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Silva primed for another run

How do you stay motivated when no one comes close to beating you?

That’s been the issue plaguing Mahar Regional School indoor track & field shot put star Sabrina Silva for the past two years, when she has steamrolled local competition.

Silva heads into Friday’s Massachusetts State Division IV Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston at 4:30 p.m. as the defending champion and resounding favorite. She joins a number of other athletes from the area at the meet, but is the only top seed.

Silva has not lost the shot put in a Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference meet since the final regular-season meet more than two years ago, when she finished second on Jan. 28, 2011. Silva went on to win the PVIAC Individual meet the following week, then swept through last winter’s regular season before winning the PVIAC and state Division IV meets. Silva went on to place fifth at the All-State Meet and 12th at New Englands. That left her with big expectations for this season, something Silva said Wednesday that pushed her to work harder than she had previously done in order to meet the goals.

“Last year I worked out but I wasn’t as dedicated as I could have been,” she explained. “I put a lot more time in this year.”

The hard work paid off as Silva bested her personal record this season with a mark of 40 feet, 7.5 inches, a distance she has hit twice this season. Her closest competition in the Division IV meet Friday is Emily Murray at North Reading High School, who’s season-best throw is over a foot behind at 39-4.5.

That is how it’s been all season for Silva, who was not challenged in the regular season. Silva’s closest competition came in the final meet of the season when she won by just under 3 feet. Her largest margin of victory was at 7 feet, 11.25 inches. At Monday’s PVIAC Championships, Silva won by 1 foot, 3.5 inches. She admitted that not having anyone right on her heels can lead to complacency, but she has found ways to motivate herself.

“I came into the indoor season wanting to stay consistent at 40 feet,” she said. “Now, I am trying to get to 41 feet.”

Silva said that in order to continue seeing her distance increase, she has not only increased her workouts, but she has also turned to visual aides.

“We took video of me throwing to see what I was doing wrong,” she said. “That has helped improve my form.”

Silva will continue working to get to 41 feet over the rest of the indoor season and right on into the outdoor spring season. She said that she plans to continue the event in college and she has drawn a lot of interest though still a ways from deciding where her next stop will be.

While Silva is the only top seed, she is not the only local athlete with a shot at placing in the top 10. Teammate Tiffany Tenney was the only other local to win an event at the PVIACs, and she enters the state Division IV meet ranked third in the 300 (42.24 seconds). Tenney also qualified to compete in the high jump, where she is ranked 13th with a height of 4-10, and in the 55, where she is ranked 18th with a time of 7.79. The Senators also have two boys making the trip to Boston. Zabien Shaw qualified 12th in the mile (4:43.02) and Alan Powell sits 38th in the 55-meter dash (7.07).

Pioneer Valley Regional School has seven athletes making the trip, including Danielle Devine, who is third in the high jump (5-1), 28th in the long jump (14-10), and 41st in the 55 (8 seconds). Jen Tufano is ranked ninth in the shot put (32-2.5), Emily Malsch is 13th in the high (4-10), and Devon Roy is 41st in the 300 (45.73). The Panthers have three boys at the meet. Darion Sadri qualified for three events — fifth in the long jump (20-3), 17th in the high jump (5-8), and 46th in the 55 (7.11). The final two boys both qualified for the shot put, with Noah Rathbun ranked 15th (44-1.25) and Greg Betsold ranked 22nd (42-0.25).

Mohawk Trail Regional High School is sending six athletes to Boston to compete in eight events. Natasha Olanyk is the highest-seeded Warrior with a sixth seed in the 600 (1:41.79). Kesheal Henderson qualified for two events, seeded 15th in the 300 (44.14) and 18th in the shot put (31-2.5). Ashley Pierce is seeded 34th in the 1,000 (3:25.29) and Abbie Yezierski is 40th in the 2-mile (12:45.67). On the boys’ side, Josh Rode qualified for two events, seeded 23rd in the 600 (1:31.73) and 35th in the 1,000 (2:53.24). Lucas Purington is the highest-seeded Warrior boy with his 18th seed in the 300 (38.12).

Four Athol High School athletes qualified. Matt Summers is seeded 15th in the long jump (19-4) and 25th in the 300 (38.46). Teammate Giovani Palermo is just back of Summers in the 300, seeded 30th (38.64), and Jon Robertson is 46th in the 55 (7.11). Sophie Palmacci is the lone girl on the team to qualify with a 49th seed in the 300 (46.23).

Greenfield High School will send two athletes. Venihmin Darmanchev qualified for a pair of events and is seeded 32nd in both the shot put (40-8.5) and the long jump (18-6.5). On the girls’ side, Eve Charest is seeded 20th in the 2-mile (12:18.84).

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