Tommy Taft in motion as a Nashoba pole vaulter.
Jonathan Daisy;

By Ellen Oliver<br>

Nashoba boys track (4-1 in the regular season) blew away the competition in the Class B championship in Shrewsbury on Saturday. The boys’ won with 1124.2 points, far ahead of second place finisher Auburn with 98.3 points. In Lunenburg, the girls’ team (5-0) placed third with 65 points at their Class B meet.

    Nashoba had a few off-track obstacles including injuries and prom the night of the event. The meet also caps the number of events each athlete can enter, which usually works in Nashoba’s favor, said boys coach Jim Nosel. “Strategy plays a part for coaches and it evens things out some. There’s not one kid doing a lot,” he said. 

For the boys’ team, Coach Nosel’s strategy worked, with Chieftains finishing in the top six of nearly every event. Nashoba had first place finishes in sprint, distance, relay, and field events.

    Although recovering from a hamstring injury, John Ojukwu was able to snag first in the 100m (10.91). Markiesh Harmon was tops in the 200m (23.43) and Forrest Hangen broke the tape in the one mile (4:39.37) with brother Jacob fifth (4:56.91) and teammate Travis Wold sixth (5:00.74). In the two mile, Mark Puleo was first (10:17.91) and John Atkinson fifth (10:42.44). In the 800m, Conor Ursuliak was second (2:04.13), followed by Matthew Boelens at fourth (2:07.72).

Forrest Hangen, Puleo, Ursuliak, and Boelens combined for a swifty 9:13.72 time in the 4×800 relay to take first place, while Nashoba’s 4×100 relay team (Harmon, Paul Louissaint, Zachary Wright, Ojukwu) placed second with a time of 46.26.

     Harmon reinforced his double threat on both the track and field sides of the meet, grabbing first in the long jump (19-11). Teammates Cam Rothfuss, Matthew Mudgett, and Wyatt Boelens placed in the discus; Rothfuss was third (126-11-1/2), Mudgett fifth (118-11) and Wyatt Boelens sixth (116-6-1/2). Christopher Pokorney was third in the 400 hurdles (1:03.04).

In the high jump, Nashoba went three and four with Alex Rhodes (3rd, 5-8) and Louissaint (4th, 5-8), while Connor

Senior Cam Rothfuss
Jonathan Daisy;

Pokorney cleared 10-0 to take third in the pole vault and Zack Manyak claimed second in the javelin (144-2).

     Also juggling injured athletes and prom attendees, the girls’ team didn’t have as many first place finishers, but showed depth with multiple top six finishers. Nashoba finished first in pole vault and the 4×100 relay to propel Nashoba to third place. 

Katie Deufel was first in pole vault, clearing 8-0. The speedy 4×100 relay team took first (51.47) on the fast legs of Stephanie Palis, Kristina MacLure, Morgan Livoli, Tatiana Jarostchuk, while the 4×800 team was sixth (10:53.40). In the nail biter race of the day, Jarostchuk was second only by a hundredth of a second (13.19) in the 100m.

     In the two mile, Kelsey Horowitz and Rylee Gillen recovered enough from injuries to boost the Chieftains standing with fifth and sixth place finishes (Horowitz 12:20.35, Gillen 12:20.36). Kiran Reed was third in the 400m (1:03.02).

Kristina MacLure was second in the 200m (26.80) and in the long jump (16-11). Rebecca Jacobs was fifth in the discus (82-4), while Evelyn Cubero was fifth in javelin (96-3). In the 100m hurdles, Nashoba snagged two top placements with Taylor Tower fifth (17.89) and Abby Slater sixth (17.94).

    A long winter meant a compressed season for athletes throughout the area. While field sports took advantage of the turf, the shorter training season led to changes for the track program. “We turned down a lot of non-league meets,” said Nosel.  “Some schools train through their meets, we prefer to train on the track with the coach supervising the athletes.” Carefully managing peaking schedules for his distance runners, distance coach Steve Beckwith added, “The results of the Class Meet gives us a look at everybody in the league. We can see where our athletes fit against other schools.”

The next test for the Chieftains is on Wednesday May 15 when Nashoba hosts the boys’ and girls’ Mid-Wach B meet.