Andover Runner-Up at NEPSTA Championships
At Loomis on May 19, 2018 at 10:00 AM
The Andover boy’s track and field team used a late surge to capture a stunning second place finish in the 2018 NEPSTA Division I Championships.
With the rain falling and temperatures in the low fifties, the conditions at the 2018 NESPTA Division I Championships were hardly ideal. But the Andover boy’s track and field team turned these conditions into their advantage, using a late surge to capture a stunning second place finish in the team competition, trailing only the hosts from Loomis.
The competition began with the field events, where Kareem Hill (2019) came up with a big leap of 19-10.00 in Long Jump to secure a place in the finals, ultimately taking sixth place in the event. Meanwhile, over in the Shot Put, Noble Ohakam (2018) added a sixth place finish of his own with a mark of 43-10.75, while Billy Wang used a season best throw of 144-03 in Javelin to take yet another sixth place finish, altogether securing the Big Blue three critical points in the team competition. From there attention would turn to the track, where Michael McCullom (2018) posted a season best time of 15.45 to win his preliminary heat of the 110m Hurdles and book a place in the finals, though Andover found themselves sitting in tenth place (out of twelve) at this point in the team completion. But the Big Blue would pick up some points in the 1500m to keep them in the hunt. With eight athletes in the mix heading down the stretch, Alex Fleury (2020) used a huge finish to secure second place in a new lower record of 4:00.62. Sam Tobin (2018) wasn’t far behind in eighth place, running a time of 4:06.31, a mark that would have taken fourth place last year. The eight points though moved Andover into seventh with 11, trailing Loomis (52), Avon (27.5), St. Paul’s (23.5), Hotchkiss (16), Choate (12), and Exeter (12).
The 400m and 100m finals, however, saw Andover slip back to eighth, but Michael McCullom again came up with a huge race in the 110m Hurdles, taking the win in a season best 15.26 seconds and earning ten points for the team, pushing Andover up into sixth with twenty-one points. Back to the field events, Abhinav Tadikonda (2020) cleared a personal best of 11-00.00 in the Pole Vault to finish in a three-way tie for fifth, while Michael Codrington (2018) unleashed a throw of 128-01 in the Discus to finish in second place, now vaulting Andover into a tie for third place with Exeter at 30 points, trailing only Loomis (84) and Avon (39.5). With second place now looking like a distinct possibility, the Big Blue began to grind out points. The 800m was next, where Alex Fleury used another gutsy finish to take third place, adding another lower record to his resume in 1:57.65. McCullom followed-up with his second victory of the day, this time in the 300m Hurdles, which saw him in a battle with a Deerfield athlete right to the line. McCullom dipped under 40 seconds with a time of 39.99, which was enough to secure the win. The completion of the triple jump and the 200m, however, saw Andover slip back to fourth with 46 points, just ahead of Choate (44) and trailing Avon (51.5) and Exeter (47) in the battle for second, now with only two events to go.
With the pressure on, Giacomo Marino (2018) and Spencer Davis (2018) both came up with huge personal bests in the 3000m, the former running 9:06.59 to take third and the latter running 9:11.89 to finish sixth, handing the Big Blue seven points and moving Andover in second place with the just the 4x400m to go. With everything on the line, the relay team of Nathan Goldthwaite, Alex Fleury, Sam Tobin, and Michael McCullom found themselves racing the clock in the first section of the event, where they needed to beat both Avon and Exeter, as well as post a time that could potentially score in order to hold off Choate. The Big Blue would win their heat in a time of 3:32.78, securing third place, which meant that it was now a waiting game to see if Andover would take the runner-up spot. The team from Choate did what they needed to do, finishing second in the event and momentarily pushing into second in the team competition with 56 points, but Andover’s time would hold on to beat the teams from Taft, Deerfield, and Loomis, meaning Andover would take both fourth in the 4x400m and four points in the team competition, leaving the Big Blue with 57 points – one more than Choate - to complete a stunning second place finish overall.
Further more detailed results.