Girls Track and Field

Girl Power; Star-studded group should dazzle Merrimack Valley this spring

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Saturday, March, 29 By Andrew Baumgartner
Staff writer

Equal rights will be a major issue in high school track and field.

But it will be the local boys who may have to picket and lobby for fair treatment. Their female counterparts should again gather the lion's share of the headlines, records and honors. Last spring there were 36 additions to the area's all-time list on the distance side and only five male additions.

While that may be a dramatic difference, Mike Maguire, who coaches Haverhill's boys and girls teams, said that may be more the exception than the rule.

"I don't think it's any one thing in particular," said Maguire, whose ace distance man Pat Fullerton could have moved up the list in two or three different events last spring if it weren't for injuries. "Definitely lacrosse might be taking some athletes. I think it's just a blip. I don't think it's a long-term trend."

The year before it was far less lopsided with 15 additions on the boys side to 31 on the girls. And to be fair, boys track has been around much longer so it is harder to crack that list.

It should be another banner year for the local girls.

Timberlane junior Lindsey Patterson twice broke the area record in the pole vault last year including her 11-6<1/2> at Boston University in December.

Central junior Lauren Berg is already ranked third in the javelin and she had a stellar indoor season in her first time throwing the shot put. Timberlane senior Sarah Trahan also is knocking on the door of cracking the list in the shot.

Pinkerton senior Bree Robinson is a tour de force in whatever she attempts with her long jumping, sprinting and heptathlon skills, which are all among the elite in area history.

There is an embarrassment of riches in the sprints with All-State 55-meter champion senior Christina Muccio of Andover, North Reading senior Alexis Capozzi, Haverhill junior Sam Stabile, Andover junior Melissa Knapp already on the list and Haverhill freshman Rebecca Stabile flashing similar ability in a terrific indoor season.

The star power doesn't end in the sprints.

North Reading senior Shannon Conway and Central Catholic senior Sara Missert both are primed to put their name atop the 400 list.

The 800 record appeared vulnerable last year and a pair of underclassmen showed why. North Andover's Kirsten Kasper and Andover's Colleen Shannon both crushed the previous mark last spring and are back for more in what should be exciting junior campaigns.

Should Kasper concentrate on the mile, she could make a run at that mark, too. Since she doesn't run locally, Keely Maguire of Georgetown, a school-choice student at Triton, isn't eligible for the area rankings, but she may be the state's premier miler with a 4:56.13 to her credit indoors.

Pentucket's Paige Sutherland had a terrific season indoors, but the senior miler plays softball in the spring. A couple other seniors on the list are Pinkerton's Aryon Trujillo and Timberlane's Kelly Desharnais. The latter could slice considerable time off her personal best if she can overcome the nagging injuries which have dogged her of late.

Andover's relay teams have been on fire with last year's 4x100 quartet setting the area record on the 4x400 squad moving to second all-time. With the likes of Muccio, Knapp, Shannon, Kayley Pettoruto, Vanessa Singleton, Bizzy DiTroia, Sarah York et. al, the Golden Warriors are prepared to go even faster.

Kasper and Rebecca Baker return from the North Andover 4x800 team which ran the fastest time in area history last spring.

Timberlane junior Katherine Grzejka could make a run at Bree Robinson in the heptathlon.

Central senior Mike Bakhtiari has been one of the state's best in the 800 for two years. He hopes to snap his two-year-old school record of 1:55.84. Pentucket senior Eric McDonald has made the cut in the mile and has the potential to move up the list.

A spring track newcomer, Andover sophomore Christopher McConnell comes with quite the resume. The former baseball player is the reigning All-State 55-meter winner indoors. Another terrific sprinter, Lawrence's Ruben Sosa, will continue to use his speed on the basepaths, not the straightaways.

Three seniors who could make the list are Andover long jumper Santi Costello, Central triple jumper KB Oshodi and Londonderry pole vaulter Brenden Bice.

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