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TEWKSBURY – Coming off a 3-1 season a year ago, and having a good core of athletes back from both the cross-country and indoor seasons, the Tewksbury Memorial High School Boys Outdoor Track-and-Field team is hoping to continue that success this spring.
Two weeks ago when the Town Crier met up with head coach Peter Fortunato, the Redmen had yet to really practice outside to gear up for the team's season opening meet, which was held on Wednesday at Dracut with results not known as of presstime.
“Everybody in the area is in the same situation,” said Fortunato, referring to the bad weather and poor field and track conditions at the time. “We are doing the best that we can. We have good kids, good coaches and there hasn't been any hiccups yet.
“We're good right now. We have some kids in the parking lot, some in the hallways, some kids in the gym and we're making it work just like anybody else. We're lucky enough where the first week of the season we have a bye so hopefully the extra week helps us out with training so we have legit training on a track or a turf. So far, so good. We have great talent and leadership. Everybody is excited. We have big numbers once again this year as we have 76 kids, so things are looking good.”
Last year's team finished second in the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 Standings behind North Andover. Five talented kids, who scored their fair share of points are gone from that team including Mike Monahan, Paul Farias, Jake Cofer, Mike Catanzano and Jeff Carr. There's about six or so kids who return with a great deal of experience including Patrick Carleton and Joey Forest, who are coming off strong cross-country and indoor seasons, and then multi-sport athlete kids like Nolan Kavanaugh, Masyn Lorick, Cole Wescott and Steven Wilson.
“I think our strengths is that we are very deep,” said Fortunato. “We have a few good distance runners, a few good sprinters, a few good jumpers, a few good throwers so across the board, I'm not sure that we have a ton of studs but we have some really good kids, competitive kids and we have a lot of those types of kids. We are deep across the board and we're excited.”
Among the senior returners include distance runners Carleton and Forest as well as Josh Pelletier, David Naughton and Alec Hirtle, sprinters Jamie Boisseau, Nick Borges, Nick Chinappi, Mike Flynn, Kavanaugh, Alex Papageorgiou, Steven Wilson and Brian Wong. Flynn, Hirtle and Kavanaugh will also compete in the pole vault, Papageorgiou in the triple jump, Boisseau in the long jump and Lorick in the high jump. John Tsaousis (javelin) and Jack Callinan (discus) are also back in the throwing events.
Senior newcomers include Matt Zimmer (800/long jump), Josh Rosado (mile) and Troy Acconcia (long jump/hurdles).
The returning juniors include sprinters Ryan Smith, Colton Rusch, Matt Pelletier, Abdul Idris, David Crisci, Cameron Grace and Ryan Bennett as well as distance runners Joey Schifano, Casey Ryan, Lucas Gondola and Joe Balboni. Newcomers include Matt Cahill and Lucas Frost in the long jump, Jake Wrobel in the shot put, as well as Colby Wilson, Trace Trant, Brandon Tang (sprints), Jack Kelly and Jake Dillon (sprints).
The returning sophomores include sprinters: Jack Balboni, Zach Daigle, Matthew Houghton, Ryan Hunt, Christopher Nguyen and Thomas Stanieich, distance runners William Andella and Gustavo Tizotti, jumpers Thomas Barinelli and Zach LaLonde and throwers Alex Boudreau and Bricen Boudreault. Newcomers include Robert Chisholm, Matt Ferreira, Jake Graham, Ked Kaeokit, Michael Kelleher, Jeremiah Kakeeto, Patrick Killion, Jacob Nordstrom and Tyler Paulding.
A small group of freshmen are hoping to add depth and that group includes Soponwit Azzalina, Mihir Bagual, Zachary Connolly, Michael Cronin, Ethan Exilhomme, Justin Flynn, Cameron Gondola, Lovens Lamousnery, Richard Lavargna, Joshua Linnehan, Elias Melki, Conor Moynihan and Matthew Woods.
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