By David Willis
---- — ANDOVER — Some may be amazed by Andover star Hannah Chapman’s rapid emergence as the state’s premier triple jumper.
But not Golden Warriors coach Peter Comeau.
“I’ve been coaching Hannah since she was in fourth grade,” said Comeau. “I told everyone when she was just a kid that she was going to be a star. So I’m not surprised at all.”
Chapman proved once again that her coach’s prediction was spot-on Monday afternoon.
The Andover High sophomore took home the Eastern Mass. Division 1 state title in the triple jump with an outstanding 37-2, a jump that also gave her the Golden Warrior school record. That helped Andover take third as a team.
“My other jumps I fouled by I knew they were in the 37-foot range,” she said, “I knew I could do it. So I pushed my (starting) mark back and I finally got in a really good jump. It was awesome.”
It was quite an achievement for an athlete that, a season ago, was fifth in the MVC Meet and 10th at the Division 1 meet as a freshman.
“When you work as hard as Hannah, good things can happen,” said Comeau. “She works harder than anyone. She has elastics in those legs. Any time you can go over 37 feet in the triple jump, you are really talking about one of the elite in the state. And she is just a sophomore!”
Comeau may have predicted the tremendous step, but even Chapman says she is a bit surprised.
“If you asked me a year ago if I would be jumping 36 feet I would have said, ‘No way!’” she said. “And 37 feet was even further from my mind. But in the first dual meet of the season I jumped 36-6 and I have been shooting for the record ever since.”
There was a little added pressure when she arrived and discovered she was the No. 1 seed for the triple jump.
“I looked at the seeding and saw I was the first seed and thought, ‘What is this?’” she said. “Last year I wouldn’t have been anywhere close to that with (Newton North star) Carla Forbes (out with a knee injury) and other great athletes. But I also felt like I could win it if I jumped my best.”
Chapman had come up just an inch short of the Andover High school record each of the last two weeks, but with previous record-holder Emily Belluche at Eugene V. Lovely Field cheering her on, Chapman wrote her name in the record books.
“Emily Belluche, who owned the school record, was at the meet and I talked to her just before I jumped,” said Chapman. “She gave me her blessing to break her record, so I knew I had to do it this time.”
Now, she is ready to let loose at All-States on Saturday at Westfield State.
“I am so excited,” she said. “The pressure is off now. I have done all that I have wanted to do this season. Now I am ready to give that my all.”
The members of Andover’s 4x100 relay were dismayed — and possibly felt a bit disrespected — when they looked at the rankings prior to Monday’s meet.
“We were seeded third,” said third leg Natalie Wagner. “That only made us want to run better, and made it even sweeter when we won.”
The Golden Warriors proved they were the best in Division 1, as they took the title in the 4x100 with a 50.33, edging Brockton (50.60).
“We are so excited and a little surprised we took this,” said Gillis. “But when I saw we were ahead after the first handoff I knew we had the chance to win, and we did it.”
Gillis gave Andover the lead with an excellent opening leg, Rachel Annino and Wagner extended the lead, and Hannah Ameen finished off the victory.
“We were so excited,” said Annino. “I ran over and gave (Wagner) a big hug. We knew it was a good field, but we waned first.”
Andover freshman Lizzie Kobelski took an impressive fourth in the 100 hurdles yesterday.
And no one was more excited for her than her cousin, Golden Warrior senior thrower Cassie Kobelski.
“My cousin did such a great job!” said Cassie before giving her cousin a hug.
It was a good day for the Kobelskis.
Along with Lizzie’s fourth, Cassie took fourth in the shot put (38-0 3/4) and sixth in the discus (97-5).
“I am pretty happy bit I want to do better,” said Cassie. “I feel like I can at All-States.”
agateLabel:Boys Track and Field
agateHed:EMass. Division 1 Boys Meet
agateText:Andover team score: 6. Andover 20 1/2,
agateText:Pole vault: 5. Joe Vetere 12-0; Javelin: 3. Mark Zarl 183-4; 110 hurdles: 7. Andrew Matteicci 15.55; 800: 6. Mike Maldari 1:57.03
agateLabel:Girls Track and Field
agateHed:EMass. Division 1 Girls Meet
agateText:Andover team score: 3. Andover 59
agateText:Pole vault: 5. Helen Root 9-0, 6. Courtney Carver 9-0, 7. Shannon Manuel 8-6; Shot put: 4. Cassie Kobelski 38-0 3/4; Discus: 6. C. Kobelski 97-5, 7. Melissa Shattuck 96-09; Long jump: 6. Hannah Chapman 16-11 ; Triple jump: 1. Chapman 37-2; High jump: 4. Abigail Taylor 5-1; 100 hurdles: 4. Lizzie Kobelski 16.30; 100 meters: 6. Rachel Annino 13.41; 4x100 relay: 1. Andover (Sydney Gillis, Natalie Wagner, Rachel Annino, Hannah Ameen); 4x800 relay: 5. Andover 9:50.72