EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 8, 2012

O'Donnell at his best, cops Division 1 title

WRENTHAM — Mike O’Donnell had two goals yesterday at the Eastern Mass. Division 1 meet, and he reached both in rousing fashion.

“I wanted to beat him (Lexington rival Nathaniel Adams) and win the race and I wanted to be under 15:45,” said O’Donnell.

Mission accomplished big time.

O’Donnell made a move midway through the race, going straight with a surge when Adams swerved slightly, and then surged to victory with a brilliant time of 15:27, a personal-best by 23 seconds and a 29-second improvement on the same course in a month. He was a comfortable 16 seconds ahead of the runner-up Adams.

In the proud tradition of Methuen cross country, it’s the first time a Ranger has won the Eastern Mass. Division 1 race.

“I’m ecstatic, overwhelmed and every other emotion you can think of,” said O’Donnell, who lost to Adams earlier in the year and split with him last year.

With this highlight behind him, O’Donnell is now looking forward to the All-State Meet next Saturday in Northfield.

“I feel good and I’ll be ready for next week,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been working for — to finish in the top two or three.”

Unfortunately, O’Donnell won’t be joined in the race by his young teammates as the Rangers struggled as a team, finishing 12th.

Lowell dominated the team battle, finishing first with 47 points. St. John’s Prep, led by Tim Loehner in 11th and West Newbury’s Liam Dow in 16th, nailing down the fourth spot.

Andover’s Max Galat was 34th for the Warriors and Haverhill’s Christian White came in 41st.

In Division 2, which was won by Chelmsford, Central Catholic came in ninth and North Andover was 13th. Nick Bowden and Danny O’Connell led the Raiders, finishing 17th and 22nd respectively. Zach Fraelich was North Andover’s top finisher, in 33rd.

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