With a couple of key seniors returning from injury and some underclassmen building depth behind them, the is getting its act together just in time for the biggest meets of the season.
Methuen High's girls track team learned that the hard way Monday, as Tewksbury rolled to a 107.5-32.5 win over the Rangers in Methuen.
"We've been relying on some of our underclassmen while the seniors got over some injuries, but now we're in pretty good shape all around," said . "We're getting healthy at the right time."
Juniors Jess Bridle and Lisetta Jacintho led the way on Monday, winning two events each. Bridle edged temmate Sarah Hogan in the 100-meter dash, taking first in 12.5 seconds. Hogan was second in 12.8. Bridle then won the long jump with a leap of 15'2''.
Jacintho posted her fourth straight double win in the discus and the shot put, tossing the shot 32' 5" and hurling the discus 102'4". Jacintho led a sweep in the discus with Sarah Reynolds second and Courtney Spinelli third.
Senior Ashley Toland returned to form with a 68.1 second run over the 400-meter hurdles, good for first place. Senior Kim Fairweather won her fourth straight dual meet high jump contest, taking first place at 4'6".
Hogan, a junior, won the 200-meters in 26.8 seconds, and senior Emily Parker won the two-mile in 12:55.7. Senior Andrea Caprio continued her dominance in the javelin, leading a sweep in that event. Caprio threw 102' even while Spinelli took second in 100'2" and Rebecca Clark was third.
Junior Christina Dick won the 800 meters in 2:37.8 combining with freshmen Rachel Eatherton and Bridget Blair to sweep that event.
But the familiar face that Byrnes was happiest to see was senior, who has missed several months with a leg injury. Tucker won the 400-meters in 60.9, which is the second fastest 400 by any Tewksbury runner all year.
"She (Tucker) is just about back," said Byrnes of his senior All-American. "She looked very good. We're trying to ease her back in while taking as few chances as possible."
Another familiar face back from a long absence is senior sprinter Liz Marchand, who suffered two broken bones in her right leg during a soccer game last fall. A top MVC sprinter as a junior, Marchand competed in a junior varsity 200 meter race Monday and ran well.
But while the upperclassmen have been on the mend the youngsters have come along, and Tewksbury showed great depth on Monday because of that. Freshman Kelly Quigley won the triple jump at 32'10" and took second in the 400-meter hurdles.
Freshman Aly Spencer earned her first-ever varsity victory in the 100-meter hurdles with a winning time of 18.2 seconds. Freshman Olivia Gallella was second in the hurdles and third in the triple jump.
Sophomore Devin Kelly won the pole at 7'6" with Aly Spencer and sophomore Amanda Cossar tied for third. Four underclassmen combined to win the 4x100 meter relay; freshmen Kelsie Bradley, Erin Morrissey and Ashley Callahan and junior Allie Luppi.
Freshman Sara Semenza took second in the 200 while Callahan added a third in the 40o-meter hurdles.
"The freshmen have gained some valuable experience while the upperclassmen have been on the mend," Byrnes said. "We're back healthy and our team depth is definitely strengthening."
Tewksbury competes at Dracut on Wednesday in an important MVC Division 2 meet.
TMHS SOFTBALL UPSET IN BILLERICA
Tewksbury High's normally overactive bats went all but silent on Monday as the Redmen were upset by Billerica, 4-1.
The loss puts a dent in Tewksbury's hopes to overtake Central Catholic and Chelmsford in the race for first place in the Merrimack Valley Conference Divsion 1 standings.
(11-3) took the loss allowing eight hits in six innings. Lauren Texeira had a double and Sam Laferriere knocked in Tewksbury's only run while Brooke Hardy and Tiffanie Marsh had two hits each.
"We just weren't ready to play ball today," said . "We couldn't get into the small game. We didn't get the bunts down."
Tewksbury left the bases loaded twice and stranded runners in scoring position two other times.
"We had our chances," DiRocco said. "They threw junk at us and we didn't hit it. We're more of a fastball hitting team. We got 12 runs off them the first time we played them."
The Redmen, 12-3 overall and 7-3 in the MVC, host Central on Wednesday. Tewksbury trails first-place Chelmsford (9-1) by two games and Central (8-2) by one game.