Region – The 2015 component of the 2015-2016 Westborough High School Track and Field team has been as good as it can get and then some. The team has recorded decisive victories over always-tough opponents Quabbin Regional, Groton-Dunstable and Nashoba Regional high schools, with some of the victories being by margins of 40 points or more.
Both boys’ and girls’ teams successfully turned the calendar into the new year with their collective feet still heavy on the accelerator with no let up as evidenced by their Mid-Wachusett Duel meet victories over Hudson High School Jan.6 at Holden’s Wachusett Regional High School. The boys cruised to a 73-18 triumph while the girls were also victorious with a 58-23 romp.
“The big thing for the girls this year is that we have 48 athletes when usually we’ve been in the mid-30s,” explained girls first-year head coach Mike Kelley. “We’ve had some minor injuries so it’s good that we have the depth. If one kid gets injured or misses a meet or two, we don’t completely crumble.
“One of the strengths is that we’re very deep in distance. We have nine or 10 girls who are ranked top 10 in the league in one or multiple events. We have a lot of girls who had a great cross-country season. I have to give a lot of credit to [cross-country] coach Rick Hebert. We were able to build off the great season they had in cross-country.”
“The kids have been really focused. They’ve been really happy with our record so far,” echoed boys’ head coach Jeremy Nute. “I like everyone to be involved if anyone is competing at any time. I want them to get cheered on. Everybody gets something from being part of the team. Everybody seems to really get along and get excited about doing well. The younger guys are seeing the success of the older guys and that’s important.”
A number of strong individual performances led to the Ranger victory over Hudson.
On the girls’ side, it was senior co-captains Melissa Sullivan, Mary Bush, Cecelia Hogan and Katie Bretta having big nights with some personal records set. Sullivan took first in the 55 hurdles at 9.3 seconds, a league-leading time, while Bush was right behind in second at 10.7.
Caroline Reynolds, Hogan, Elizabeth Hopkinson and Bretta were all top finishers in their events. Reynolds (high jump, 5’0), Hogan (600 dash, 1:50.6), Hopkinson (1,000, 3:30.2) and Bretta (55 dash, 7.8) all contributed to the win.
“We’re really fortunate to have such an amazing group of girls,” said Bush of her team’s success. “I think the program has really been built up thanks to our previous coaches and every girl is out there just wanting to support her teammates. They’re an extremely humble and modest group of girls who just want to push each other and push themselves. We all work really well together.”
“At the beginning of the season with the switch in the coaching staff, we were all focused on making sure all the girls felt supportive and still part of such a strong program,” added Sullivan. “I think with coach Kelley, he’s stepped in and done an awesome job of keeping the support going.
“The morale is such a big part for us and being there to support each other. But all of the young talent we have is so unbelievable. They’re doing such an amazing job. You can tell that in the next couple of years, we’re going to be unbelievable.”
On the boys’ side, sophomore Isaiah Powers was victorious in the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.1, while senior captain Isaac Grosner clocked in with a first-place finish in the 1,000 at 2:56.3.
“I wanted to go out there and give it all I had,” said Grosner. “We have to maintain our focus going forward. Nashoba was our toughest meet but we came out of there with the win. As long as we keep our mindset and keep putting in 100 percent in practice, I think we have a chance of going a long way.”