EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

February 17, 2013

O'Donnell wins Division 1 state mile

Andover's Comeau, Kobelski and Hillies' Mayhew all place second

BOSTON — UConn-bound runner Mike O’Donnell has a cross-country and track resume about a mile long filled with honors.

One honor, however, that was missing entering yesterday’s Division 1 meet: A state track championship in an individual event.

Not anymore though.

O’Donnell won the mile (4:18.01), finishing a little more than 2 seconds faster than Brookline’s Sam Burrington, who finished second.

O’Donnell helped Methuen boys place 11th at the meet, which was at the Reggie Lewis Center.

“I knew coming in this year I had a good chance to win it and to be able to come in and win it, it made it that much better,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell knows several of his mile opponents rather well. He is good friends with Lowell’s Pat Coppinger, who finished third.

“I hang out with him on the weekends,” O’Donnell said. “And Quinn Cooney, a sophomore from Chelmsford (who finished fifth), also is a pretty good friend of mine. We talk to each other all the time.

“Having our conference (MVC) be so strong, and having that many guys (from it) seeded in a state meet, it just really helps pull you along because I could see Pat out of the corner of my eye. Just knowing he was there, I knew what I was doing was right.”

O’Donnell has come a long way in four years and he just keeps getting better.

“Four years ago, I was just a little freshman, and I think I ran the 4x400 at this meet,” he said. “I was just glad to be on the relay team. And (back then) I was watching the guys on the podium and was like, ‘That’s awesome.’ I looked up to them. And now I’m that person.”

Methuen’s John St. Hilaire, who came in sixth in the 600 (1:24.10), said, “Mike O’Donnell is fantastic. He’s always encouraging us, telling us we can do it. He’s just a great leader and a great captain.”

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