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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mike Lynch gives Nashua North boys a shot at 2nd indoor track title in 3 years

Mike Lynch has been in this spot before.

The Nashua High School North senior enters Sunday’s Division I indoor track championship as the top seed in the shot put for the second straight year. He’s the defending outdoor state champion in both the shot put and the discus, but a win in this year’s meet would be his first indoor title. ...

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Mike Lynch has been in this spot before.

The Nashua High School North senior enters Sunday’s Division I indoor track championship as the top seed in the shot put for the second straight year. He’s the defending outdoor state champion in both the shot put and the discus, but a win in this year’s meet would be his first indoor title.

Last year, Lynch took his eye off the prize just enough to finish second and it sat with him for a year.

“I’m still pretty bitter,” he said. “I was not happy not winning indoors. I feel like I took it too lightly. It’s something I feel like I need to accomplish.”

Lynch’s toughest competition will likely come from someone he practices with every day, and another thrower who will be competing in the D-I meet for the first time.

North’s Deric Wagner is seeded third in the shot put, his top throw just three feet behind Lynch. In between them is Bedford’s Joseph Thibeault, who won the Division II shot put title last year.

No matter what happens, North coach Nate Burns expects the shot put to be key to his team’s chances at winning its second indoor title in three years.

“Huge,” Burns said when asked about the shot put. “They’re seeded one and three. Going one-two there would be huge. Deric is right behind the kid from Bedford. It would be a nice way to kick off the meet.”

A win would complete an interesting ride for Lynch, who didn’t quite have track on his mind four years ago.

After completing his freshman football season at North, Lynch went out for the wrestling team. But a few weeks in, an injury from football flared back up and he decided to spend his time away from the mat in a different way.

“I told the wrestling coach I was going to work out and throw the shot put with this guy who was kind of my mentor freshman year, Kevin Rosenberg,” Lynch said. “I’d get in the weight room with him every day after school, and I really only did it for football. Things just kind of clicked and I stuck with it. I quit wrestling and started doing track.”

When the indoor season was done, Lynch stuck with his plan to play baseball and spent the spring of his freshman year on the diamond. But that didn’t last.

“Sophomore year, the indoor season went so well, I felt like I had to stick with (track),” he said. “If you had asked me in eighth grade if I thought I’d be a state champion in outdoors, I would have said no. I thought I’d be pitching in a state championship game or batting cleanup. That’s not the case.”

Getting athletes to switch sports is nothing new to Lynch’s throwing coach, Nathan Moreau.

“With me, I’m actually known as being the converter,” Moreau said. “I come in quiet and under the radar and do my thing. If a kid shows interest ...

“I think (Lynch) is more focused this year. He had the talent, so he was able to push himself to that next level and it worked out really well for him. He’s got to get back in and get focused again.”

Having competition in practice every day has certainly helped both Lynch and Wagner. At the beginning of the season, Moreau did his best to keep the fire going.

“To start this season, I told Deric ‘you’re going to beat Mike. That’s what you have to do,’ ” Moreau said. “It’s made it more back-and-forth. Even this last meet (on Jan. 27), Deric was beating Mike until the last throw to get to the finals. They were neck-and-neck.”

Wagner looks at Sunday’s meet as just another day at practice.

“It’s awesome for me,” he said. “Every day I get to compete against the No. 1 kid in the state. When I get to the state meet, it’s almost the same thing, I’m still trying to beat him.”

Lynch knows that is something Wagner would love to do.

“He’s been chasing me all year and I know he’d love to kick me out of first place,” he said. “Definitely don’t want him to do that. I have a lot of motivation. My team is relying on me.”