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Lebanon frosh Kennedy, Londonderry's Ortiz take NH Hepathlon, Decathlon

Special to the Union Leader

June 22. 2014 9:58PM

Corinne Kennedy, of Lebanon, begins her high jump leap to clear the bar Saturday at the New Hampshire Heptathlon. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)

NASHUA — It came down to the final event, but freshman sensation Corrine Kennedy of Lebanon came back to with the 38th New Hampshire Heptathlon held Saturday and Sunday at Nashua South.

Kennedy overcame a 250-point deficit with a dominating win in the 800-meter dash to beat Letti Hibbard of Bedford by 97 points, 4,284 to 4,187.

“I thought it was a lot of fun. Very low key,” said Kennedy. “I felt really comfortable doing events, even the ones I’m less experienced at.”

Meanwhile in the Decathlon, Starlin Ortiz of Londonderry held on to win by 64 points, 5,836 to 5,772, over Will Merchant of Lebanon.

Ortiz had a 223-point lead after the first five events Saturday. He won the 110 meter hurdles to start the day but had less success in the last four events.

“The running, mostly, and vertical jumps. I’m not the strongest thrower,” said Ortiz. “Pole vault is one of my favorite events.”

All the excitement was in the Heptathlon with the back-and-forth race between Hibbard and Kennedy. “I know her from other events so it was nice to compete with her here,” said Kennedy.

This was the first time a freshman has ever won the Heptathlon. “She’s incredible. She has a lot of natural ability,” said her coach, Nils Scheie. “And the fact that she works so hard at it only amplifies that ability.”

How did Kennedy feel about competing with older athletes? “I don’t really think about how old other competitors are. We’re all just competing together,” said Kennedy.

“My family has been into track and field for a long time, so it must be in the genes,” said Kennedy. “I love to push myself further than I’ve gone before.”

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