With both the Tewksbury High boys and girls track teams having lost tons of talent to graduation, the last thing coaches Bill Meuse and Peter Molloy needed was to match up against a talented and deep Central Catholic team on opening day.
The schedule maker was not kind, and the results, predictably, fell mostly Central's way as Tewksbury's normally dominant track program suffered a rare double loss. The boys came up short, 54-32, while the girls also fell, 62-23 in the opening meet for both squads.
BRIDLE, HOGAN, JACINTHO SHINE IN GIRLS MEET
Senior captains Jess Bridle and Sarah Hogan both scored big wins in the 55-meter dash and the 300 meters, respectively, while Lisetta Jacintho won the shot put to lead the Tewksbury effort.
Bridle took first in the dash in 6.3 seconds, which is a remarkably fast time for an opening day sprint.
"Jess just destroyed them in the dash," Molloy said. "That's kind of what we expect to see out of her all season."
Hogan emerged victorious in a head-to-head match-up with Central's Alexa Poulin. A junior from Tewksbury, Poulin is expected to be one of the league's top performers in the 300 this winter, but Hogan held off Poulin's strong kick down the stretch, winning in 45.0 seconds, a personal best.
"Not only did Sarah have a personal best time, but she competed very well," Molloy said. "The Poulin kid came up on her with about 100 meters to go but Sarah said 'No, not today.'"
Jacintho picked up where she left off last spring, winnng the shot put with a toss of 32-feet, 9-inches. Jacintho's winning throw was a full three feet better than the second place finisher.
The relay team of Kelly Quigley, Jess Bridle, Cassidy Russell and Rose Souza won its event as well. Other Tewksbury point scorers included junior Rebecca Davies (third in the 600 at 1:45.3), sophomore Olivia Boudreau (third in the mile at 6:30.1) and sophomore Jess Amedee who took third in the high jump at 4-feet, 6-inches.
Other strong performers included sophomore Cassidy Russell and freshman Alyssa Zaroski in the hurdles and senior captain Jackie Giasullo in the 1000.
"We scored 18 points prior to the relay but we scored 15 from three kids," Molloy said. "We don't have a lot of depth. That's not an indictment of the team, it's just where we're at as a team. It doesn't make me upset, it doesn't make me angry, it just makes me hopeful."
THOMAS, AMARAL AND FIORELLO TAKE FIRSTS IN BOYS MEET
New coach Bill Meuse's first meet as the boys boss wasn't all bad, as junior shot putter John Fiorello, junior distance runner Brian Amaral (1000 meters) and junior Cory Thomas (two mile) all won events for Tewksbury.
Fiorello, who has emerged as a pleasant surprise for the Redmen so far this fall, threw 45-feet, one-inch to win the shot put by over three feet.
Amaral, coming off a standout cross country season, ran 2:49.7 to capture the 1000. Thomas, also a top performer on Tewksbury's highly successful cross country team this fall, ran 10.26.7 to take first in the two-mile.
"Amaral won at the line again which is great to see," Meuse said. "I love to see a kid fight to the finish like that...That's what we need our team to be made of, kids like that."
Thomas' two-mile clocking represented a personal best.
"Cory Thomas ran very well," Meuse added. "He was the only kid we had in that race so we needed him to come through for us and he did."
Promising sophomore Dom Rosado took a pair of thirds, in the 55-meter dash and the high jump. Rosado ran the dash in 5.9 seconds, just a tenth off the winning pace, and cleared 5-feet, 6-inches in the high jump.
Sophomore Eddie Matovu took third in the 55-meter hurdles, and junior sprinter Roy Felix was third in the 300 in 41.4. Kip Horahan took second in the mile run in 4:56.1.
The relay team of CJ Sutherland, Zach Jacobs, Blake Hery and Scott Pastorello took first place.
"I thought we did pretty well today," Meuse said. "I think it was a good first step. Our distance kids ran well and I think you'll see our sprinters improve."
Both teams face Dracut on Monday in a key Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 meet for both the boys and the girls.