Redmen Roundup -- Big Day On The Big Stage For TMHS Wrestlers, Runners
London, Davidian and Jansen Advance to Division 2 Wrestling Semi-Finals; Bridle takes Fifth Career MVC Track Title.
Tewksbury High senior sprinter Jess Bridle continued to rewrite the TMHS girls track record books Friday afternoon, capturing her fifth career Merrimack Valley Conference individual championship by running away from the rest of the competition in the 300-meter run at the MVC Championship meet at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston.
Bridle, who has won three 400-meter championships and one 100-meter sprint championship in outdoor track, won her first-ever indoor championship in a breeze, beating second-place finished Katie Mulkerin of Billerica by over a full second, finishing in 41.55 seconds.
"She dominated it," said Tewksbury coach Peter Molloy. "She kind of just ran the way everyone expected her to. Everyone knew she was the best coming in, and she just ran that way. It was a race for second place."
Bridle also ran the anchor leg on Tewksbury's first-place 4x400-meter relay team, which also ran away from the rest of the field, beating second-place Andover by over a second in 4:11.09. Sophomore Kelly Quigley staked Tewksbury to a 30-meter lead on the first leg, and Jenn Schultz, Sarah Hogan and then Bridle brought home the victory.
For Bridle, it was her fourth career MVC relay title.
"She's going to wrap up her career as one of the most decorated track athletes ever in the Merrimack Valley Conference," said Molloy of Bridle. "She's already one of the most dominant sprinters, shy of Mary Alice Brady, to walk the halls of Tewksbury High School."
The TMHS girls team had an all-around successful day, taking fourth place overall at the meet. Freshman high jumper Alyssa Zurawski was one of the biggest reasons for Tewksbury's impressive finish, taking second place in the high jump clearing a career-best 4-feet, 10-inches. Zurawksi finished just an inch short of the winning height of 4-feet, 11-inches.
"For a freshman to be the second best jumper in the league by only an inch says a lot," Molloy said. "She did today what we've known she's been capable of all year."
Hogan, the senior co-captain who has been a winner in both the 50-yard dash and the 300 for Tewksbury this year, took third in the 55-meter dash in a personal best time of 7.62 seconds. Senior shot putter Lisetta Jacintho took third in the shot with a top toss of 33-feet, 3.25-inches. Senior Matilda Matovu took sixth in the shot put with a person record 32-7.25 to round out the Tewksbury scoring.
TMHS finished with 43 team points, fourth behind Andover (89), Central Catholic (74) and Lowell High (70).
"Talk about the most improved team (in the MVC), where do you begin?" Molloy asked. "Every single distance runner we had ran a (personal best) today, and not only that, but they're now running times that are going to allow us to score points in dual meets. I cannot wait for outdoor season to start."
Other PR's for Tewksbury came from sophomores Kiley Sedgwick and Erin Morrissey in the 55-meters, Sam McGouldrick (by 14 seconds) and Grace Canavan in the two-mile, Quigley and Ashley Callahan in the hurdles, Rachel McCabe (by over 10 seconds) in the mile, Schultz in the 300; Jackie Giasullo, Rebecca Davies, Courtney Graffeo and Rachel Eatherton in the 4x800; and Olivia Boudreau and Caitlyn Leary in the 1000.
THREE WRESTLERS ADVANCE TO STATE SEMI-FINALS
Seniors Chris London and Mike Davidian and sophomore Nick Jansen all won two matches in their respective weight classes to advance to the second round of the MIAA Division 2 State Wrestling Championships at Reading High on Friday. All three wrestlers will compete in the state semi-finals Saturday afternoon in Reading.
London, the two-time Division 2 North Sectional champion, ran his unblemished 2011-2012 record to 38-0 in the 170-pound weight class with two impressive victories on Friday. London pinned Edison Charles of Boston Latin in the second period of his opening-round match, then dominated Southeastern Regional's Matt Small in the quarterfinals, taking a 7-2 decision.
Small had a significant height and reach advantage over London, but the TMHS senior captain stayed patient and proved that he was the better technical wrestler.
"That kid probably walks around close to 190 (pounds) and cuts a lot of weight to wrestle at 170," TMHS coach Brian Aylward said. "But Chris didn't get frustrated and over-extend himself and give the kid an easy takedown. He spilled his guts out there for six minutes and thankfully he was able to get a couple big takedowns."
London faces Dracut's Stig McElhinney in the semi-finals.
"He's determined, and he knows he's got some tough action ahead of him tomorrow," Aylward said. "He knows nobody is going to roll over and get out of his way."
Davidian, who finished third at 160 pounds in the sectional meet, took an 11-4 decision over Matt Kechum of Silver Lake Regional in his opening round match. Davidian then improved his 2011-2012 record to 31-9 when he pinned Natick's Alex Restivo-Lage in the second round of his quarterfinal match.
"That's a big, big win for him," Aylward said of Davidian. "For him to get into the semi-finals is an awesome thing. And you know what, you can't count him out. He's gonna have a chance to keep on doing it."
Jansen got off to a fast start pinning Kevin LeBlanc of Shephard Hill in the second round of his opening round match, then pulled out a dramatic, come-from-behind victory in the quarter-finals. Down 5-4 with time running out, Jansen pulled off a two-point reversal with just seven seconds left in the third period to take a 6-5 win.
"What a great effort," Aylward said of Jansen. "You can't teach that kind of effort. That kid (LeBlanc) was a good athlete and a big kid...but (Jansen) was able to out-last him and out-work him."
GIRLS BASKETBALL DOWNS LAWRENCE, 54-36
Sophomore center Chelsee Porcaro led all scorers with 14 points and the Semenza twins, Sara (13) and Shannon (10), combined to score 23 between them, as the Tewksbury High girls basketball team improved its record to 7-11 with a 54-36 win over Lawrence High School Friday night.
Junior forward Nicole Chaet added nine points, senior guard Sheri Liggiero had four and senior guard Amanda Cossar had two as Tewksbury won its seventh game against nine losses so far this year. After an 0-6 start, the Redmen are now 7-3 in their last 10 games, and thanks to some help from Chelmsford High, TMHS is now one win away from clinching second place in the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 race.
If the Redmen finish first or second in their MVC Division, they will qualify for the MIAA State Tournament for the second consecutive year.
"It was a sloppy game, but it's still a good win for us because we control our own destiny now," said TMHS coach Mark Bradley.
The Redmen can punch their ticket to the state tournament with a win at Notre Dame Academy on Tuesday night.
TMHS BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM LOSES TO BILLERICA
In spite of the fact that senior guard Anthony Chiccarelli was sidelined with a knee injury and most of the team was battling a flu bug, the Tewksbury High boys basketball team hung tough with Billerica High for three quarters Friday night before falling, 58-52.
Senior forward Sean Foley tied his career high with 18 points, while senior guard Mile Doucette added 14 points for Tewksbury. Senior guard Bobby Lumbard tossed in eight, while Kevin Dick and Chris Fandel chipped in with four each and Alex DiRocco had two.
"We fought hard," said Tewksbury coach Phil Conners. "I was happy with the effort. They (Billerica) were huge, and they've got tons of talent."
TMHS, now 7-12 overall, has already qualified for the state tournament. The Redmen finish their regular season at home against Melrose on Feb. 23.
BOYS TRACK TEAM TAKES NINTH AT MVC MEET
Senior captain Brian Amaral's second place finish in the mile run in a personal best 4:34.16 was one of the top highlights for the Tewksbury High boys' track team, which finished ninth at the Merrimack Valley championships at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston on Friday.
Sophomore hurdler Eddie Matovu took third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.08 seconds, while junior shot putter John Fiorello was fifth in his event with a top toss of 45-feet, 5-inches.
Senior Kip Horahan took sixth in the 1000 meters in 2:14.12 while Tewksbury's 4x800-meter relay team took sixth.