NASHUA — Going into the two-day season-ending N.H. Decathlon, Kevin Cheam had modest goals.
“I just wanted to enjoy competing with all of these great athletes and have fun with my teammates one last time,” the Pelham senior said.
Well, he accomplished much more than that at North and South High Schools in Nashua.
Taking home victories in two of his regular events, the long jump and the 110-meter hurdles, and adding a surprising finish in an event he never attempted before, Cheam bested 80 other finishers to take home the title as the state’s best overall athlete. He finished with 5,433 points, 152 points better than runner-up Shawn Case of Manchester Memorial.
“I was surprised that I led,” Cheam said of his first-ever time in the Decathlon. “I thought I was a good athlete, I just didn’t think I could compete with the others here.”
With top-10 finishes in seven of the 10 events, Cheam proved he belonged and even provided some surprises.
Save for the hurdles, Cheam never competed in any of yesterday’s events but pulled off a gem of a javelin throw. After a couple of wobbly practice tosses, he uncorked a missile that injured his throwing elbow but soared 148-10 that was good for second place and 520 key points.
Add on a ninth in the discus to go with his hurdles victory and the victory was locked up.
“Kevin has always been very talented but, over the years, his work ethic has improved tremendously,” said Pythons coach Don Mullen. “His dedication to himself and his team has grown exponentially. I’m very proud of him. The decathlon really rewards the best athletes of N.H., and it shows where he belongs.”
Also showing well was Pinkerton’s T.J. Urbanik, who finished seventh with 4,744 points highlighted by his fourth-place in the javelin (141-3).