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June 16. 2013 11:24PM

Checovich, Lindonen prevail in New Hampshire Heptathlon.

NASHUA – Things looked bleak for Winnacunnet of Hampton's Emma Checovich at Sunday's 37th New Hampshire Heptathlon.

Checovich, a junior, was in third place with only the 800-meter run remaining, and that was an event she had never competed in during her track and field career. Somehow, Checovich mustered a fourth-place finish in the 800 that propelled her to victory at Nashua South.

"It was a shocker to everyone," Checovich said. "I am only a sprinter, so I never expected to do as well as I did. It was my first 800 ever. I got off strong and just tried to stay with the people who have run the 800 before.

"I definitely think it was adrenaline. I was so nervous for the 800 all day."

Checovich completed the 800 in 2:24.74. She said that time is very close to the school record.

A strong finish helped Merrimack Valley's John Lindonen prevail in the 57th New Hampshire Decathlon, which also concluded Sunday at Nashua South.

Checovich, who led after the Heptathlon's first day, earned 3,850 points. She became the first Winnacunnet athlete to win the Heptathlon since Heidi Nadeau in 2003.

Monadnock's Michaela Athanasopoulos was second with 3,810 points, and Somersworth's Rachel Hill — who will play soccer for the University of Connecticut — finished third with 3,807. Athanasopoulos finished second to Exeter's Hillary Holmes last year.

Checovich's day also included a third-place finish in the long jump (15-11.5). She won the triple jump and finished second in the long jump at last month's Division I meet.

"This is definitely icing on the cake for my season," Checovich said. "It's so rewarding. I have worked so hard for something like this. I guess I've found a new event for next year."

Lindonen, a senior, is the second Merrrimack Valley athlete to win the Decathlon in as many years. Chris Bohi finished first last year.

Lindonen moved into fifth place by winning the javelin (160-11), and then performed well enough in the 1,500 — Sunday's final event — to overtake Pelham's Kevin Cheam for first place. He earned 5,509 points.

"When I found out I had won at first I was kind of in shock," Lindonen said. "It was a great feeling, and one I wasn't expecting.

"If I had finished second I wouldn't have felt bad because Kevin is such a great athlete. We've developed kind of a friendly rivalry."

Cheam, who plans to run track at Franklin Pierce, won the 100 hurdles Sunday (15.15) and finished second overall with 5,433 points. Manchester Memorial's Shawn Case was third with 5,281.

Cheam was in the lead heading into Sunday's five events.

"Overall I did pretty well," Cheam said. "I pushed a little harder (Sunday) knowing there was someone right on my tail."

Athanasopoulos, Hill and Londonderry's Natalie Howes were Sunday's other event winners in the Heptathlon. Athanasopoulos won the 800 (2:19.87), Hill finished first in the long jump (16-11.25) and Howes prevailed in the javelin (110-11).

Winnacunnet's Danny Merchant, Monadnock's Quentin Bazarnicki, and Pelham's Brandon Hannon were Sunday's other event winners in the Decathlon. Merchant won the discus (136-8), Bazarnicki took the pole vault (12-6) and Hannon won the 1,500 (4:20.33).

37th HEPTATHLON

1. Emma Checovich (Winnacunnet) 3,850; 2. Michael Athanasopoulos (Monadnock) 3,810; 3. Rachel Hill (Somersworth) 3,807; 4. Letti Hibbard (Bedford) 3,733; 5. Jen Athanasopoulos (Monadnock) 3,626; 6. Kelly Ludew (Lebanon) 3,386; 7. Samantha Toscano (Coe-Brown) 3,363; 8. Lindsey Beauregard (Hollis/Brookline) 3,349; 9T. Brooke Simmons (Goffstown) 3,331; 9T. Jaila Remillard (Winnisquam) 3,331.

57Th DECATHLON

1. John Lindonen (Merrimack Valley) 5,09; 2. Kevin Cheam (Pelham) 5,433; 3. Shawn Case (Memorial) 5,281; 4. Will Merchant (Lebanon), 5,277; 5. Quentin Bazarnicki (Monadnock) 5,191; 6. Derek Lotito (Monadnock) 4,921; 7. Danny Merchant (Winnacunnet) 4,870; 8. T.J. Urbanik (Pinkerton) 4,744; 9. Tommy Harter (Winnacunnet) 4,739; 10. Peter Winslow (Exeter) 4,696.

rbrown@unionleader.com


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