Fab Four Capture Gold For TMHS Girls Track Team
TMHS girls team takes fourth overall, boys take fifth at MVC League Meet.
Two of Tewksbury High's grande dames went out in style and two new stars emerged as league champions as the TMHS girls track team captured four individual championships and one relay title at the Merrimack Valley Conference Championship Meet at Andover High School Thursday evening.
Senior sprinter Sarah Hogan shook off adversity and captured her first ever league title with an electrifying win in the 100 meter dash, while super speedster Jess Bridle added the 200 meter championship to her lengthy list of accomplishments. Meanwhile, sophomores Kelly Quigley and Sara Semenza each earned their first career MVC Championship gold medals; Quigley by winning the 400 meter hurdles title and Semenza by capturing the 400 meter dash title.
To cap off the memorable night, TMHS's "Fab Four" of Hogan, Bridle, Quigley and Semenza teamed up in the final girls event of the night and won the 4x400 meter relay race, giving Tewksbury a total of five gold medals in the league championship meet.
"It's a great showing for us, one of our best ever," TMHS coach John Byrnes said. "We had five champions one year not too long ago, but this is unique. To take the 100, the 200, the 400 and the 400 hurdles is great. You don't see one team do that very often."
Hogan's win was clearly the most dramatic of the four, as her heat in the 100 meter dash preliminaries had to be re-run when the meet's electronic timing system malfunctioned and failed to record the time of the six runners in the first heat. On short rest, Hogan came back and won her heat for a second time, earning a spot in the 100 meter finals.
"Sarah handled that extremely well," Byrnes said. "Better than I did. It was unfair that she ran the fastest first round and didn't get any credit for it. But she sat there poised, didn't say a word, just prepped it and went out and won it."
Hogan ran a personal best 13.01 in the finals, easily besting second-place finisher Leanne Kent of Central Catholic.
"I guess it's worth it now," said Hogan after all the drama was over. "I usually stress out about a lot of things but I actually found myself pretty relaxed about this one. I was kinda bummed out because that was probably the fastest time I've ever run and I'll never know what it was."
"You have to be happy for all the kids, but especially Sarah, the way that played out," Byrnes said.
"It was amazing," said Hogan, who will study nursing at UMass-Amherst in the fall. "This was what I've been wanting forever and this was my last chance to do it. I'm so happy."
Bridle won her sixth individual league championship and completed the MVC track "Grand Slam" when she won the 200 meter championship by a huge margin. Bridle, who does not normally compete in the 200, breezed to an impressive victory in a lightning fast 25.64 seconds, just three-tenths of second shy of the school record in that event. When she ran the anchor leg on the victorious 4x400-meter relay team, Bridle captured her 10th career MVC championship.
But if Byrnes was worried about finding two superstars to replace Bridle and Hogan, he should worry no more. Quigley, who also won multiple dual meet golds in the 100 meter hurdles and the triple jump this spring, captured her first-ever MVC league championship in the 400 meter hurdles. Quigley ran a personal best 1:06.96 and out-distanced the rest of the field by over two seconds.
"Kelly plays a lot of soccer and runs a lot of events for us, so she basically over-trains all season long," Byrnes said. "So we rested her a little coming into this meet and it really worked out well. She ran a great race. She was only half a second off the school record."
Semenza also clocked a highly impressive time in winning the 400 meter dash in 59.31 seconds, becoming only the fifth female athlete in TMHS history to break 60 seconds in the 400. Semenza beat a talented 400 field by a solid 10 meters, finishing over two seconds ahead of runner-up Kaleigh Ftizgerald of Haverhill.
"That's a really impressive time," Byrnes said. "It puts her in some pretty elite company in Tewksbury High track history."
The Tewksbury High girls finished fourth overall at the league meet, behind first place Andover, Central Catholic and Chelmsford.
Other Tewksbury point scorers included senior Rebecca Clark (sixth in the javelin), sophomore Jess Amedee (fourth in the high jump) and sophomore Kelsie Bradley (sixth in the long jump).
Bridle, Hogan, Quigley and Semenza also teamed up to blow away the field in the 4x400 meter relay race, covering the course in 4:08.57. Central Catholic was a distant second in 4:11.41.
TEWKSBURY BOYS TAKE FIFTH
After a frustrating dual meet season that saw the Tewksbury High boys track team lose four times on the final relay event of the meet, the Redmen gained a measure of revenge by finishing ahead of all four teams that had beat them in the regular season. Led by Cory Cataldo's standout effort in the long jump and the 400 meter hurdles and Brian Amaral's second place finish in the two mile, Tewksbury totalled 41 team points and finished fifth overall, tops among MVC Division 2 schools.
Cataldo, a junior, took second in the 400 meter hurdles in 58.34 seconds and took fourth in the long jump in 20-06. Amaral battled valiantly down the home stretch and fell just short of overtaking Chelmsford's Robert Massey in the two-mile. Amaral clocked a personal best time of 9:36, knocking 18 seconds off his previous best two-mile time, and only finished second when Massey out-leaned him at the wire.
Sophomore Eddie Matovu also had an impressive meet taking second place inthe 110-meter high hurdles. Matovu ran a personal best 15.29 in the finals, losing to Central Catholic's Jeremey Zannini by just .04 seconds. George Kuegler, a senior, took fourth in the hurdles for Tewksbury in a personal best 15.75.
"We had PR's all over the place," said an elated TMHS coach Bill Meuse. "It wasn't just the kids who scored. We had a ton of great performances."
Christian Taylor, a junior, threw a personal best 131-05 in the discus and took third in that event. Cory Thomas, also a junior, took fifth in the two-mile in 9:55.40.
Tewksbury's 4x100-meter relay team of Joe Poli, Cataldo, CJ Sutherland and Matovu took sixth in 46.12.