to take third in the pole vault, while fourth places were earned by Cassidy Gruning in the high jump (4-11), Faith Mazzapica in the discus (95-02) and Julia Dillon in the javelin (102-11). Kerry Shea tied for fifth in the high jump (4-9), while Stephanie Baptiste was fifth in the both the 100-meter hurdles (16.11) and triple jump (34-06). Lily Robinson rounded out the place finishes as she was sixth in the mile at 5:28.30.
In the high jump, teammates Emma Keohane and Jasmine Adams tied for second as they both cleared 4-11 to lead the way for the Lions. Taking fourth places were Louise Johnson Gray in the 100 (12.92), Kathleen Dolan in the shot put (35-04.50) and the 4x100 relay team with a time of 51.46.
Three individuals places were earned by the Middies. Taking fifth places were Gabrielle Brown in the discus (92-10) and Katherine Morissette in the javelin (93-08). Murray tied for sixth in the high jump, clearing 4-9.