Another Record-breaking Day from Tewksbury’s Paige
NORTH ANDOVER — Forgive us if you have heard this one before, but Tewksbury Memorial High School sophomore Makayla Paige once again stole the show.
On a hot Sunday morning/afternoon, Paige not only won both the 400-meter hurdles and the 800-meter run, but she broke meet records in both events, while also was part of the third-place 4x400 relay to help the Redmen finish in second place as a team in the Division 3 Eastern Mass. meet held at Merrimack College’s Duane Stadium.
Paige started her day out by taking the hurdles, an event she only started to do this spring. She trailed for most of the race, until the final 100 meters or so when she caught up to her friend, Elise O’Leary, of Milton, the reigning D3 champ, and passed her completely on the final hurdle, finishing with a time of 61.61, breaking the mark set in 2010 of 61.96.
“We both started out fast and I was like ‘OK, this is fine’ but then I started getting nervous with how far ahead she was,” explained Paige. “By the start of the second turn, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m not going to be able to catch her.’ Then down the final straightaway we were neck-and-neck.”
Then later in the day, Paige completely controlled the 800-meter race, finishing at 2:11.52, which was almost nine full seconds better than the runner-up, while it broke the meet record of 2:12.51 set in 2016.
Tewksbury also had a handful of other strong performances. Senior Marissa Ladderbush started with a second-place finish in the pentathlon competition on Thursday and carried that over by taking second in the pole vault (9-6) and being a part of the third-place 4x100 relay team along with Cassidy Gruning, Kerry Shea and Grace Higgins at 50.99.
Gruning also tied for fourth in the high jump clearing 5-0, while Paige, Higgins, Ryan Quinn and Abby Hansbury finished fourth in the 4x400 at 4:13.18.
Both Lily Robinson and Julia Dillon finished with fifth-places, with the former clocked at 11:51.52 in the two-mile and the latter chucking the javelin 104-04.
Finally, Stephanie Baptiste was sixth in the 100-meter hurdles at 15.78 and eighth in the triple jump at 34-6.75.
Wilmington had two place-finishers as junior Hanna LaVita was third in the high jump, clearing 5-2, and senior Amie Russell was sixth in the shot put, throwing 32-07.
Shawsheen Tech’s Sam Moriconi placed fifth in the shot put at 33-01 and Dracut’s Jacintha Karanja was eighth in the discus at 96-05.
The Tewksbury Boys also finished in second place and were once again led by senior Lucas Frost. He defended his Eastern Mass. title in the javelin throwing 184 feet. He wasn’t thrilled with his marks and said he continues to work on mechanics.
“Recently I’ve been having trouble as I start my crossovers, I keep my arm low and not straight, so I have to work on keeping it more out, up and straight and I have been having trouble with that lately,” he said. “It hasn’t been too much of a problem because I’ve been trying to work on other things like keep my weight back, get faster with my steps, and I think I have been making a little bit of progress on that stuff.”
Junior Zach LaLonde also had quite the day as he finished second in the 400-meter hurdles at 57.16, while he was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.85 and was part of the sixth-place 4x400 relay team along with Joe Branchaud, Nicholas Polimeno and Matt Grace at 3:32.71.
The 4x100 relay team broke a school-record with a third-place finish at 43.63 behind the efforts of Ethan Exilhomme, Colby Wilson, Shane Aylward and Colton Rusch. Exilhomme was also sixth in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.90.
Also, Thomas Barinelli was third in the triple jump at 43-03 and Casey Ryan was sixth in the two-mile at 9:52.52. On Thursday, Jack Kelly (10-06), Elisa Melki (10-0) and Christopher Nguyen (10-0) finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the pole vault.
The pole vault was won by Dracut’s Patrick Pinto, who cleared 12 feet. His teammate William Peters won the shot put, throwing 49-05.50, beating out teammate DJ Gagnon, who was fourth at 46-10.
“The discus didn’t go well, so then I had the shot put and I knew that I had a shot (at first place) going into it. I was ranked second and DJ was first. (The 49-5 came on my second throw). I almost fouled but I saved it at the very end, ” said Peters.
Last year, Peters finished seventh.
“This (title) means a lot,” he said. “I’ve done track here for four years and I also did it while I was in the middle school. I’ve done this for a while and (winning this) is something I have wanted to accomplish for a while now and glad I got it today.”
Senior Jovan Aigbekaen was eighth in the 110-meter hurdles at 21.20 and then he joined Dominic Silvestri, Tyler Pearce and Gilbert Ruiz to take eighth in the 4x100 at 44.68.
Wilmington’s Pat O’Mahony was tied for sixth in the 800 at 2:04.34, Greg Adamek was seventh in the mile at 4:38.26, Tyler Thomas was seventh in the discus at 130-08 and Aiden McGrath was eighth in the 400 at 52.28.
Finally, Shawsheen Tech’s Ralph Desrosiers finished fourth in the 200 at 22.97 and Stephan Saint Juste finishing fifth in the high jump clearing 6-2.
The top three in each event, as well as the next six best finishes out of the other divisional meets across the state, advance to Saturday’s All-State Meet to be held at Westfield State College.