By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Region – Arctic temperatures and fiercely biting winds were waiting for the Shrewsbury High (SHS) girls’ varsity track team when they stepped onto the terrain of host Wachusett Regional High where the two teams met in a battle for Midland A supremacy on May 4.
Both teams were without a loss heading into the competition but the always powerful Mountaineer rivals were a step faster and a jump higher on the day taking a 90-55 decision over the Colonials whose record slipped to 5-1 on the season.
Shrewsbury track has long been rich in tradition with 42-year head coach Nick DiPilato putting up incredible numbers over the years. In outdoor track alone under his direction, Shrewsbury captured 21 Class A titles and 21 Central Mass. championships.
DiPilato retired in 2014 and was succeeded by new head coach Wendy Marshall who had assisted for the legendary coach. A successful inaugural season in 2015 and a fast start in 2016 prove that the program still remains in more than capable hands.
“It’s always struck me that track comes across as an individual sport but with Shrewsbury, it’s very much a team sport,” said Marshall, who is assisted by Zach Hertel-Therrian and Mike Carpenter. “We have the same message for the kids each season and that’s to be the best you can be and try to do better than the last time out.”
Shrewsbury senior Julia Lazerek finished second in the triple jump but felt the adverse weather conditions may have had an impact on some athletes.
“We felt like we could do well today because of the weather, maybe some people were not taking it seriously so we were ready to do well,” she said post-event. “We want to go hard and be aggressive all the time. We know that Wachusett’s a really good team so we came in here serious and ready to work.”
Junior Caroline Calderwood who crossed the line for a second place finish in the hundred-meter hurdles encountered difficult track conditions but managed to finish strong.
“It was kind of slippery and in the first hurdle I started out in first but I tripped because it was so slippery,” explained Calderwood. “That affected me so I came in second but I was still happy with my time. It worked out.
“We saw Wachusett at the relay meet last week and we keep track of their times so you go in with expectations. I did really well at the relay meet so I came in with some extra confidence. It was all good.”
Shrewsbury faces even more tough competition when the team clashes with the likes of league rival Algonquin Regional before engaging in District and State meets in the coming weeks.
“We know that we’re going to have to compete hard every time out,” reflected Marshall. “We tell the kids to make someone beat you; don’t beat yourself. Don’t give in and make the best of your opportunities.”