Return to : Home

Celestial Tea

Calmest Athlete or Coach
Jenna Davidner
There is a tranquility that comes with confidence. But there is also tension that comes with trying to stay ahead of a pack - one that is constantly chasing the leader. Jenna is firmly in the lead of Hockomock runners but she also has the heavy burden of fighting to maintain her preeminence. She does a great job of keeping the demons at bay. The stress has to be there but she finds ways not to show it.
Lucky Charms

Most Superstitious
Katie O'Koren and John Dacey
Superstition is the bread and butter of athletes. In this case Franklin rules the dairy case. Katie and John don't leave anything to chance. From music to clothes these two take superstition to a new level. Apparently it works as they are closing out tremendously successful careers. Maybe they will write a book - "How to make your own luck!"
Friendlies Ice Cream

Best friend from another team
Teams of the Hockomock League

We are at a great juncture in Hockomock sportsmanship – particularly in track and field. I've coached through times where there was animosity and distrust within the coaching ranks that filtered down to athletes. There have also been times when the lack of sportsmanship may have originated with the athletes, but coaches could have been more proactive in countering the negativity. One sign that sportsmanship is on the rise is the number of athletes, coaches and parents who nominate athletes and teams from other schools for categories such as this.


This year the award goes to the Hockomock! This league is not only one of the most competitive but also one of the friendliest. How could I possibly pick one person or team above the others. So, I merely list all those who have been nominated knowing that the list could be so much longer. Special kudos to everyone because I whole-heartedly agree with this list.

The Hockomock

Mansfield Boys

Kathleen Ryan

Katie O'Koren

Lindsey Walsh

John Dacey

Christian Bates

Nick Wade

Pat Slight

Comet Cleanser

Best finishing kick
Julie Binney
With this award Julie Binney was the first name that came to my mind. I'll tell you why. Last year and this year I was at the “Stone House” during the Hock Championships. For those fans who have never walked the course, it is the long kicking point for top runners – once you hit the house it is just uphill over a gravel road and onto the field. If you wait until the top of the hill its just too late for many. Last year Julie Binney was wedged between Kathleen Ryan and Mary Cole in the critical battle between OA and Franklin. I was amazed to later find out that Julie had out-kicked these athletes – both fast closers in their own right. And this year she was toe-to-toe with Ali Kirsch and proceeded to completely run away from her over the last 600M. Thinking back I also remember a critical indoor meet where she sprinted past Steph McNamara at the end of a mile when Mac was the one known for having a kick. Anyone can have a kick if they conserve themselves, but Julie has shown time and again the ability to run in the red zone but dig down and find an extra gear at the end. te for many. Last year Julie Binney was wdr at the end.
Tums Antacid

Athlete most likely to give the opponent indigestion
Shayne Collins
I have this great picture of Shayne before the start of the divisional meet. His eyes are fixed into the distance and he appears trance-like. If I had to run against him, just the sight of this would start my stomach churning. Shayne is not only a great spokesman for Tums but he should also consider pitching sleeping aids. I can hear him now. “Am I keeping you up at night? Am I giving you heartburn? No need to feel bad. Try Tums and AmbienCR. You still won't beat me but you'll feel better the next day!”
A1 Steak Sauce

The Top Athlete – with some flare!
Mike Moverman
Mike Moverman was never hamburg, but he wasn't always choice sirloin. Like good Kobi beef, he needed the right diet and proper treatment and aging. Now what the Hockomock has is a top of the menu runner. Mike was recently been graded D1 Prime. Take that Outback Steakhouse
Smartfood Popcorn

The Genius of the Hockomock
Ed Connor

My first inclination was to skip the athletes who we all agree are geniuses for picking cross-country as a sport. They study training, strategy and diet like Newton studied gravity. When you fall for running you fall hard!

Then I was going to pick Julie Collins, Neal Levine and Judy Copely. Let's face it. We all know how to coach. There's a fairly clear set of scientific principles and then there is the art of handling athletes. You just have to be smart. But, I guess there's smart and then really SMART. Year after year these coaches produce championship teams.


Then came a revelation. A girl from OA let in on a little secret. She wanted me to know that Ed Connor was her choice of professor when it came to being educated about running. Not knowing much about him except that he never misses a meet, I asked Neil Levine give me the inside scoop. Here it is!


"Ed and his wife Anne are our biggest fans.  In my ten years of coaching cross country they have never missed a meet.  They have no kids in the program.  When I was coaching track it was the same thing.  I believe he and Anne have a similar streak going in indoor and outdoor.  Ed has worked with us in the past and this season as a volunteer assistant coach.  Before his retirement he had coached  at several schools.  Most recently I think Archbishop Williams.  He has also worked as an assistant with Karen Boen over at Stonehill.  The guy is awesome.  He picks up on stuff that we miss all the time.  His insight is invaluable."

I'm sorry that I don't have a picture of Ed available because anyone who has been around the Hockomock for a long time would recognize him.

Home Pride Bread

Most loves school and team
Pat Slight - Pat McGowan - Nick Wade - Katie Czepiel

This is a tough one, because every team has their “rock” – the person who exudes team pride and galvanizes the team around a single purpose. It is obvious by the flood of nominations that Pat Slight's picture should be on the wrapper for Home Pride bread. When you are at a meet there is no doubt which school he runs for and cares deeply about. Donning the uniform brings a smile to his face and even if you don't see him in the middle of his team's pre race huddle you can hear his fiery pump-up speeches. Pat is a true Franklin “blue blood!”

Pat McGowan - Somewhere along the line I became a Julie Collins believer. There's a lot of good things that can be said about Wally Collins, but the greatest thing he ever did was latch onto Julie. When she says something I listen. JUlie stepped up and told me that Pat was Mr. Mansfield. Who am I to dispute?


Nick Wade - It was evident from the first time I saw Nick in 6 th grade that he was going to be a great distance runner. He spent a few years globe trotting. But he was drawn back to his roots in North Attleboro and has worn the red and white with pride – bringing honor to his school in the form of a state 800M title. This season he was injured but never wavered in his commitment. He ran hurt to help his team, then when he was no longer able to compete he was dedicated to helping in any way he could – whether it was to help construct workouts, help set up the team tent, carry warm-ups back from the starting line or cheer on every single runner. No job was too small or beneath him. Nick was a staunch advocate of our slowest runner because Nick saw within him the same team-driven intensity. From A(ttleboro) to N(orth) Nick personifies this award.

Now about Katie Czepiel. A measure of my team's character was how they reacted when things didn't go the way they planned. Despite a losing season, not one day did anyone on the team falter. No one was looking for an easy way out. Each day they were willing to work harder and the season ended all too soon. The entire team wished they had another month. That's special and the cause was Katie Czepiel. Her soft-spoken leadership was the glue that held everything together. She led by example. No one wanted to disappoint her. The measures of a team's success are many and diverse. In this, my last year of coaching I got to experience something I'd never seen – a winless season. Funny, how it was also one of my most enjoyable. I am proud of my girls and their commitment to the cause. This was a season I'll long remember and Katie made it happen.