A glance at the field reveals 3 in pursuit of glory

Ali Carr of Chelmsford is a returning Globe All-Scholastic. Ali Carr of Chelmsford is a returning Globe All-Scholastic. (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
Email|Print| Text size + By Sapna Pathak
Globe Correspondent / January 10, 2008

A look at three area high school teams achieving success this winter.

Methuen finds balance
Cory Murray, a Top 20 finisher at the nationals in the shot put last winter, has graduated. So, too, has Guy Hudson, a nationally ranked distance runner. So Methuen High boys' indoor track coach Roger Fuller is trumpeting balance and depth.

"This is a very well-balanced team," said Fuller. "We're not leaning on one or two guys to carry us. We're very strong in hurdles and dash and have had the luxury of getting up early on teams because we're so strong in those events."

Thiomar Veras and Josh Adams are two of the best sprinters in the Merrimack Valley Conference, while Josue Henriquez, Sean Donahue, and Dan Thoren anchor the Rangers in the hurdles.

Senior captain Giuliano Pizzo, competing in the shot put, helped Methuen to wins over Tewksbury and Billerica. The Rangers' lone loss was a 44-42 setback to Central Catholic in the first week of the season.

"The past couple years we were winning everything," said Pizzo. "This year not a lot of people expected things from us because we lost a lot of strong guys." The seniors have "wanted to step up for a long time. We won the freshman/sophomore Merrimack Valley League meet and then lost as sophomores the next year. It was the first time that Methuen lost that meet in a while so we've been wanting to really show everyone what we can do."

Greater Lowell adjusts
After finishing second at last year's state vocational championship, the Greater Lowell coed swimming squad has struggled early with a challenging schedule. Under third-year head coach Lauren Akashian, Greater Lowell earned its first win last week, beating Minuteman.

"We lost a lot on both the girls' and boys' sides," said Akashian. "We're still getting a feel for what everyone's best event is since we're such a young team. But we do have talent and the leaders have emerged; we just need to get all the pieces in place."

Leading the team is junior Matt Bickford, the team's best in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke, and captain Thomas Meclair , who has qualified for the sectional and state meets in diving.

"We've had a tough schedule so far," said Akashian.

"But the competition at practice is even tougher, which is a good sign of a strong and consistent team."

Chelmsford perfect
The Chelmsford High girls' gymnastics team is off to a 3-0 start, despite the graduation of Robin Underwood, the Merrimack Valley League all-around champion and MVP last winter.

Chelmsford finished second in last year's North sectional meet to Masconomet and finished third, behind Barnstable and Masconomet, in the state meet, scoring 145.30 points.

Led by Ali Carr, a returning Globe All-Scholastic, and Tara McMahan, the Lions toppled Westford Academy, 138.95-133.25, in an early-season nonleague meet.

Still on the mend from an ankle injury, Carr placed first on the uneven bars (9.3) and balance beam (9.4). McMahan placed second in the all-around (33.90), while Ashley Sevigney added a first-place finish on vault (9.0).

Meanwhile, Westford evened its record at 1-1 with a 133.25-123.70 win over Dual County League foe Newton South.

Amber Diluzio led the Grey Ghosts in both meets, taking first in the all-around. Sarom Kim , Sarah Cusson, and Carly Tiches also contributed.

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