By David Willis
ANDOVER — Asked if he owned the Haverhill High record in the 100-meter dash a week ago, the very modest Alex Mayhew — with the help of more than a little encouragement — provided a prediction with his answer.
“No, not yet,” he said with a laugh.
Yesterday, Mayhew made good on his promise.
The Haverhill High senior broke the school record not once but twice in the dash, finishing with a 10.95 for one of his two individual victories yesterday at the Merrimack Valley Conference Meet at Eugene V. Lovely Field.
“This was a great day,” said Mayhew. “I was pretty nervous going into the meet, but I knew I was ready.
Led by triple jumper Hannah Chapman, host Andover girls took the team title with 122 points, edging Lowell (116). The Red Raiders took the boys title.
“The girls really came through and I am so proud of them,” said Golden Warrior senior Ryan MacRae. “We came through with some big throws and great work by the runners. For me, as a senior, winning MVCs is so sweet.”
For Mayhew, the Hillie dash record was a mark he has been dreaming of since watching Joe Hicks set the record (hand-timed 11.04) three years ago.
“Hicks was one of my best friends when I was a freshman and I really looked up to him,” said Mayhew. “He was fast. I wanted to do it last week, so this week I wanted to get it done early.”
He did just that, setting a new Haverhill record with a 10.97 in the preliminaries.
“That was such a relief,” he said. “If I didn’t break it in trials I would feel like I had to break it in the finals. Once I did it once, I was confident I could do it again.”
A couple hours later, Mayhew broke his brand-new record by running a 10.95, good for eighth best in area history.
He wasn’t done there, also taking first in the triple jump (21-5).
“I fouled a few times, but I had enough good jumps to take the win,” he said. “I’m proud of the day.”
Chapman makes good
No one came up bigger for the girl champion Golden Warriors than Hannah Chapman, who had quite a chip on her shoulder after having her winning triple jump disallowed due to a foul last week.
“My first jump I just told myself I was going to go out and match that jump right away,” she said. “I did it with a 36-2 and kept going. I redeemed myself today.”
The star sophomore took the triple jump with a 36-6, the ninth best in area history and just short of the school record of 36-7 set by Emily Belluche two years ago.
“I wanted to break that record so much,” said Chapman, who was also second in the long jump (16-7). “But I got my personal best and it feels good to get the win. It means a lot to be MVC champ. Now I want to break the record next week.”
Ogwuru flies to win
Ahamdi Ogwuru really wanted to jump 6-4 yesterday. That may not have happened, but an MVC title was a pretty good consolation prize.
“I definitely wanted the MVC championship,” he said. “I was taking on a tough group including my teammate (Patrick Irwin). I felt like I was in the zone for a while. I matched my PR, and I felt like I was jumping higher than the other times I reached 6-2.”
Now, he has that next mark on his mind.
“I thought I could get 6-4, and on my first attempt the bar just barely fell off just when I was getting off the mat,” he said. “But that’s OK. There’s always another time at states.”
Central’s photo finish
Central Catholic’s Taylor DePalo could have quit and settled for second when she was overtaken by the Billerica runner 200 meters into the 4x400’s anchor leg.
But DePalo wasn’t about to accept defeat.
“Once I hit the (final) 100 I could hear my whole team cheering for me and I was not going to let them down,” she said. “I just had to push it and give it everything I could.”
DePalo caught up to Billerica anchor — and 200 meter champ — Katie Mulkerin with just 50 meters to go, and just feet in front of the finish line took the lead and finished off the win.
“I had to forget how tired I was and give it my all,” she said. “My teammates had run a great race, and I had to win it for them.”
Warriors rule relays
With Saturday night’s Andover High prom fast approaching and one runner ducking out early, the Golden Warriors found themselves in need of replacement for their 4x100 relay.
Insert Natalie Wagner, and the Warriors didn’t miss a step on the way to victory in 50.57.
“We all had confidence in Natalie,” said senior second leg Rachel Annino. “She has run with us so much and knew she could fit right in. We didn’t even need to practice handoffs. It was so huge to take the win.”
For Wagner, it was the call she was thrilled to receive.
“Coach (Peter) Comeau came up to me and said, ‘Ok, you’re in,’” she said. “I had to get ready quick, but it turned out great.”
The Golden Warrior boys also got in on the fun, with the 4x400 running to victory in 3:30.62.
“We were cool and confident and we knew we just had to run how we run to win,” said Oliver Eberth. “Sea bass (Sebastian Silveira) ran a great opening leg, I got it to (Matt) Reardon who was great and the freight train (Hamza Naveed) took home the win.”
Haverhill’s Riley Gilmore had one thought, start fast.
“My goal was to get out as fast as I could and hold on as long as I could,” she said.
Gilmore held on just fine, winning the two-mile in 11:21.57.
“I was so happy to win the MVC title,” she said. “Ever since I was a freshman I have dreamed of that. I have been working for it for a while and I finally did it.”
Gold, then gone
Methuen senior Sam Weeks was back in form, winning the discus with a stellar 142-1. He then left right after to go on a college visit.
Andover star and modern area javelin record-holder Mark Zavrl took the victory in that event with a 187-10 — the second best in modern area history. He was then off to get ready for the prom.