By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
REGION – Saturday, June 12th was quite a day for both the Algonquin girls track team and the Westborough boys track team. Both rivals represented the Mid-Wach League and then some, taking home sectional titles.
“This championship was the expression of two years of work by so many of our student-athletes,” said Westborough coach Roger Anderson. “Last year, with no spring season, many of our guys continued to work out through the spring, summer, fall and even this past winter, where we had practices only for our indoor track team.”
“Their performances were indicative of consistent long-term effort,” he added.
“The language we used was that in this pandemic ‘We showed up, for each other, for our team, for our school and for ourselves,’” Anderson said. “So, clearly, we are very pleased, however not surprised, that our guys performed their best when it mattered most.”
Senior Ian Welch won the 110 high hurdles race with a time of 14.90 seconds. He also won the triple jump with a 42’10” leap and was a member of the 4×100 relay team that took third place. Ethan Nolin-Halpern was second in the shot put with a throw of 46’10.75”. He took third place in the discus competition with a 130’1” throw.
Alan Nguyen took second in the long jump with a 20’11” jump, fifth in the 110 meter high hurdles with a time of 16.09 seconds and fifth in the pole vault with an even score of 10 feet. Kevin Xu was second in the pole vault with a jump of 12’6”. The 4×100 team, consisting of Erik Burgdorfer, Welch, Tyler Finnerty and Thaddeus Rodriguez-Felix took third place in a time of 44.99 seconds.
Anderson has coached multiple sports for a number of years, even recently winning a volleyball state title. But he acknowledged there was something to be learned by how this crop of seniors and student-athletes have handled things.
“More than anything, the power of a positive mindset and the ability to embrace those things that we can and cannot control [is important],” he said. “The belief in hard work and joy as the pathways to success [is also important].”
As Westborough won, Algonquin’s own title was the second straight for its program. Coach Patrick Galvin echoed many of the same sentiments as Anderson when talking about his squad.
“I am so proud of our entire team for their level of commitment to each other, training, and competing in the midst of a pandemic,” he said. “The season began in January with ten optional outdoor practices in the parking lot with literally freezing temperatures. At our first official Fall II season practice in March, a steady snow came down upon us, and we battled through many days of 90+ degree weather this spring.”
“Did I mention the mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing, mask requirements, social distancing, and limited practice times all while adjusting from a hybrid model to full in-person five days a week with first bell at 7:15 a.m.?” he added.
“The girls overcame extraordinary challenges throughout the past six months and never stopped believing in themselves,” Galvin said. “The team was 5-0 in dual meets, Central Mass District E Champions, and Central/West Champions.”
Algonquin’s April Davis won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.80 seconds. She took fourth in the long jump with a jump of 16’4.75” and was part of the winning 4x100m relay team that set a meet record of 51.14 seconds in their race. Christina DeFeudis took second in the 100-meter dash with a 12.89-second sprint. She snagged second place in the long jump with a jump of 17’ and finished fourth in the 200-meter race in 26.64 seconds. Grace Sciacca grabbed second in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 1:09.32. She finished third in the pole vault with a 9’6” jump and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.83 seconds. Anna Long made history with a second-place finish in the 800-meter race, setting a new school record of 2:17.43. She was also a member of the 4×400-meter relay, which finished in 4:14.51.
Priscilla De Carvalho grabbed third in the high jump, clearing the bar at 4’10”. She was also a key cog for the first-place 4x100m relay squad, running the race’s second leg to help her team set a meet record with a time of 51.14 seconds.
“The Algonquin senior girls will be dearly missed,” Galvin said. “They continuously teach me how to become a better coach. They remind me to laugh, smile, and enjoy the moment. They force me to think, listen, and hold everyone on our team accountable. They make sure I am understanding, empathetic, and approachable.”