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Friday, April 27, 2012

Old Nashua South teammates respond to challenge

Ryan Ux and Colin Quinn were high school teammates at Nashua South three years ago when they proposed a friendly competition.

Ux was a senior javelin thrower at the time, while Quinn was a sophomore whose considerable ability in the event was blossoming. They would finish second and third in the 2009 Division I championships.

“We made a little wager,’’ Ux said. “It came down to who would be the first to throw over 200 feet.’’

Ux set a school record that year, throwing 177 feet. Quinn broke it a year later by throwing 181. Quinn set a state record early last spring, throwing 197 in Merrimack, but an arm injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Quinn, now a freshman at Dartmouth, has started to throw again. Ux, a Springfield College junior, had a breakthrough last spring when he threw for 192 feet.

Then three weeks ago, at a meet in Middlebury, Vt., Ux unleashed the throw of his life.

“I was trying a different javelin, and my first three throws were all in the high 180s,’’ Ux said. “Then I switched back to my old javelin for my fourth throw.

“It was a good feeling when I released it and pretty soon everyone started applauding. I’m blind as a bat and couldn’t see how far it went, but my coach told me I might want to wait until I heard the measurement.’’

It was 202 feet, which not only won the meet but put Ux in the top 12 nationally at the time.

Not bad, considering that Ux had barely any sleep the night before the meet. A resident assistant, he was on duty until 3 a.m. He tried to rest on the long bus ride.

On his way back to Springfield, Ux sent a text message to his old high school teammate, declaring their wager over. Quinn responded with a congratulatory message of his own.

At just 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, Ux isn’t particularly big for a javelin thrower.

But after picking track over baseball as a freshman at South, he showed steady improvement under throws coach Bill Stumpf.

“I was very fortunate to have him as my high school coach,’’ Quinn said, “then to have coach (Michael) Miller in college.’’

Miller, an accomplished thrower himself and a Springfield graduate, began working with UX last spring.

“I did a lot of speed word with the sprinters,’’ Ux said, “and a lot of core training with a medicine ball, focusing on hip activation.’’

Ux also credits his brother Greg, a former South football and track standout, now a senior at Northeastern majoring in athletic training.

“He (Greg) pushed me hard all last summer,’’ Ux said. “That motivated me a lot.’’

Ux hopes to compete in the Division III National Champions in Claremont, Cal., May 24-26.

Logan Gillis

Junior second baseman Logan Gillis is among the leaders in just about every offensive category for the Bentley University baseball team.

Gillis leads the team in hits with 52, runs with 27, RBIs with 30 and on-base percentage at .364. He’s second on the team in batting average (.315), stolen bases (12) and doubles (nine).

Kevin McGowan

Nashua North graduate Kevin McGowan continues to pitch well in a starting role for the Franklin Pierce University baseball team.

In a start Saturday at Stonehill, McGowan went seven innings, struck out nine and allowed seven hits and three runs to improve to 4-1 on the season.

He has a 3.00 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 45 inning.

Bill Ferriter

Red-shirt junior center fielder Bill Ferriter leads the University of Connecticut baseball team in hitting at .355.

Ferriter, who leads the team in stolen bases with 17, is second on the team in both runs scored (34) and on-base percentage (.435).

Chelsea Larivee

Sophomore Chelsea Larivee of Amherst continues to play well for the No. 8 Bentley University lacrosse team.

Larivee leads the team in shots on goal, is second in goals (25) and second in ground balls with 23.

Meghan Rizzi

Catholic University senior Meghan Rizzi of Mont Vernon, the school’s career leader in just about every offensive category, is having a strong senior season.

Through 30 games she leads the team in hitting (.371) and on-base percentage (.453) and is second in RBIs with 22.

Shannon Connerty

Freshman Shannon Connerty of Nashua was named Little East Conference Rookie of the Week with eight goals in two games for the Plymouth State lacrosse team.

Connerty leads the Panthers with 43 goals and is second in both assists (14) and points scored (57).

Bekah Jackson

Sophomore Bekah Jackson of Nashua continues to lead the Plymouth State softball team in hitting at .459.

Jackson also leads the team in runs scored (36), hits (51) and is tied for the team lead in doubles with nine. She’s second in RBIs with 25.

Brendan Cahill, Jimmy McInnis

Jimmy McInnis, a senior from Amherst and Brendan Cahill, a junior from Hollis, are among the scoring leaders for the Franklin Pierce lacrosse team.

McInnis is fifth on the team in goals scored with 13 and tied for first in assists with nine. The Bishop Guertin graduate has a team-high 40 ground balls.

Cahill is fourth on the team in goals with 14 and is also tied for the lead in assists with nine.