Indoor Track Not Resting on Laurels
By Ellen Oliver
After snatching the Mid-Wach B league titles for both the boys and girls indoor track on February 2, the season remains successful for the Chieftains. “This was a great accomplishment for both teams,” said boys coach Andrew LeBlanc. “The league championship was a goal from the beginning of the season and we are very satisfied with what we accomplished in the regular season.”
The teams only had a few days to bask in the glory of the league title, the first for the girls and back-to-back for the boys, before heading to the District and State meets.
At the District E meet on February 9, Nashoba girls were third and the boys sixth with several impressive performances to propel them to the Division 3 State meet on February 14. At States, the girls came in 4th out of 31 teams with 42 points and boys earned 13 points to finish 17th out of 36 schools.
Perhaps most impressive were the number of personal and school records, especially the girls 4×200 team, which broke a D3 state and school record. The team was comprised of Sarah Militano, Meiling Dellagrote, Tatiana Jarostchuk, and Kristina MacLure, finishing at 1:46.43.
Girls Coach Steve Beckwith said he gave some advice to the Militano (sophomore), MacLure and Jarostchuk (both freshman). “The first thing I did this season was tell them they have three years to work together,” he said. “It’s rare to have this level of sprint talent. You’re going to set a lot of records.” Adding in the experience and presence of junior Dellagrote made the coach’s words come true in the first season.
The girls also notched top performances including in the 55m with Militano (1st with a school record of 7.24), McLure (4th, personal best 7.41) and Jarostchuk (6th, personal best 7.43). Kelsey Horowitz had a personal best and was 4th in the two-mile (11:37.64) and MacLure took 2nd in the long jump (17’1”). Also scoring for the girls was the 4 x 800 team of Kara McCormack, Horowitz, Natalie Bettez and Taylor Brady, who came in 8th with a time of 10:23.40.
The girls team is young and Coach Beckwith thinks the future looks bright. “Fourth place in state is the highest Nashoba has ever placed and most of the girls are coming back,” he said.
For the boys, Forrest Hangen had a personal best that resulted in placing 3rd in the mile (4:28.81) while Markesh Harmon was 6th in the high jump (6’0”) and 5th in the long jump (20’7.5”). Cam Rothfuss’ personal best of 43’10” was enough for 10th and Conor Ursuliak was 12th in the 1000m for his personal best of 2:42.23.
Also with notable performances were John Militano (9th in the 55m, 6.94) and the 4x200m relay team of John Militano, Kurt Arsenault, Zach Wright, and Harmon, who placed 10th (1:38.61).
Coach Beckwith said, “When the kids are working hard, regardless of how fast they are, that’s why I coach.” Beckwith pointed to three of his runners as role models investing sweat equity to reach their goals. “I’m really proud of Kelsey, Taylor and Forrest. They told me at the beginning of the season they just wanted to get faster. They put in the work, put in the effort. Look at the results,” he said.
Beckwith also credited his fellow coaches, LeBlanc and assistant coach Ben Langelo, for achieving the results, thanks to their collaborative approach to coaching that focuses on discipline, not gender. “The sprinters owe a lot of credit to Andy and the relays owe a lot to Ben,” said Beckwith. “I’m not sure we would get the results if we focused [by gender]. We don’t have the people some other schools have. Our athletes have natural talent; all were willing to do the workouts we designed. This works for us.”