Competitors vie for heptathlon, decathlon titles
NASHUA - Emma Checovich said she entered this weekend's 37th NHIAA Heptathlon at Nashua South High School just for the experience, but her performance during the event's first day has caused her to rethink things.
Checovich, a junior at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, tied for first in the high jump and finished fourth in the 200 meters Saturday, and will carry the lead into today's final three events.
"Honestly, this was more for experience and just to see what I could do," Checovich said when asked about her goals for the Heptathlon. "Obviously in the back of my mind you want to make at least the top 10. After today I'm going to push for first, possibly.
"My strongest event is the long jump, and (Sunday) the day starts off with long jump so I'm really hoping I can start strong and set things up for the rest of the day."
Checovich and Londonderry freshman Yorgelis Ortiz tied for first in the high jump. Each cleared 4 feet, 11.75 inches. Checovich finished the 200 in 26.80 seconds.
Checovich planned to participate in last year's Heptathlon, but became sick the week before the event and didn't compete. She earned 2,300 points in Saturday's four events and has a 13-point lead over Bedford's Letti Hibbard.
"I think I knew I had this in me," Checovich said. "I just wasn't sure if it was going to be a good day or a bad day. I'm very satisfied."
Monadnock's Jenna Athanasopoulos, Coe-Brown of Northwood's Alley Savioli and Lebanon's Kelly Ludew were the other girls who had first-place finishes Saturday. Athanasopoulos, who finished second to Exeter's Hillary Holmes in last year's Heptathlon, won the 100 hurdles (16.28); Savioli won the shot put (37-6); and Ludew finished first in the 200 (26.31).
In addition to the long jump, the girls will compete in the javelin and the 800 today.
Pelham's Kevin Cheam didn't begin competing in the long jump until halfway through his senior year, but he's proven to be a quick learner. Cheam won that event by clearing 21-6.25 Saturday and is the leader after the first day of the 57th NHIAA Decathlon.
Cheam, who took third in the 100 (11.79), has 3,120 points. Lebanon's Will Merchant is second with 2,961.
Cheam also won the long jump at last month's Meet of Champions. He did not participate in last year's Decathlon.
"This is my last meet and I just want to have fun," Cheam said. "I'm really surprised because I had no real time to prepare for these events. I didn't even think I could compete."
Exeter's Peter Winslow and Mark Franklin of Pinkerton Academy in Derry tied for first in Saturday's high jump (5-10). Other event winners in the Decathlon were Nashua North's William Goulding in the 100 (11.63); Monadnock's Derek Lotito in the shot put (40-9); and Monadnock's Matt Belcik in the 400 (52.50).
The 110 hurdles, the discus, the pole vault, the javelin and the 1500 are the Decathlon events that will be contested today. The Heptathlon and Decathlon are both scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
"I know that 14.54 is the meet record for the 110 hurdles and my best time is 14.4," Cheam said. "If things go well I might leave here with a record."
Heptathlon Top 10
1. Emma Checovich (Winnacunnet) 2,300; 2. Letti Hibbard (Bedford) 2,287; 3. Jenna Athanasopoulos (Monadnock) 2,169; 4. Rachel Hill (Somersworth) 2,225; 5. Michaela Athanasopoulos (Monadnock) 2,169; 6. Kelly Ludew (Lebanon) 2,117; 7. Jaila Remillard (Winnisquam) 2,101; 8. Yorgelis Ortiz (Londonderry) 2,080; 9. Brooke Simmons (Goffstown); 10. Samantha Toscano (Coe-Brown) 2,021.
Decathlon Top 10
1. Kevin Cheam (Pelham) 3,120; 2. Will Merchant (Bedford) 2,961; 3. Peter Winslow (Exeter) 2,903; 4. Shawn Case (Manchester Memorial) 2,815; 5. Zach Beltz (Kearsarge) 2,713; 6. Matt Belcik (Monadnock) 2,700; 7. Derek Lotito (Monadnock) 2,657; 8. William Goulding (Nashua North) 2,649; 9. T.J. Urbanik (Pinkerton) 2,617; 10. Quentin Bazarnicki (Monadnock) 2,603.