Nashoba Girls Track Tops the League

June 18, 2014

Pictured l-r: Isobella Susi, Kelsey Horowitz, Natalie Bettez, Courtney Aylain                                                                            Adrian Flatgard;
Pictured l-r: Isobella Susi, Kelsey Horowitz, Natalie Bettez, Courtney Aylain
Adrian Flatgard;

By Craig Holt
Each year, boys’ and girls’ spring track is big at Nashoba Regional, and rightly so. After all, the programs consistently churn out high-achieving teams and record-setting athletes. Against that backdrop, this spring was  a typical one for the Chieftains’ legion of hard-working sprinters, distance runners, jumpers and throwers.

Nashoba’s girls’ have basically continued a good thing. The Chieftains went 5-0 during the regular season and won the Midland League B title. The girls topped the league and went undefeated in 2013 as well.

Nashoba has been strong, performing solidly in the big meets. The Chieftains won the Midland League Meet severaldays after placing third in Class A in the Central Mass. Track and Field Class Championships.

Nashoba captured six events and scored 143 points in the League Meet. Hudson finished second with 116 points and Quabbin Regional third with 87 points.

The Chieftains’ event winners were Sarah Militano in the 100 (12.38) and 200 (25.84), Rylee Gillen in the two-mile (12:08.76), Kristina MacLure in the long jump (16-10.50), Courtney Aylaian in the javelin (107-02), and the 400-relay team (53.36).

Wachusett Regional topped Class A in the Central Mass. Track and Field Class Championships, while the Chieftains amassed 74 points.

The Chieftains were led by event winners Gillen and MacLure. Gillen won the two-mile, crossing the finish line in 11:23.72. MacLure took top honors in the long jump, leaping 16-05.50. Nashoba got second-place finishes from Militano in the 200, MacLure in the 400, Emmalie Keenan in the 100-hurdles, and the 400-relay team.

Keenan, a senior from Bolton, is a captain, along with fellow seniors Kiran Reed and Kelsey Horowitz of Stow. Keenan’s main events are the 100-hurdles and 400-hurdles. Horowitz runs the mile, two-mile and 800, and will also participate on a relay team if needed. Reed runs the 400 and competes on the 4-by-4 relay team.

The captains have been impressed by Nashoba’s performances in the sprinting and distance events, as well as the high jump. The team has worked hard in the field events and has improved.

“Our team gets along very well and everyone has been very positive,” Horowitz said. “We’ve also got great coaches who have worked hard to help us improve. It’s important to improve and get the good support in a meet.”

“All the girls have been happy on this team and we’ve accomplished a lot,” Horowitz continued. “We set goals this year to win the league and go undefeated, and we reached both of those goals. We were promised if we achieved these goals, we’d get ice cream. We wanted that ice cream, so we made our goals, and we all got the ice cream.”

Keenan, who likes ice cream and is no stranger to athletic success after staring on the District champion girls’ basketball team last winter, was impressed with the Chieftains’ depth and the network of support that permeates the squad.

“This year was actually different than last because this year we were very deep – everyone contributes,” Keenan said. “Even though our sprinters and distance runners are really big deals on this team, we still have good throwers and jumpers, and sometimes I don’t think they get that much credit because they don’t do as much scoring.”

“Also, relays are so hard, yet know no one gets down if they don’t run that well, and everyone supports each other,” Keenan said. “We have really good hurdlers who score well, but we all stay together and cheer each other on, no matter who has the fastest time or gets the highest seed in a race.”

According to Reed, a big key to the team’s success has been its commitment to hard work and fitness, fueled by a diligent and dedicated coaching staff.

“This year, we started lifting every day, and that includes everyone, including runners and sprinters,” Reed said. “We all do it (lift weights), and we work different muscle groups every day. Also, it’s just incredible how devoted the freshmen and the underclassmen are. They’ll go in there and do things that I never did.”

“I’m really impressed with our underclassmen, who are very talented and possess a good work ethic,” Reed added. “I know they’ll be just fine after we leave.”

Nashoba Boys Track

Photo finish, captain Kiran Reed, brings home  the 4x1 relay win.    Adrian Flatgard
Photo finish, captain Kiran Reed, brings home the 4×1 relay win. Adrian Flatgard

Nashoba’s boys, in a bit of a rebuilding mode after losing several talented competitors to graduation, went 3-2 in the league this year. The Chieftains finished third in the Midland League B Championship Meet, which was won by Westboro. Nashoba placed ninth in the 53rd Central Mass. Track and Field Class Championships, competing in Class A.

Wachusett Regional topped Class A, followed by long-time rival St. John’s.

The Chieftains had numerous standouts in the league meet, and were led by event winners Mark Puleo, Matt Mudgett and Wyatt Boelens. Puleo took first in the two-mile (9:44.86) while Mudgett was tops in the shot put (41-6.25). Boelens captured the discus with a throw of 139-07. Mudgett was second, throwing 130-06.

Other second-place finishes were earned by Boelens in the 800, and Jared Wilbur in the 400.

Puleo displayed fine form in the Central Mass. Track and Field Class Championships, winning the two-mile in a time of 10:01.57. The race was a thriller, too, with Peter Monahan of St. John’s coming in a close second in 10:02.31.

Putting personal achievements aside, Puleo likes what he sees in Nashoba’s boys’ track program. “It’s been a good year and we’ve all worked very hard to improve,” Puleo said. “Our younger guys have been great. We had two freshmen – Kyle Cloutier and Ryan Gillooly – place behind me in the top six in the two mile at leagues. That’s a credit to all their hard work.”

Puleo added that Nashoba coach Steve Beckwith deserves a lot of credit.

“He’s one of the best coaches around, he knows what he’s talking about, and he really gets the best out of us,” Puleo said. “We can work real hard, but he always knows what workouts to give us, how far to send us, what days to rest.”

Puleo, a senior from Bolton, is a captain, along with senior Mudgett, senior Tom Taft, and junior Ben Hart. The captains agree that Nashoba boys’ track is in prime position to continue the school’s strong tradition in the sport.

“I think a lot of our younger kids really came on after they decided what events they wanted to do, and that will help the team next season,” Hart said. “Next year, a lot of kids will come back and bring good things to the team. The older kids will come back more focused. Everyone will working extremely hard in the weight-room. We have great coaches at Nashoba – coaches who work hard and provide weight-lifting programs and running workout programs to the athletes.”

Hart, who excels in the 400, added that he’s enjoyed this season, which has been highlighted by individual improvements from various athletes, impressive team victories and personal records attained by numerous competitors.

Mudgett, the starting quarterback on Nashoba’s football team, carved his niche throwing the shot and discus, and also mentoring the younger athletes who competed in these events.

“Overall, the throwers I’ve been with, most of whom are sophomores, and one freshman, have done very well and improved,” Mudgett said. “Wyatt Boelens has come a long way and has been out-performing me recently. As a throwing team, we focus very hard. Our throwing coach has great tips for all of us. We work together and we help each other out. With the sophomores and freshmen coming up, we’re only going to get better.”