Londonderry Lancers Boys Track and Field '08

Sat, Apr 19, 2008 10:00 AM @ Haverhill
Team Final
Ottaviani Haverhill Invitational Meet
Central Catholic 69
Whitman-Hanson 60
Reading 55
St. John's 49
Timberlane 36
Pinkerton 34
Manchester Memorial 30
Chelmsford 28
Andover 27
Lowell 24
Merrimack 24
Nashua South 22
Londonderry 20
Methuen 18
Dracut 15
Billerica 13
Nashua North 13
Salem 11
at Haverhill 8
Lawrence 1
Souhegan 1
Carl Russo, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Ottaviani Haverhill Invitational Meet

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Sunday, April, 20 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

Lawrence's KB Oshodi has been one of Central Catholic's best and brightest track stars. And he has the Raider football program to thank for it.

"In my freshman year, the football coaches wanted to get us to do track," Oshodi explained. "They said it would be good to try and do a lot of different stuff. In the triple jump, in my first year, I was doing better than the varsity guys. I did well and I just continued to improve."

And is it unusual for coaches in a sport you don't even play (Oshodi also competes in basketball and is a two-time soccer all-star) to point you in a personally beneficial direction? Not at Central Catholic.

"It's a family thing," Oshodi said. "They want to see us do well."

The senior is a prime example of that success. Still riding high after Central's state championship hoop run, Oshodi jump-started his spring yesterday as he was named the most outstanding athlete at the 32nd annual John Ottaviani Haverhill Invitational Meet, the best of a 744-member field at Haverhill High.

Oshodi easily won in his speciality, the triple jump, with a distance of 42-7. After placing a strong third in the 100 meter dash, his closing kick lifted Central's 4x100 relay team to the top spot both in the event and the team standings as the Raiders (69 points) snuck past Whitman-Hanson (60 points). It was Central's third crown in the last four years.

The sprints have become a new addition for Oshodi and Central's arsenal.

"He never ran the 100 until this year," head coach Sully Grella said. "He always ran for us on the JVs, but the way he's matured physically made him a candidate. In our time trials this year, he ran the best time in the 100 and since then he's been our best. You find a diamond in the rough and sometimes that diamond gets shinier."

With six solid weeks of competition left, Oshodi's immediate goal is to take down his school's triple jump record of 44-11, feeling that he's "on pace for that." Then, if all goes well, he could continue his athletic endeavors in college. Drexel University in Philadelphia and Wesleyan in Connecticut are on his immediate radar.

"If I go to Drexel, I might try to walk-on in track," Oshodi concluded. "At Wesleyan, it's narrowed down to soccer and basketball."

Andover's Santi Costello helped his squad to ninth overall (27 points) by way of his victory in the long jump (20-8). The senior also finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (16.06).

Dresser, Timberlane lead N.H. contingent

Timberlane has to be happy with its fifth place finish, the best of all New Hampshire entrants, providing key insight into the remainder of the season.

"By far, this was our best performance ever at the meet," Owl coach Mark Behan related. "We were thrilled with the way the kids competed today."

The Owls (36 points) edged Pinkerton (34) to place in the top five, with Manchester Memorial (7th, 30 points), Merrimack (10th) and Londonderry (13th) in the rearview mirror.

"We had our first dual meet this week," Behan said. "It's very early in the season and this is a high-caliber meet. The kids had a great day and we're off to a great start."

Most impressive in the early going was co-captain Cole Dresser, who took top honors in the 200 meter dash (23.08), placed an impressive fourth in the long jump (20-1<1/2>) and ran a leg in the Owls' fifth place 4x100 relay. Both individual finishes set new personal bests for the senior.

"It's nice when your top guy is the hardest worker on your team," Behan said. "He's one of the best sprinters in New Hampshire and he sets a good example for his teammates. He takes the sport very seriously and it's great he did so well on a big stage."

Joining Dresser in the winner's circle for the Owls was Cam Lyle as the junior obliterated the field with a 49-5 toss in the shot put. He won the event by 1<1/2> feet and improved his personal best by two feet.

Despite having no individual titlists, the Astros scored in five events led by senior Andrew Pino, who placed second in the 400 (51.52) and ran the anchor leg in the victorious 4x400 relay (3:31.62).

"Last year I ran a 52.5 in the 400, so gauging from that I'm happy with how things are going," Pino said. "With the good N.H. school and Mass. Division 1 teams, it's really competitive. You expect everyone to have fast times."

The Lancers held out last year's pole vault winner Brendan Bice due to a winter knee injury that he's rehabilitating.

"He's been practicing and he hit a 12-0 Tuesday (his winning height last year), but I don't think he's ready," coach Paul Dutton said. "It's hard but we remind him we need him come May and June."

Perfect weather, not-so-perfect track

 With sunny skies, calm winds and temperatures in the 70's, every local athlete and coach marvelled at the late-June conditions on an April day.

"We've had nasty days over our 32 years and held this meet in terrible weather," John Ottaviani said, "but (yesterday) makes it all worthwhile."

Londonderry Dutton concurred, saying, "It's easy to get carried away this early in the year with weather like this. For a mid-April meet, it went very well."

But with a stellar cast of two dozen of the area's best, it's a shame the meet has to be contested in an obviously decaying environment. Tony Sapienza Track is certainly showing its age with the cushion of the rubber surface showing stiffness and actually missing on several spots of the inside lane, showing the paved base.

"The track surface could be better," Pino said. "The turns are not as sharp as they could be and the rubber is old. But that's no excuse if you come up with bad times."

In all, the event drew high marks for turnout and management.

"Haverhill does a good job running its meet," Behan concluded. "They keep things moving well and that's important."

2 Story Comments

0         ppierce365

If Haverhill were to redo the track, they'd have one of the better facilities around. They have an entire area devoted to track and field, but the track is clearly decaying. Imagine they had a beautiful track, LJ/TJ pits, etc, etc! How many high school track programs can boast that they have that? On that note, we saw a bunch of PRs yesterday on the track, so, I don't think it really played much of a role in the meet itself. As they mentioned in the article, Haverhill runs a beautiful meet, and I felt it was a great success.

Report! #1 04/20/2008 04:51 PM

0         John DiBitetto

Kudos to all involved in the Haverhill Invitational track meet for an outstanding event!

Report! #2 04/21/2008 10:52 AM