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Field Events Key for Nashoba Track Track
By Ellen Oliver

     Long known for their distance runners and sprinters, the Nashoba boys track team is developing a foothold in field events, allowing them to become a bigger Central Mass threat.  “We are more balanced than before. We used to have hurdles and distance and nothing in between,” said Coach Jim Nosel.
    Following an undefeated regular season, the boys took the Class B title at the District E Class Meet on May 12, retaining the title from last year and came in second (141 points) in the Mid-Wach B meet on May 16, defeated only by Westboro. Interestingly, Nashoba beat Westboro in the regular season (77-68), the first time in Nosel’s six year coaching career.
    Team co-captain Jair Cruikshank took first in the 400 hurdles and Zach Hume was first in the discus (127-3) closely followed by Gilson Hogan (118-5) at third. Hume also took second (41-9) in the shotput with Cam Rothfuss placing fifth (39-7.5). Hogan got on the podium for the javelin, reaching 133-10’, enough for a second place finish.
    Markiesh Harmon was first in the long jump (20-0.75) and co-captain Paul Louissaint at fifth (18-9.5.) “Paul spent the last three years as a sprinter, but this
year he’s expanded to the long jump with good results,” said Nosel. Harmon was also a threat in the triple jump, marked at 40-4.5 and second place. Justin Sargent took second in the high jump clearing 5-6.
     Nosel explained that assistant coaches Andy LeBlanc and Phil Sipowicz focusing on field events has made a huge difference for the team. Nosel pointed to LeBlanc’s expertise with the triple jumpers, saying, “Markeish is up to 40 feet on the triple jump, thanks to Andy’s coaching.”
    The numbers in the field events have helped Nashoba, particularly in meets with bigger schools, even if the Chieftains don’t take the event’s top spot. “We can give up a first if we get a second place and a fourth,” said Nosel.
    In the 800m, Westboro’s Brendan Roberston was first, but Nashoba took second, fifth and sixth. Co-captain Miles Hodge was second (2:01.9), Conor Ursuliak, fifth (2:05) and Forrest Hangen, sixth (2:06.6).
    In the mile, Forrest Hangen was second (4:37.9), Hayden Smith third (4:48.8) and Jacob Hangen (4:55.2) sixth. Nashoba had the 2-3 spot on the podium in the two-mile with Hodge second (9:48.5) and Mark Puleo third (10:31.7), followed by John Atkinson fifth (10:41.6). The relay teams placed third in the 1x400 (3:43.2) and second in the 1x800 (9:22.5).
    While the team didn’t have a goal of being undefeated in the regular season, the coach knew his talented athletes had chances to do it and achieve personal records along with way. “We looked at it one meet at a time,” said Nosel. “We looked at individual performances and told them to do your best, don’t focus on the other team. Run the race in your own head.”
    Nosel said the coaches have spent a lot of time on the mental aspect of competition. “The kids who do that [focus on themselves] are doing well. The kids who aren’t doing that, some of them tell me, ‘I let them get in my head.’”
    The girls’ team followed a similar path to the boys’ with only one loss this season and a strong showing at both the Class (third with 70 points) and Mid-Wach (second with 112 points) meets, with one notable exception. Coach Dan Glover explained that while his sprinters and distance runners did well and the team won all three relay events at the league meet, the lack of numbers in some other events, pulled Nashoba to the second place finish. “We have a deficit in the field events,” he explained, but added that in the future “that will be less of a facto
Trackr.” Glover discussed the strong freshman class saying “things are starting to percolate with them, that’s encouraging.”
      Coach Glover and Assistant Coach Ben Langelo focused on the way the points were scored at the league meet rather than on the total results. “We had some nice performances, a bunch of personal records,” related Coach Glover. Langelo was happy as well, especially after losing such a strong senior class last year. “We lost a lot of girls who scored us a lot of points, three of who are competing in college now,” said Langelo. “There’s no shame in second place.”
    Three speedy Sara(h)s helped Nas
hoba top the podium with Sarah Militano taking first in the 100m (12.2) and Sara Palis sixth (13.4). Militano narrowly came in second in the 200m with a time of 26.3, a tenth of a second behind Marlboro’s Anna McCabe (26.2). In the 400m Sarah Clopeck was fourth (63.7) and Kiran Reed (64.5) was sixth.
    Nashoba was fifth and sixth in the 800m, with Madison McMullen (5, 2:35.1) and Nicole Adams (6, 2:36).
   Co-captain Allie Allaire was first in the one mile (5:32.4), followed by teammates Kelsey Horowitz at fifth (5:48.1) and Natalie Bettez sixth (5:56.9). Allaire’s win in the mile was hard fought as Allaire battled with the opponent from Westboro, the lead changing several times. With Allaire’s victory came a loss - six seconds shaved off her personal record.
   Abby Hurd took first in her premi
ere event, the two-mile (11:37.4) and Taylor Brady contributed to the points by coming in third (12:30.2). “Abby lapped multiple athletes in the event,” said Glover. Gwen Savino set a personal record in the two mile, besting her personal record by a whopping 30 seconds. “Things are finally coming together for her,” said Glover. “She’s worked hard and it is getting to the point where I always knew she could be.”
    Although the field events may be an area of growth for Nashoba, there were some highlights. Devan Doyle was first in the pole vault (8-9) and Evelyn Cubero was fourth in the javelin (93-7). Brady was back for the 400 hurdles (6, 76.1) and the high jump (tied for fourth at 4-8). Clopeck was third in the long jump (15-6.75) and Meiling DellaGrotte, (33-1). Langelo spoke of DellaGrotte’s hard work in the event. “She made that her event this year,” he said.
    Not helping Nashoba in 
the field events is the lack of pole vaulting co-captain Casey Teska. Teska is hoping to be back for Districts and her coach praised her leadership while recovering from an injury. “She’s a great leader,” said Glover. “She doesn’t have to be here, but she’s here every day.”
    Districts are next for both teams and Nashoba is optimistic, prepared to be happy with the results as a team or individually. “We’re going against a bunch of powerful schools,” said Glover. “I’m curious to see where we are against them. We have a lot of talent, but not lots of depth.” For the boys, some of their big guns have been sidelined, most notable Louissaint and sprinter John Ojukwu. “Injuries hurt us a lot this year,” admitted Nosel. “Going to Districts will be hard.”