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Fast track; Megee, Doyle rekindle Nashoba.

Byline: Rich Garven

FITCHBURG - Things hadn't gone Nashoba Regional's way lately. That wasn't the case yesterday.

The Chieftains bounced back from disappointing efforts earlier this month at the Class B (fourth place) and Mid-Wach B (second place) meets to capture the Central Mass. Championships yesterday at Fitchburg State College.

"We were just looking to finish the season strong," senior Conor Megee said. "The last two meets didn't exactly go the way we planned, but it's nice to see it come full circle."

Nashoba, whose 10 competitors won four events and scored points in three others, finished with 60 points. Runner-up Millbury High was second, 12 points back, with defending champion St. John's third in a tight field that saw the second- through eighth-place teams separated by just 13 points.

The Chieftains started the day with a bang when junior Coby Horowitz scored a come-from-behind victory in the 2-mile. His time of 9 minutes, 21.42 seconds eclipsed the meet record held by Grafton High's Jim Noonan since 1986.

Horowitz entered the final lap in fourth place, but wasn't panicking despite being about 8 seconds off the pace. He took the lead with about 200 yards remaining and went on to win by 6-plus seconds, the phenomenal turnaround sparked by a 64-second final quarter-mile.

"It's kind of my style," Horowitz said of running from behind. "With those guys out front, I could run my race. Then I put everything I had out there on the last lap."

Teammate Joe Doyle then went wire-to-wire to retain his title in the 800 meters. The senior's time of 1:53.19 bettered his own meet record by 3-plus seconds.

Doyle later anchored the 3,200 relay team to victory, a foursome that included Horowitz, Miles Hodge and Brendon Aylaian, who was third in the 2-mile. The Chieftains also saw Megee win the 110 hurdles and help take third in the 400 relay.

"That was the difference," coach Jim Nosel said of the UMass-bound Megee, who returned after missing the last two meets with an ankle injury.

Millbury's Woolies, who had what is believed to be their best finish ever in this meet, got one win - from senior Andrew Piscitelli in the discus - but saw a number of competitors have career days. Chief among them was senior Nial Luu, who took third in the 400 hurdles after being seeded 10th.

"I'd say about 80 percent of our guys had personal bests today," coach Mark Sutphen said. "Everybody ran well or threw well or jumped well."

No one ran and jumped better than Fitchburg High senior Dracar Payton and Doherty High sophomore Duy Truong, each of whom won two individual events.

Payton, propelled by a great start into a noticeable headwind, won the 100 in 11.28 seconds. He surpassed his personal best by 2 feet while winning the long jump in 22 feet, 1-3/4 inches.

Payton wrapped up a tremendous afternoon with a blistering anchor leg in the 400 relay, overcoming a shaky baton handoff to overtake Doherty just before the finish. The Red Raiders' time of 44.08 seconds was a school record.

"We prayed before the race - we never pray - and I guess it worked," said Payton, winner of the Johnny Wallace Award as the meet's outstanding male athlete.

That award might well have gone to Truong. In addition to being second in the 400 relay, the Highlander scored convincing victories in the 400 hurdles and triple jump.

Truong jumped 44-7-1/4, more than a foot farther than his previous best. He chalked it up to a great takeoff.

"I was in the air for so long, so much longer than I ever am," said Truong, who is already a two-year captain as a sophomore.

Sutton High senior Trent Baltzell came close to that same feeling, just missing 6-10 in the high jump. Despite a bum ankle, he did make 6-8 while winning a terrific duel with up-and-coming St. John's sophomore Tobey Belton.

"I'm happy I won, but disappointed I didn't make that 6-10," said Baltzell, who will room with Piscatelli, the Millbury thrower, at University of Rhode Island. "I want that jump back."

Oakmont Regional got wins from junior Seth Sheridan, the prerace favorite, in the 200 and senior Dan Blanchard, a sleeper pick, in the shot put, an event that might have been the best of the day for its blend of color, competitiveness and sportsmanship.

Blanchard came in with a personal best of 46-10 and exited having raised that to 50-8-1/4. He trailed Shrewsbury's Chris Cole by a half-inch before unleashing his winning throw on his final attempt.

"I threw 47-1 on my second throw, so I figured I did pretty good and probably got into states," said Blanchard, whose next stop is Tufts to study biomedical engineering on a full academic scholarship. "I wasn't worried about fouling out and just went out gave it my all."

Westboro High senior Greg Arpante cleared 12-6 to win the pole vault on fewest misses. Teammate Byron Jones won the mile in 4:20.87, eclipsing the meet record set by St. John's Nick Krouse in 2003.

Boys' results

Team results

1, Nashoba, 60. 2, Millbury, 48. 3, St. John's, 45. 4, Doherty, 42. 5, Westboro, 40. 6, Shrewsbury, 39. 7, Fitchburg, 38. 8, Oakmont, 35. 9, Hudson, 32. 10, Sutton, 28. 11, Leominster, 20. 12, Blackstone-Millville, 18. T13, Algonquin and Auburn, 13. 15, Murdock, 12. 16, Wachusett, 11. 17, Tantasqua, 8.5. T18, Narragansett and Clinton, 8. 20, Lunenburg, 7. T21, North Middlesex, Burncoat, Worcester Tech, 6. 24, Shepherd Hill, 4.5. 25, Bromfield, 3. 26, Littleton, 2. T28, Oxford, Groton-Dunstable, Whitinsville Christian 1.

Individual results

100

1, Dracar Payton, Fitchburg, 11.28. 2, Brett Buskey, BMR, 11.34. 3, Winston Jensen, Worcester Tech, 11.61. 4, Devon Gatteny, Millbury, 11.81. 5, Luke Curtis, Shepherd Hill, 11.85. 6, Trevor Berg, Shepherd Hill, 11.90.

200

1, Seth Sheridan, Oakmont, 22.55. 2, Babatunde Ogunleye, Fitchburg, 22.95. 3, Marlon Webb, Narragansett, 22.99. 4, Jake Abraham, Nashoba, 23.07. 5, Dan O'Connell, Oakmont, 23.13. 6, Jack Colombo, Littleton, 23.47.

400

1, Seamus Fitzpatrick-Rys, Murdock, 50.37. 2, Nicholas DelGiudice, Leominster, 50.58. 3, Jeff Pineda, Shrewsbury, 51.01. 4, Mark MacNeill, Algonquin, 51.46. 5, DJ Webb, North Middlesex, 51.71. 6, Matthew Perreault, Lunenburg, 51.80.

800

1, Joe Doyle, Nashoba, 1:53.19 (meet record). 2, Luke Doherty Munro, Hudson, 1:56.53. 3, Kevin Turner, St. John's, 1:57.18. 4, Jake Reed, North Middlesex, 1:59.48. 5, Tim Mazeika, Millbury, 1:59.96. 6, Peter Bloem, Whitinsville, 2:01.72.

Mile

1, Byron Jones, Westboro, 4:20.87 (meet record). 2, Conor Grogan, Hudson, 4:23.42. 3, Anthony Frissora, Shrewsbury, 4:28.75. 4, George Fischer, Nashoba, 4:35.68. 5, Greg Babiec, Doherty, 4:40.18. 6, Jon-Scott Lutke, Algonquin, 4:40.24.

2 Mile

1, Coby Horowitz, Nashoba, 9:21.42 (meet record). 2, John Murray, Shrewsbury, 9:27.99. 3, Brendon Aylaian, Nashoba, 9:30.87. 4, Jeff Bush, Westboro, 9:35.66. 5, Max Flaton, Bromfield, 9:58.13. 6, Dan Zawalich, St. John's, 10:04.67.

110 Hurdles

1, Conor Megee, Nashoba, 15.43. 2, Zach Hellyar, Tantasqua, 15.61. 3, Tom Murray, Millbury, 15.91. 4, Eric Quitzau, BMR, 16.09. 5, Sonny Heng, Leominster, 16.30. 6, Zachary Lesieur, Oxford, 16.84.

400 Hurdles

1, Duy Truong, Doherty, 56.91. 2, Trent Baltzell, Sutton, 58.52. 3, Nial Luu, Millbury, 58.96. 4, Kyle Coffey, Westboro, 59.05. 5, Mike Lashua, Oakmont, 59.20. 6, Kai Parker, Wachusett, 59.21.

3,200 Relay

1, Nashoba (Brendon Aylaian, Coby Horowitz, Miles Hodge, Joe Doyle), 8:10.02. 2, Millbury, 8:17.69. 3, Shrewsbury, 8:18.39. 4, Westboro, 8:18.75. 5, Hudson, 8:21.41. 6, Bromfield, 8:29.05.

400 Relay

1, Fitchburg (Babatunde Ogunleye, Joel Gomez, Noah Marceau, Dracar Payton), 44.08. 2, Doherty, 44.24. 3, Nashoba, 44.67. 4, Blackstone-Millville, 44.67. 5, Oakmont, 44.72. 6, Groton-Dunstable, 45.88.

1,600 Relay

1, St. John's (Zak Kofos, Tyler Masi, Casey Green, Jon Vignaly), 3:30.08. 2, Algonquin, 3:33.56. 3, Hudson, 3:33.65. 4, Wachusett, 3:36.25. 5, Murdock, 3:36.57. 6, Oakmont, 3:38.05.

High Jump

1, Trent Baltzell, Sutton, 6-08. 2, Tobey Belton, St. John's, 6-06. 3, Christopher Londa, Lunenburg, 6-02. 4, Angelito Destin, Doherty, J6-02. 5, Alex Berry, Hudson, 6-00. 6, Zach Hellyar, Tantasqua, 5-10. 6, Joe Tilly, Shepherd Hill, 5-10.

Pole Vault

1, Gregory Arpante, Westboro, 12-06. 2, Ryan Perkins, St. John's, J12-06. 3, Steve Volk, Hudson, J12-06. 4, Lucas Kronlund, Shrewsbury, 12-00. 5, Brett Haschig, Oakmont, J12-00. 6, Jeffrey Los, Westboro, J12-00.

Long Jump

1, Dracar Payton, Fitchburg, 22-01.75. 2, Brendan Whitson, Auburn, 21-10. 3, Seth Sheridan, Oakmont, 21-08.50. 4, Nicholas DelGiudice, Leominster, 21-06.50. 5, Anthony Charter, Quabbin, 20-07. 6, Alex Blakeslee, Shrewsbury, 20-05.50.

Triple Jump

1, Duy Truong, Doherty, 44-07.25. 2, Mike Beremian, Doherty, 43-09. 3, Eddie Frazier, Burncoat, 42-09.25. 4, Jack Barry, Wachusett, J42-09.25. 5, Ryan Shooshan, Wachusett, 42-07.50. 6, Evan Jean-Guillaume, Shepherd Hill, 41-05.25.

Discus

1, Andrew Piscitelli, Millbury, 161-10. 2, Matthew Thompson, Clinton, 141-08. 3, William O'Neil, Westboro, 140-02. 4, Doug Flink, Auburn, 137-07. 5, AJ Blaisdell, Millbury, 136-09. 6, Tim Ryan, Littleton, 129-07.

Javelin

1, Casey Fiore, Sutton, 167-09. 2, Zak Kofos, St. John's, 164-00. 3, Barndon Britt, Leominster, 162-08. 4, Brandon Richard, Millbury, 162-02. 5, Connor Greene, BMR, 157-01. 6, Justin Strohsnitter, Westboro, 151-10.

Shot Put

1, Dan Blanchard, Oakmont, 50-08.25. 2, Chris Cole, Shrewsbury, 49-02.75. 3, Andrew Piscitelli, Millbury, 48-11. 4, Anthony Amorello, St. John's, 45-09. 5, Tom Mason, Narragansett, 45-08.50. 6, Doug Flink, Auburn, 45-06.50.

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) Fitchburg High's Dracar Payton, second from right, wins the 100 meters in 11.28 seconds while running against Millbury High's Devon Gatteny, left, Blackstone-Millville Regional's Brett Buskey, second from left, and Worcester Tech's Winston Jensen, right. (2) Sutton's Trent Baltzell wins the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 8 inches. (3) Above, Nashoba Regional's Joe Doyle sets a meet record of 1:53.19 in the 800. (4) At left, Westboro High's Byron Jones, right, battles Hudson High's Conor Grogan en route to a meet record of 4:20.87 in the mile.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/PAUL KAPTEYN
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 31, 2009
Words:1746
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