CHELMSFORD — Whenever you break a school record, which in this case has stood for five years, you would think that the performance was good enough to finish in first place ... or maybe second ... or maybe third ... or maybe fourth ... or how about fifth?
On Saturday, Tewksbury Memorial High School junior Zach LaLonde shattered the school record in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.68, which was good for fifth place at the Merrimack Valley Conference Championship Meet.
"That was the most competitive hurdle race I have ever seen," said head coach Peter Molloy. "Eddie had the record from the New England Meet so that just tells you how hard that heat was today with Zach. It was just an incredible field of kids in that race with Anthony Caggianelli of Central Catholic, Jovan Aigbekaen of Dracut, Sam Mutiso of Lowell, it was just absolutely loaded. Zach showed up and ran great."
The fifth place for LaLonde as well as he being a part of the fourth place 4x100 relay team, helped Tewksbury finish in seventh place as a team.
Lowell won the meet for the fourth straight time and seventh time in the past nine years.
Besides the school record by LaLonde, the other big highlight came as senior Lucas Frost defended his championship by throwing 177-4 to capture the javelin title for the second straight year.
While LaLonde and Frost stole the show with their performances, certainly Thomas Barinelli had a stellar day himself. He was third in the triple jump (42-02.50) and fifth in both the high jump (5-11) and long jump (20-08).
"Thomas in all three jumping events was just awesome," said Molloy.
Senior Andrew Froio competed in two events, taking sixth in the shot put throwing 46-11 and 18th in the discus with a mark of 104-11.
Fellow senior Casey Ryan also had an excellent day, He ran a very gritty, tough two-mile race to finish second at 10:01.91 and was also a part of the eighth place 4x800 relay team, which ran its season best time of 8:42.02.
Another big highlight came in the 200-meter dash as Ethan Exilhomme was fifth at 23.50 and Josh Kuffoh was seventh at 23.96 seconds.
"Both of those kids qualified for the state meet in the 200 (meters), Andrew Froio in the shot put was phenomenal and so was Casey Ryan getting that second place in the two-mile. He really had to fight over the last few laps to get that second place. He is just very gritty."
Exilhomme was also seventh in the 110-meter hurdles at 15.57 seconds and Kuffoh was 23rd in the javelin throwing 111-06.
Also in the javelin was junior Liam Cafferty, who was fifth at 140 feet and freshman Derek Munroe, who was sixth at 139-10.
"We had a great day in the javelin. Derek Munroe's performance isn't a surprise, but against the league, I would have though the league would have been better, so in that way it was surprising," said Molloy.
Cafferty was also 12th in the discus throwing 110-05 and Munroe was 23rd in the long jump at 17-01.50. Also in the field events, senior Jack Kelly was fifth in the pole vault clearing 10 feet and Zach Tyler was 16th in the triple jump at 37-04.50.
In the other running events, Neftali Mercedes was 14th in both the 100 (12.06) and 200 (24.27). Shane Aylward (12.08) and Colton Rusch (12.35) finished 16th and 25th in the 100, Joe Blanchard was 15th in the 200 at 24.34 and Cam Grace was 11th in the 400 at 54.36.
Also, in the mile, Gustavo Tizotti was 10th at 4:47.59 and William Andella was 14th at 4:53.10 and Nick Polimeno was 17th in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:04.70.
Finally in the relay races, Exilhomme, Rusch, Aylward and LaLonde finished fourth in the 4x100 at 44.01, the 4x400 team of Kuffoh, Grace, Polimeno and LaLonde were seventh at 3:37.57 and the 4x800 team of Joe Balboni, Ryan, Matt Pelletier and Joe Schifano were eighth at 8:42.02.
This week the team will participate in the Division 3 Eastern Mass Championships, which get underway with the state pentathlon on Thursday at North Andover. Colby Wilson, who sat out Saturday with an ankle injury, along with Barinelli will participate. Wilson has the top mark in the long jump at 21-8 and Barinelli ranks third in the same event at 20-9. They both will also compete in the 110-meter hurdles, high jump and shot put.
The meet will then conclude on Sunday morning at Merrimack College beginning at 10:00 am.
Heading into Sunday’s Meet, Frost is seeded first in the javelin (194-02), Kelly is fourth in the pole vault (10-6), LaLonde is fifth in the 110-meter hurdles (14.68), Froio is fifth in the shot put (46-11.50), Elias Melki is sixth in the pole vault (10-6) and Ryan is seventh in the mile at 4:34.04.
Also the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams are third and sixth, respectively, and Wilson is fourth in the long jump and sixth in the 100.