It might seem as if the winter season just began, and yet the indoor track teams are already looking at wrapping up the dual-meet season.
The Freshman/Sophomore Meet is scheduled for this Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center, while the four-meet regular season is slated to end for both the boys and girls track teams against Essex Tech on January 12. Both teams are looking to finish strong and qualify for the upcoming postseason meets.
“We only have one dual meet left against Essex Tech on January 12 and then the conference championships in early February,” explains Manchester Essex indoor track coach Nelson Desilvestre. “In between, we will be trying to bring as many individuals as we can to state invitationals. Unfortunately, most of them have qualifying standards so we will not be able to bring the whole team -- with the exception of the State Relays on January 22.”
Athletes on both the girls’ team (which is 0-3 so far) and boys’ team (1-2, with the team’s sole victory coming against Hamilton-Wenham before the winter break) are looking to put their best foot forward when it comes to qualifying times, while also learning about competing against some of the toughest competition in the state in events like the Freshman/Sophomore meet.
“For the most part at these larger-scale meets, we are hoping for the kids to get more experience and use it as a learning tool,” says Desilvestre. “Running against competition from similar size schools usually gives our kids confidence that they are better than what they think. Also, we are hoping for positive performances and personal bests for each athlete in whatever event they are doing. For our better athletes, we are hoping they are able to qualify for championship meets at the end of the season.”
Those top athletes hoping to run deep into the postseason include Jack Newton (who tied the school record in the high jump at 5’ 8” this season) and Nate Gardner (who set a sophomore record in the hurdles with a time of 9.89). Newton participates in the high jump, long jump, 1,000 and mile, while Gardner participates in hurdles and long jump. Finn O’Hara has been a standout in both the 1,000 and the mile. For the girls’ team, Amy Vytopilova has been a top performer in the 55, 300 and shot put, Caroline MacKinnon in the 600 and relays and Caelie Patrick in the 1,000 and the mile.
Vytopilova, Patrick and Maddy Curran are team captains for the girls, and Connor Morgan captains the boys’ team along with Newton and O’Hara.
Both teams have athletes who excel in some of the long and middle-distance events.
“I would say on the boy's side it would be the 1000 and mile,” explains DeSilvestre. “We have quality and depth with Jack Newton, Finn O'Hara and Charlie Lations. For the girls, it would be long sprints/middle distance with Amy Vytopilova, Caroline MacKinnon, Caelie Patrick and Bridget Carovillano.”