Haverhill Hillies Boys Indoor Track '11-'12

Sun, Feb 26, 2012 11:00 AM @ Neutral Location
Team Final
Methuen 6
Andover 4
Central Catholic 0
Haverhill 0

O'Donnell goes long way in short time

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Monday, February, 27 By Christopher Smith
Staff writer

BOSTON — Methuen junior Michael O’Donnell felt like a freshman at All-States yesterday.

“Almost everyone else is a senior,” said O’Donnell about his competition. “So going into this I felt like the little guy.”

Competing for the first time individually at All-States, O’Donnell was nervous.

“Big time,” he said, adding he had trouble sleeping the night before, woke up too early and told himself to get back to sleep.

O’Donnell, however, finished third in the mile (4:19.21). He was the highest local boys placer here at the Reggie Lewis Center and will compete at the New England meet on Friday, hoping to break his personal record of 4:17.

O’Donnell has come a long way in a short time.

He was a soccer player his freshman year and had never competed in a long distance race before high school. And he only did a half season of indoor track as a freshman. He joined the team after Christmas vacation.

“My math teacher, who is actually the assistant coach, he remembered me from sixth grade when I did a cross country clinic,” O’Donnell said. “He told me to come out for the indoor team (late).”

O’Donnell, who was planning to spend the winter skiing recreationally with family and friends, did go out for the team. He said starting midseason was a little strange. 

“They all had their rituals and I wasn’t used to that,” O’Donnell said. “And I was a little, awkward freshman. But everyone was really nice.”

O’Donnell wasn’t even expecting to compete his freshman year of indoor track. He was going to use the season to get in better shape. But after the first practice, his coaches realized he had some talent.

“I then did outdoor track my freshman year and I was doing so well (he broke the Methuen freshman record in the mile) the coaches and the kids recruited me (for cross country),” he said.

So he quit soccer to run cross country, which he says is the best decision of his life.

He was an Eagle-Tribune cross country All-Star his sophomore year and repeated this year after becoming the first non-senior ever to win the MVC meet.

“I would love to run in college,” O’Donnell said.

Right now though, O’Donnell still has three more high school track seasons and one more high school cross country season left. That gives him more time to improve. So far, he has used every practice wisely to become one of the area’s — and the state’s — best.

Browne closes strong

St. John’s Prep sprinter Bryan Browne of Georgetown was seeded fifth entering All-States and finished fourth in 35.59, his second-fastest time this season.

Browne — who holds the second-fastest time in the 300 (35.40) in school history just .13 behind record-holder Jared Kadich, now a sophomore at Harvard — will run at Columbia next year.

Browne just recently verbally committed to the Ivy League school in New York City.

“It’s always been one of my top schools,” Browne said. “I like the city. I think it will be just a great opportunity for me.” 

Browne will be the first runner from his high school ever to compete at Columbia. He likely will study economics.

Columbia practices indoor track at The Armory Track and Field Center, where the New Balance Indoor Nationals meet will take place March 9-11.

Browne’s goal was to play college soccer until he joined the track team during spring of his sophomore year.

“I just kind of went out on a limb and tried it and it went well,” Browne said.

It went really well, actually. Track became his No. 1 sport.

Browne hardly felt much pressure at All-States.

"I knew I’d do well,” he said.

Browne ran a strong final 50 meters, passing a couple of runners. 

“I didn’t get out as fast as I wanted to,” he said. “But I finished well.”

Browne will compete at the New England meet Friday.

“My goal there is to run 35.2 because our school record is 35.27,” he said.

Browne also runs outdoor track. His best race is the 400 but his favorite race is the 200.

The senior is a member of the National Honor Society, has a 4.4 out 4.0 GPA with AP classes and was also accepted at Boston College.

Andover boys relay takes fifth

Andover’s Pat O’Sullivan, Will Klein, Michael Maldari and Ryan Cooney finished fifth (8:04.69) in the 4x800.

They were seeded third, “but our time was an improvement so that was good,” Klein said.

They bettered the 8:05.17 which earned them third at States.

The four will skip the New England meet and compete at Nationals in New York City the following weekend. Their goal is to break 8:01, the school record.

Central boys relay places seventh

Central’s Adam Gidley. Adrien Fleury, Danny O'Connell and Sean Murphy placed seventh (8:10.17) in the 4X800.

“Our time was a little slower than last time,” Gidley said. “We were shooting for 8:03, 8:04 but as along as we placed, that’s the main thing.”

They qualified for the New England meet but will not run there.

"We’ve had a long season and we want to gear up for outdoor,” Gidley said.

Knights break school record

North Andover's Max Almono, Eric Riedel, Kyle Quinn and Brendan Varney easily set a new 4x400 school record with a 3:29.99 that placed them eighth overall.

Game Statistics:

Team results: 1t. Mansfield 29; 1t. Newton North 29; 3. Acton-Boxborough 28; 29. Methuen 6; 43. Andover 4; 51. Lawrence 2    

Area placers:

300: 4. Bryan Browne of Georgetown (St. John's Prep) 35.59; 7. Robert Garcia (Lawrence) 35.83; Mile: Mike O'Donnell (Methuen) 4:19.21; 4x800: 5. Pat O'Sullivan, Will Klein, Michael Maldari, Ryan Cooney (Andover) 8:04.69; 7. Danny O'Connell, Adam Gidley. Adrien Fleury, Sean Murphy (Central) 8:10.17; 4x400: 8. Max Almono, Eric Riedel, Kyle Quinn, Brendan Varney (North Andover) 3:29.99


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