By David Willis
ANDOVER — After holding the record for 40 years, former Methuen star John Janowski knew he had to be in attendance to watch another Ranger, record-setting Mike O’Donnell, take down his mark.
“My high school track coach, (Roger) Fuller is still the coach today and he called my father,” said Janowski. “He said, ‘I think Mike is going to break your record. How would you like to come down for the race?’ I thought it was fantastic. I was hoping, if he broke the record, he was going to beat it by a large margin, and he did.”
O’Donnell certainly did not disappoint.
The star Ranger senior blazed to victory in the mile in 4:17.76 yesterday, shattering the Andover Boosters Meet record of 4:24.5 set by then-Methuen senior Janowski in 1973.
“It was definitely a very special day,” said O’Donnell. “Coach has been talking to me about this record since last year and I really wanted it. So to do it today, with John — who didn’t have to come — here and coach Fuller here is definitely big.”
With O’Donnell firmly established as a star — he is a three-time Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year — Fuller knew the chances were good yesterday was going to be a memorable day.
“I called John up to say, ‘How about this scenario?” said Fuller, now in his 43rd year coaching the Rangers. “It’s been 40 years since he set the record, and now we have Michael that can break it. I asked John if he could come, then I presented it to Michael. He knew how much it meant to me. It was a great setup as long as it worked out.”
The UConn-bound O’Donnell answered the bell, and after winning was embraced by both Fuller and Janowski.
“Mike is a fantastic runner,” said Janowski, who also ran at the Lowell Technological Institute (now UMass Lowell) and now lives in Reading. “I think the sky is the limit. He has the mindset, he has the build. I just told him to run as fast as he can and have no regrets.”
While O’Donnell blew away the competition, No. 2 Scott Arsenault finished in 4:24.82, he knew he had to make the record happen.
“When I was through 800 (meters) I was feeling better than I had in weeks. I looked the clock with 100 meters left and I started counting it down in my head. I knew what I had to do, so I gave it everything I had to the finish. The hard work paid off.”
Despite the different eras, Fuller certainly sees similarities in the two Methuen greats.
“They are both great runners, great athletes and great people,” said the veteran coach. “John also won the state title in the mile, which Michael did indoors. Now hopefully he does it outdoors too.”
Doherty doubles up
As Andover Boosters approached, Central Catholic star Ryan Doherty considered cutting down his workload.
“I actually talked to my coaches about dropping the javelin and just going with the shot put,” said Doherty, a two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the shot. “But I knew I would be sitting there thinking about how I would throw the jav. I love to compete and I don’t mind always doing something.”
Doherty had no regrets yesterday, winning both the shot put (52-8) and javelin (166-7).
“I feel like I am peaking at the right time,” said Doherty. “I was seeded third in both events, but I knew if I came and did everything I could I could end up first. I also love the (throwing) circle at Andover. I am excited with the meets on the way.”
Mayhew does it all
Haverhill’s Alex Mayhew had no time to celebrate his victory in the 200. He had to run across the field — literally — to compete in the long jump.
“It’s pretty tough on your body,” said Mayhew. “I did the 200, then had to go straight over and jumped three jumps right in a row. I had to push myself hard. But I like it.”
Mayhew surged to victory in the 200 in a stellar 22.13. He then rebounded to place second in the long jump with a 20-10 1/2.
“I want the school record in the 200,” he said. “I didn’t get that, but I did set a personal best.”
Andover senior Cassie Kobelski was long gone by the time meet ended yesterday. Her sister’s First Holy Communion was taking place at the time.
“I love watching my teammates compete,” she said. “But I had to be there for my little sister. So I did some of everything. And I was close to my personal best (39-2).”
Kobelski made her mark before the left, winning the shot put with a 38-7, nearly a foot better than No. 2. That proved to be the only first-place finish for a local female on the day. She was also sixth in the discus (98-5).
“This was a great way to get going,” she said. “It gets me in the habit of competing on Saturdays (for big meets). Once I start getting into the major meets I have to start focusing on technique and what I can do.”
Irwin saves best for first
North Andover triple jumper Patrick Irwin had been plagued by an issue in recent weeks.
“I’ve been fouling a lot on my first jump of meets,” said Irwin. “And a lot of times they are my best jump. So today I was careful, started with a huge jump and that was enough.”
On his first jump, Irwin scored a 43-5 1/2 that was good enough to take gold.
“I was seeded second,” he said. “I don’t like to be anything but first, so I wanted to show I was better than the rest.”
Planting seeds of title
Andover’s Hannah Chapman ended up second in the triple jump with a 34-9 1/2, but she knows she could have had the win.
“My last jump I went all out and I fouled by this much,” she said. “We measured it and it was a 36-2. The winner jumped 35-3. I would have won by almost a foot. But when you get a great jump and you know how it feels, you feel like you can recreate it.”
agateHed:Andover Boosters Boys Invitational
agateText:Top 5 team scores plus locals: 1. Reading 54, 2. Central Catholic 50, 3. Newton South 44, 4. Lexington 43, 5. Acton-Boxboro 36; (also), 8. North Andover 25, 10. Haverhill 24, 13. Andover 21, 16. Methuen 17, 18. North Reading 15, 22. Lawrence 4
agateText:Winners and area placers:
agateText:Pole vault: 1. Ben Eisenberg (Newton South) 13-6, 4. Ray Belanger-Deloge (CC) 12-0, 5. Jonathan Mendonca (CC) 11-6, 6. Cam Hastings (NR) 11-6; Shot put: 1. Ryan Doherty (CC) 52-8, 5. David Veilleux (CC) 50-0, 6. Sam Weeks (Meth) 49-4; Discus: 1. Ryan Kim (NS) 152-6, 3. Weeks (Meth) 140-5, 5. Jakob Crisante (NA) 121-5; Javelin: 1. Doherty (CC) 166-7, 3. Ryan Canney (Hav) 161-8; Long jump: 1. Rafael Guzman (CR&L) 21-9, 2. Alex Mayhew (Hav) 20-10 1/2, 3. John Braga (NR) 20-8 1/2; Triple jump: 1. Patrick Irwin (NA) 43-5 1/2, 5. Joe Staudt (NA) 40-4 1/2; High jump: 1. Guzman (CR&L) 6-4, 2. Braga (NR) 6-2
agateText:110 hurdles: D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie (CC) 14.98, 3. Zach Kryznski (CC) 15.54, 6. Joseph Staudt (NA) 15.73; 100 meters: 1. Chris Nennami (Peabody) 11.06, 5. Bryan Morales (Law) 11.38; Mile: 1. Mike O’Donnell (Meth) 4:17.76; 4x100 relay: 1. Acton-Boxboro 43.57; 400: 1. J.D. Greenfield (Reading) 50.07, 6. Sebastian Silveira (And) 52.54; 400 hurdles: 1, Peter Katsarakes (Lex) 55.21, 3. Alex Dehullu (CC) 56.69, 6. David Rose (NA) 57.73; 800: 1. Peter Garmon (Bill) 1:56.69, 2. Jacob Johns (NA) 1:57.44, 3. Mike Maldari (And) 1:59.44, 6. Dan Marino (NA) 2:01.25; 200: 1. Mayhew (Hav) 22.13, 3. Hamza Naveed (And) 22.69, 5. Jose Adames (Law) 23.06; 2-mile: 1. Nate Adams (Lex) 9:41.25; 4x400 relay: 1. Reading 3:26.62, 2. Andover 3:31.03; 4x800: 1. Billerica 8:04.44
agateHed:Andover Booster Girls Invitational
agateText:Top 5 team scores plus locals: 1. Lexington 63, 2. Acton-Boxboro 49.75, 3. Cambridge Ringe & Latin 48, 4. Peabody 46, 5. Andover 43.75; (also) 7. Central Catholic 28, 9. North Reading 24, 19. North Andover 6, 21. Haverhill 1, 21. Methuen 1
agateText:Winners and area placers:
agateText:Pole vault: 1. Kyra Visnick (Newton South) 10-0, 2. Julia Valenti (NR) 9-6, 4. Helen Root (A) 8-6; Shot put: 1. Cassie Kobelski (And) 38-7, 3. Emily Murray (NR) 36-5, 5. Ryan MacRae (And) 35-3; Discus: 1. Vanessa O’Connor (Reading) 105-11, 2. Erika Johnson (CC) 101-6, 4. MacRae (And) 100-4, 6. Kobelski (And) 98-5; Javelin: 1. Chelsee Porcaro (Tewks) 115-3, 3. Andrea Pennock (And) 101-1; Long jump: 1. Nicole Galewski (Witman-Hanson) 17-5. 4. Erin Carroll (CC) 15-8; Triple jump: 1. Anchella Bernard (CR&L) 35-3, 2. Hannah Chapman (And) 34-9 1/2
agateText:100 hurdles: 1. Katie Hitchcock-Smith (Brookline) 15.22, 3. Cole Godzinski (NR) 15.28; 100 meters: 1. Tulie Finley-Moise (Lex) 12.67, 5. Rachel Annino (And) 12.94; Mile: 1. Karina Shepard (Dracut) 5:01.36, 6. Riley Gimore (Hav) 5:15.16; 4x100 relay: 1. Lexington 50.46, 2. Andover 50.91, 6. North Andover 51.42; 400: 1. Robin Gross (Lex) 57.88, 4. Taylor DePalo (CC) 1:00.07; 400 hurdles: 1. Kelly Quigley (Tewks) 1:04.62; 800: 1. Heather MacLean (Peabody) 2:14.79, 3. Kylie Regan (CC) 2:17.80, 5. Nicole Roberts (NR) 2:20.26; 200: 1. Sydney Fisher (CR&L) 26.18, 6. Jenna Smolag (NA) 26.52; 2-mile: 1. Catarina Rocha (Peabody) 10:30.66, 4. Tiffany Simione (CC) 11:43.61, 5. Danielle Voke (NA) 11:44.78, Leila Aruri (And) 11:48.47; 4x400 relay: 1. Lexington 4:04.00, 5. Central Catholic 4:11.30, 6. North Andover 4:14.90; 4x800: 1. Dracut 9:35.38