By Dave Dyer
---- — METHUEN — Haverhill senior Riley Gilmore is enjoying, as she showed again yesterday afternoon, a banner season. But it’s also a season of adjustment for her.
Gilmore, who had never placed first before this year, took top honors in a tri-meet with Andover and Methuen, giving her four first places in five meets, finishing in 19:07 on Methuen’s 3-mile course, nine seconds ahead of Andover standout Leila Aruri.
Gilmore and Aruri have battled a lot over the last few years, with Gilmore usually coming out on top. They ran together for more than half the race before Gilmore pulled away.
“My plan was to stick with her the first mile because I’m usually best with my second mile, but I couldn’t make a move,” said Aruri, who was slowed for much of her junior season with a muscle abnormality. “She (Gilmore) is a tough runner.”
For her part, Gilmore likes to focus on her own running rather than worrying about the competition. She’s been one of the top runners in the Merrimack Valley Conference — in cross country and track — for years, but she’s been in the background behind some other standout Hillies, most recently Jackie Solimine, who is now running well at UMass Lowell.
“It felt good to finish first that first time (earlier in the year), but I miss Jackie,” said Gilmore, an outstanding student who is ranked fifth in her class. “It’s been a transition because we paced each other and she helped me a lot.
“But I’ve gotten good support from my teammates and I think I’m in really good shape. Plus, I’m confident in myself. This is my senior year and I think I know how to race better.”
Gilmore has also had to adjust as the team has enjoyed less success than in past years. After beating Methuen 24-34 yesterday but losing to Andover 25-30, the Hillies stood at just 4-4.
“It’s different not having a target on our back, but we’ve embraced the role of underdog,” said Gilmore. “We can still have a good season.”
Another senior, Methuen’s Marwah Haq, took third yesterday in 19:34, but Andover took three of the next four places. Sarah Rothmann was fourth for the Warriors (6-2) while Chantal Kellerd was fifth and Cate Donovan came in seventh.
Methuen boys win
Methuen sophomore Jeff Reddy continued his strong racing by taking first in the boys race as Methuen romped past both Haverhill and Andover to improve to 7-1.
Reddy finished the 3-mile course in 16:19, one second ahead of teammate Matt Marchand. Haverhill’s Chris White was third in 16:35 and Andover’s Max Galat was fourth in 16:42 before the Rangers took the next five spots.
A promising sign for Methuen was that four runners were at 17 minutes or less and the split between Reddy and No. 5 man Devin Allen was just 49 seconds.
Andover girls sweep
at Methuen (3.0 miles)
Team scores: Haverhill 24, Methuen 34; Andover 21, Methuen 38; Andover 25, Haverhill 30
Top finishers: 1. Riley Gilmore (H) 19:07, 2. Leila Aruri (A) 19:16, 3. Marwah Haq (M) 19:34, 4. Sarah Rothmann (A), 5. Chantal Kellerd (A) 20:14, 6. Samantha Wise (H) 20:28, 7. Cate Donovan (A) 20:34, 8. Jordan Hanson (M) 20:45, 9. Haylee Krenzer (H) 20:46, 10. Hannah Wunderlich (M) 20:47
Records: Andover 6-2, Methuen 2-6, Haverhill 4-4
Methuen boys sweep
at Methuen (3.0 miles)
Team scores: Methuen 18, Andover 43; Methuen 18, haverhill 45; Andover 20, Haverhill 41
Top finishers: 1. Jeff Reddy (M) 16:19, 2. Matt Marchand (M) 16:20, 3. Chris White (H) 16:35, 4. Max Galat (A) 16:42, 5. Cam Pavao (M) 16:47, 6. John St. Hilaire (M) 17:00, 7. Devin Allen (M) 17:08, 8. Will McGrath (M) 17:11, 9. David Ospina (M) 17:13, 10. Rob Perry (A) 17:39
Records: Andover 5-3, Methuen 7-1, Haverhill 1-7