A Q&A with Merrimack High School’s Melanie Hutchinson
An all-state lacrosse midfielder as a junior, already locked in and committed to play Division I college lax at George Mason, Merrimack High’s Melanie Hutchinson could ease off the gas pedal.
Sorry, that’s just not in her DNA.
April 12, Hutchinson netted the overtime game-winner in an 8-7 lacrosse thriller over Nashua South.
April 13, at the Saber Invitational track meet, one of the Granite State’s most ambitious and versatile athletes ever was on hand at Souhegan High, competing in three events for the Tomahawks girls.
The rarest of rare, a five-sport varsity athlete, and National Honor Society student, Hutchinson found a few spare minutes for The Telegraph to talk about a wide array of topics, from sports to musicals.
So we have seen you in action on the lacrosse field and clearly it’s your top sport, but you compete in five sports? I mean, there only are three sports seasons.
“Yes, cross country in the fall, swim and indoor track in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring. I’ve competed in all five for three years now with 11 varsity letters.”
Wait a minute, 11 letters already, that puts you on pace for 18 in your career. Is that some kind of school record?
“I don’t think anyone has kept track, but I do it because I love it, not because of any school record.”
That seems like a heck of a sports workload. How did you decide to do this?
“I knew I loved competing in track and I would miss it. Lacrosse is my No. 1 passion in life. I knew that. I’m just lucky that merrimack has allowed me the opportunity to do this.”
OK, so that explains cross country, the two tracks and lacrosse, but what’s up with swimming?
“I did swimming when I was younger. The swim team is such a family. I remember my sister (Makayla, Class of 2018) telling me about it. I didn’t want to miss out on that. And it’s another way to compete and work at different aspects of another craft in life. We go through the very hard workouts in the pool together. You build that bond with a bunch of other kids, in the pool dying with you. It’s a different kind of connection than with other sports teams. It’s amazing.”
You mentioned Makayla. She was all-state as well in lacrosse, what’s she up to these days?
“She plays Division I lacrosse as a freshman at Central Connecticut State University.”
That must have a quality experience, playing two years together in high school lacrosse especially?
“She has been my No. 1 supporter and No. 1 competitor for the longest time. Our coaches wouldn’t let us compete against each other, because we went after each other so hard. She’s a huge factor in my lacrosse life and and we push each other to higher limits. We bring out the best in each other. It has really helped me on the field.”
Where the spring season is so condensed, this must a crazy time for you?
“There’s always something new. I go to lacrosse matches and practices.”
Editor’s note: After netting the game-winner for the first lax victory of the year for the young Tomahawks, Hutchinson ran a leg on the winning 4×100 relay team, ran in the 4×800 and also took sixth in the long jump at 14-9.
All these athletics, does it leave you any time for school?
“It certainly makes for a lot of late nights studying for sure.”
So are you as aggressive in the classroom as you are in sports?
“I try to keep myself very active academically. I’m taking Honors Pre-Calculus, Honors Chemistry, AP US History, AP Language Composition, Latin 3 and Oceanography.”
Wow, no cheapies in that schedule. How about other school activities?
“Through our Interact program at school, I do volunteer work in the community. Most recently, I helped out officiating youth lacrosse games. I’m also in the Environment Club and try to be very active with student council.”
Let me guess, class president?
“No, I lost to an amazing opponent. And she’s doing a phenomenal job.”
Is there time for anything else?
“I’m not really social. Sports and school are my life. But when I do go out, it’s usually with my teammates.”
How about in the summer, do things slow down?
“I work as a lifeguard at a day care, and I absolutely love it. It’s a lot different than I expected, working with such young age kids. It’s really cool to see how they interact, all so sweet and so nice. If they take me back again this summer, I will be very happy. When I’m not work, it’s multiple hours on the field, working footwork, stick work, speed work, dodging, anything I can to work on my (lacrosse) game.”
All right, I know you have gobs of homework, but a couple final thoughts. Give me something people don’t know about you but is interesting?
“I’m obsessed with sharks. I got really fond of them in first grade, reading a biography of Eugenie Clark. She really inspired me.”
So I don’t even have to ask about your favorite all-time movie, “Jaws,” right?
“Actually I’m a lot more into musicals than movies like that. “Les Miz? I adore the movie. In fact, in June we’re going to see the play and my dad’s favorite musical, ‘Miss Saigon,’ too.”
All right, let’s finish up with your No. 1, lax. You guys are 1-1, how do you think you guys are going to be?
“Well, we lost several seniors, taking a huge, huge hit. We’ve just refilled that with a lot of talent. I think it’s just getting the kinks out, working and finding a good fit. Once we do that, we will be stellar.”