By Dave Dyer
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Under blistering conditions, with temperatures already in the 80s and accompanied by high humidity, Connor Habib was up to the challenge.
The former Central Catholic standout from Methuen couldn’t quite prevail in the North Andover 4th of July 5K yesterday morning, but he showed that he is back on schedule. He finished second in 17:12, 22 seconds behind the winner, Taylor Roberts of Newburyport.
An upcoming junior at UMass Lowell, Habib missed the entire 2012 cross country season and much of the track season because of mononucleosis. He’s just now rounding back into top form.
“This is my first (road) race of the year and I thought it went pretty good,” said Habib, who now lives is Hampton, N.H. “I wanted to get a good workout and I got that.
“I couldn’t quite stay with him (Roberts) but I’m a little banged up from running heavy mileage, so I’m pretty happy with it. I hope to crack the top five next year (for UMass Lowell cross country).”
For much of the race, Habib gave the more experienced Roberts all he could handle. A Newburyport High grad, Roberts ran for four years at Quinnipiac. He currently lives in New Jersey, working for New Balance, and recently ran the New Jersey President’s Cup 5K.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted and this (North Andover) race was a chance to redeem myself,” said Roberts, who was back visiting friends and relatives. “This seemed like a good race and it had a good field.”
Finishing third in 17:34 was former North Andover High standout Alex Sullivan, who is headed to UMass Amherst in the fall after taking a year off from academics
Multi-time winner Kevin Alliette, the Methuen High assistant coach, was fourth in 17:48. Alliette has not had the time to train as much as he would like.
Martyn top woman
UMass Amherst senior Katrina Martyn has run the North Andover 4th of July 5K for years, including last year, when it was an informal gathering primarily of Borderline Running Club (BRC) members. This year, with the race brought back as an official entity by the BRC and more than 700 finishers (800 were registered) in the 5K and 10K races combined, it was far superior.
“It was awesome this year, with the music playing as you finished and all the people,” said Martyn. “Last year was rainy, cold and there weren’t many people.”
There was one similarity, however. Martyn was the first female finisher last year and she bested the much larger 5K field yesterday, finishing 17th overall in 21:45. Her younger sister and training partner, Deirdre, who will be joining her at UMass as a freshman, was the third female yesterday, taking 27th overall in 22:45.
“We run the course a lot so we’re used to it,” said Katrina. “The (uphill) start is brutal but I’d rather get Johnson Hill over with. Then you have to deal with Salem Hill. That’s really tough, too.”
The Martyn sisters appear to be in good shape as they prepare to run together for the UMass Amherst cross country team in the fall. They may slip a bit when they go on a three-week trip to London and Ireland.
Welcome toNorth Andover!
Mark LaRosa, who moved with his family to North Andover from Melrose four days previously, was happy to jump into the North Andover 4th of July 10K.
“This is my debut race here and it was great, “ said LaRosa. “My time was a bit slower than I wanted, but I just wanted to do the best I could.”
That effort was good enough to take top honors in the 10K in 35:08, comfortably ahead of runner-up Scott VanderMolen of Medford, who finished in 35:40.
LaRosa, 35, originally ran cross country and track at Danbury (Conn.) High and then ran for four years at the University of Rhode Island, where he was indoor league champion in the 800 in 1:54.84.
VanderMolen is a 2011 graduate of UMass Amherst, where he captained the cross country team and ran a 1:51.39 800.
The top female finisher in the 10K was Clara Kelly of Boxford, who came in 13th overall in 42:05. North Andover’s Kelly Brown was next, in 23rd in 44:19.
Among the age-group winners yesterday, North Andover’s Amy Tibbetts was perhaps the most impressive, winning the 14-and-under 5K race despite only being 6 years old. Among the other impressive 5K age-group winners were Methuen’s Joe St. Cyr in the 15-19 age division (18:29) and North Andover’s Michelle Lafond in the 30-39 female division (22:51).
Particularly impressive among the 10K age-group winners was North Andover’s Amy Quinlan. She won the 40-49 division in 46:12, an excellent time in the extreme heat.
North Andover4th of July 5K
1. Taylor Roberts 16:50, 2. Connor Habib 17:12, 3. Alex Sullivan 17:34, 4. Kevin Alliette 17:48, 5. Joe St. Cyr 18:29, 6. Kevin Fung 19:25, 7. Tim Coppa 19:37, 8. Derek Napoli 19:56, 9. Jonathan Morris 20:07, 10. Patrick Lawlor 20:11, 11. Brian Moody 20:13, 12. John Mathew 20:27
14-and-under — Zachary Mills, 23:24; 15-19 — Joe St. Cyr 18:29, 20-29 — Tim Coppa 19:37; 30-39 — Kevin Alliette 17:48; 40-49 — Jonathan Morris 20:07; 50-59 — John Lennhoff 22:40; 60-69 — Rick Bayko 22:54; 70-and-over — Michael Bryson 28:13
14-and-under — Amy Tibbetts 29:47; 15-19 — Taylor Landers 24:51; 20-29 — Ashley Bock 23:04; 30-39 — Michelle Lafond 22:51; 40-49 — Michelle Roche 23:05; 50-59 — Liz Marshall 26:09; 60-69 — Ann Kucharski 26:54; 70-79 — Judith Nowinski 39:39
North Andover4th of July 10K
1. Mark LaRosa 35:08, 2. Scott VanderMolen 35:40, 3. Greg Englehart 37:45, 4. Matt Czaplinski 38:55, 5. Thor Kieleis 39:27, 6. Richard Cotta 39:55, 7. Jose Loureiro 40;11, 8. Dan Chruniak 41:01, 9. Geremia Ortega 41:17, 10. Peter Brown 41:30, 11. John Ottaviani Jr. 41:45, 12. Michael Sack 42:05
14-and-under — Gregory Petrov 48:16; 15-19 — Connor Boudreau 60:33; 20-29 — Dan Chruniak 41:01; 30-39 — Richard Cotta 39:55; 40-49 — Matt Czaplinski 38:55; 50-59 — Janos Mako 42:15; 60-69 — Tom Kinneman 42:53; 70-79 — John Boness 55:18
15-19 — Emily O’Brien 48:20; 20-29 — Sara Stevens 53:41; 30-39 — Kendra Pacella 46:55; 40-49 — Amy Quinlan 46:12; 50-59 — Lisa Plume 51:36; 60-69 — Janet Lees 1:36:15