NEPSTA Champions: Andover Victorious in Close Competition
On May 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Andover's 70-point total was enough to secure their first NEPSTA Division 1 Title since 2011, outdistancing Exeter (60), St. Paul's (59), and Loomis (58). Noah Ward (18 points) and Michael McCullom (16 points) were the high scorers for the Big Blue.
A wild day at the Ralph Lovshin Track in Exeter, NH saw the Andover boys crowned NEPSTA Division I Champions in one of closest competitions in meet history. Just sixteen points separated the top six teams, yet a third place finish in the 4x400m relay team ensured the title would belong to Andover, stopping their tally at seventy points on day. The Big Blue saw big performances from Noah Ward (’17) and Michael McCullom (’18), who accounted for nearly half the team’s total, though it was undoubtedly a collective effort, as thirteen different athletes contributed points in the winning effort. Even so, with the field events beginning some two hours before the running events, the Big Blue had the opportunity to net some points in the early going. Noah Ward’s throw of 169-08 in the Discus would grab Andover’s first and only win on the afternoon, with John Rex (’17) stepping up for third with a toss of 129-04 himself. Michael McGreal (’17) and Alex Apgar (’17) would also finish fourth and fifth in Javelin, posting marks of 165-09 and 162-04, respectively, putting Andover in second place (22 points) behind Hotchkiss (26 points) after three events. From there, however, things seemed to take a turn for the worst, as the 4x100m Relay team failed to connect on their first hand-off, resulting in a disqualification from the event. It is possible that a team with less mental fortitude would have allowed such a mishap to loom heavy over the rest of the meet, but the Big Blue would buckle down and keep grinding out points. Indeed, despite the DQ, a fifth place finish from Giacomo Marino (’18) in the 1500m (4:08.63) meant Andover were still in second place after five events, trailing Hotchkiss only by four. Some big points from Loomis in the Pole Vault and 400m, however, saw the Connecticut school shoot up into first place, but second and fifth place finishes in the Shot Put from Ward (55-00.00) and Rex (43-09.00) ensured Andover would stay in the mix, though now trailing Loomis by ten, 44 to 34. The focus would then turn to the straightaway, which saw two big performances for the Big Blue. After snagging the eighth and final spot in the preliminary rounds by a mere 0.01 seconds, Turner Corbett (’17) stepped up in a major way to claim fourth in the 100m Dash (11.41). Michael McCullom (’18) followed suit, using a strong surge over the last few hurdles to take second place in the 110m Hurdles with a time of 15.78 seconds, allowing Andover to reclaim the lead with 46 points to Loomis’s 44. Next on the track was the 800m Run, where Nathan Goldthwaite (’18) and Sam Tobin (’18) both ran personal bests of 1:59.90 and 2:00.32, respectively, good for fifth and sixth place, while a gutsy performance in Long Jump saw William Sirmon (’17) take fifth place with only a single jump (20-02.25) before having to halt due to a groin injury. Those five points meant Andover now trailed Loomis by only a single point, with Hotchkiss and Exeter in hot pursuit. Next up, however, were the 300m Hurdles and the 200m Dash, which may very well have been the turning point in the meet. Michael McCullom would again step up, taking second place in the former with a time of 41.51 seconds, whereupon TJ Urbanik (’17) used some fresh legs to net an unexpected fourth place finish in the latter with a time of 23.17 seconds. Those two finishes meant Andover had now compiled sixty-three points, eleven ahead of Loomis and Hotchkiss with three events to go. The Triple Jump and the 3000m were the last two individual events to finish up, where first and fourth places finishes from Exeter in the 3K saw the hosts shoot up to sixty points, though a sixth place finish from Giacamo Marino in the same event (9:18.54) meant Andover still held a four point lead over Exeter and a six point lead over Loomis heading into the 4x400m Relay, meaning a third place finish or higher from the Big Blue would secure the title. And the team of Owen Glover (’19), Sam Tobin (’18), TJ Urbanik, and William Hartemink (’17) would not disappoint. Capped by Hartemink’s 49.9 second split on the final leg, Andover would finish third place to secure the title in a season best time of 3:29.29. Andover will return to Exeter next weekend to conclude their season, where they will face their rivals in their annual dual meet.
Further more detailed results.