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Indoor Track ST Awards '09

Back in the 60's when I was in high school the word “the” was an article, but over the years it has also taken on the role of adjective.


This season's ST Awards is about THE as an adjective, as in: “THE only one”, or “THE best known”. By looking at each category and winner I think you'll get the idea.

And if your English teacher marks you wrong when you claim THE is an adjective send him/her to me. I'll set them straight!

“THE Man”
Dan Glavin
Given the fact that this sport at the high school level is considered “boys' indoor track” it might be unfair to let Glavin compete. In the Hock he's been the man others aspire to – or should aspire to - become.   Forget the fact that he's been smashing shot put records with monstrous throws! Glavin also exudes maturity around the circle. Pressure, such as that thrown at him by Sam Bombaugh, never rattles him. It only motivates a string of increasingly more impressive performances. Glavin is ready for college but first must put in a spring season that should be equally impressive in both shot put AND discus.
“THE Quick”

Nick Wade

Nick's always been quick. As a middle school runner no one could beat him. During 8 th grade he moved to Amsterdam. It was a quick trip because by sophomore year he was back at NAHS where he was quick to make a name for himself – by becoming class B champion in the 800M as a sophomore. This year things took a turn for the worse when he was injured during cross-country. Once back to track he quickly regained form winning 600M championships at Hocks, Division II and All-States. In fact, he was quick enough at All-States to break the meet record.


Why do I call him Nick the Quick? Because it sounds a lot better than “Nick the Brisk” or “Nick the Rapid”.

“THE Flash”
Julianne Cappadona

There is a phenomenon known as the flash that occurs at sunset. Just before the sun dips completely behind the horizon you may sometimes see a green blink. Well Cappy is at the sunset of her high school career and if you watch her race really close there is a red flash barely discernable to the naked eye. One second she's in the starting blocks and the next second she's smiling at the finish line.


Warning: Remember that its' dangerous to look at the sun with the naked eye. And if you're competing against Cappadona its also dangerous to look at her. It can cause severe bruising of the ego.

“THE Closer”
Michelle Jenssen

Baseball has its closer. Track and field has its anchor leg. In relays everybody else's job is to keep things manageable. Then the closer has to put things away – to make the save. There's an aura of invincibility that surrounds the best closers.


Michelle Jenssen has assumed the aura. It started at the dual meet vs. Franklin when she dug deep to come from behind to assure a league title. But that was nothing compared to State Finals. Her sub-60 anchor leg saved both a personal and team state championship. Nobody wants to meet Jenssen when she has a baton in her hand!

“THE Cardiac Kids”
NA 4X2

They love doing it the hard way, coming from behind on the tight corners and short straightaways of Reggie Lewis Center. The fans are left gritting their teeth when North falls behind early, wondering about the ifs.


What if someone gets in the way?

What if the team has to run wide adding extra distance?

What if they don't have enough speed to catch the leaders?


The answers are:

Doesn't Matter!

Doesn't Matter!

You've got to be joking!


In the end it works out to a state championship for Christy Deininger, Carolyn Udall, Lauren Goldberg and Julianne Cappadona.

“THE New Names”
Sharon 4X2

A few weeks ago I called this group the no-name team because beyond the Hockomock League they aren't household names. Only one made state finals in an individual event (Renavales-55M-21 st ). At the DII championship Renavales was 5 th in the 55M, in the 300M Mattocks was 8 th and Gemba 24 th and Kutana was 15 th in the 600.


But hand these boys a baton and it's a whole different story. They won Hocks, were 4 th at the DII meet and in an inspired race dropped nearly a full second to place 3 rd in the state finals.


Now I call Brad Mattocks, Andrew Renevales, Wes Gemba and Alex Kutana the “New Name” team because they enter the outdoor season as a force not easily dealt with.

“THE Dart”
Alexa Murray

Diminuative, poised and unassuming – but deadly. How does this girl fly through the air so fast? Many have felt her sting, most recently Sam Smith who looked like the heir apparent to Cappadona but got bested by Murray in the state finals. Murray is right on target for a great season on 2010. Her 55M battles with Smith will be highly anticipated.

“THE Silencer”
Quinn Ryder

I thought Brady Shorey could beat Quinn Ryder in the 55M. I thought Ryder had two shots at getting to state finals – long jump and 300M. I vocalized both on my web-site. So what does he do? Ryder moves to the 55M in states and proceeds to clean up, posting the Hocks fastest time of the year and placing second in the state.


If there were any Ryder critics out there they've been silenced – myself included.

“THE Sky Pilot”
Laura Weeks


Laura Weeks was temporarily grounded when she broke her wrist in the first meet of the season. But unlike NASA who takes months to correct problems, they just slapped a cast on Weeks and cleared her for take-off. And take-off she did clearing 5'4” consistently despite the increased payload she carried on one arm. Then she cleared 5'6” when it most counted, securing a state championship.

She's scheduled for weekly space walks this spring.


“THE Pheonix”
Rodney Jullian


You can't keep Rodney Jullian down for long. He's too passionate about hurdles to stay in a rut. You might say that when someone threw hurdles in his way Jullian found ways to clear them. His season wasn't smooth, but he knew how to throw it down when he had to. He was at his best at state coaches where he worked up from a low seed to win the hurdles. His jumping for joy brought out one of my biggest smiles of the year. But it was nothing compared to his ear-to-ear grin. Then he won Hocks. After losing to DII champ and teammate Greg Boursiquot Jullian then came back to be the only Hock runner to make it to New Englands in hurdles via a 6 th place state meet finish.

“da BOMB”

Emily Broyles

In this ever-escalating war known as the Hockomock League there is a constant flux in the balance of power. For those who felt Mansfield's position as a super-power were in jeopardy I have some bad news. Sure, they may be decommissioning a whole fleet of their battleships such as the USN Ferreira, USN McCabe and USN Jenssen. But they will still strike fear into opponents because they have the ultimate weapon, the E-Bomb. You knew Broyles was going to be a potent weapon even during the early stages of development. But to be destroying much older competition in the 300M! If the fact that she's   a state champion as a sophomore doesn't rattle you, consider the fact that she split 56.9 at the Nike Indoor Nationals. Word to the wise! If you see the E-Bomb coming don't forget to “duck and cover”!

“THE Houdini”
Lauren Goldberg

Getting the baton in fifth place of a 4X2 (third leg) is difficult. Before you even start to think about chasing the leaders you have to extricate yourself from the mass of runners who've just finished and are milling around just where you want to run. In both the MSTCA Elite Meet and the State Finals that is the predicament Lauren Goldberg was facing. Yet, with a wave of her baton the seas parted and she found clear sailing to lane one. Once there she went to work putting NA back in contention. The first time I saw it I was mesmerized. The second time I saw it, it was even more impressive. That's when I decided that it was more than good luck. Goldberg has a talent that would make Houdini.


Goldberg might be considered the table setter for Cappadona but without her magic it would all be in vain.

“THE Freshman”
Alexandria Geise

There were many great freshmen this year who have long and promising careers ahead of them. It will only take patience and before you know it Nichole Sarkis, Emily Belastock, Michelle Tacchi, Laura Daley and a host of other young athletes will become as well known as this year's incredible stock of seniors.

Alexandria Geise doesn't have to wait. At Hocks she ruined the expectations of older athletes when she won the two mile. Now she carries the burden of ever increasing expectations. I think she'll handle it just fine.

“THE Hard Luck Club”
Mike Moverman and Patrick Grimes

Nothing worse than spending time on the shelf as a senior! It's supposed to be their year. It would have been great to watch Moverman and Grimes grind up the competition. In a more forgiving world they would have both been injury free. That might have meant state championships for both unless they ended up in the mile together. Having watched that race a 1-2 finish would have been possible.

There was some small solace as each returned for Hock Championship wins and some divisional success. But eventually the lack of work hurt. At least have each other to share the misery of dreams undone.


Let's wish for better outcomes in the spring.

“THE Hard Luck Club Revisited”

Chris Letourneau

How much bad luck is that when an athlete returns (and to an event that isn't his favorite) just in time to shatter your plan by a photo finish .02. Pat Grimes came back just long enough to dash Letourneau's dreams of a Hock Championship in the 1000M. Been there – felt that. If it weren't for bad luck he'd have no luck at all.

“THE Midas Touch
Jenna Davidner


Jenna, refresh our memory. Has anyone in the Hock ever beaten you at any distance? Has anyone in the Hock ever been close to you at the finish of a race (when you were trying)? The recession won't hurt Davidner because the price of precious medals is skyrocketing - and she has a closet full!

“THE Purple Runner”
Ali Kirsch

This is the title of one of my favorite books. The mysterious “purple runner” is seen running all over London. Ali Kirsch is the purple runner because she IS the face of Sharon distance running. What isn't a mystery is how she got there. Ali does it through hard work, improving step by step. It was a big step at states this year when she edged nemesis Mary Cole in the mile.

“THE Opportunist and THE Opportunist Revisited”
Aubree Piepmeier and Dave Connolly

At Hocks timing is everything. One year the 1000M can be won in 3:13 and the next year it could be 3:04. When the seeds came out it looked like a 3:12 year and that appeared to favor last year's winner Bethany Frazier. Someone forgot to let Aubree know. “Peppy” saw it as her opening and came through with a 3:11.00.


Ditto for Dave Connolly. The mile might have seen Pat Grimes or even a Mike Moverman tune-up. When neither name showed up there were suddenly a half dozen athletes with gold medal dreams. Connolly got the win edging Brendan Boyle and Joe Curreri. Take nothing away – he had to work for it and that made it taste even better.

“THE Show”
Drew Beck, Chris Allen

This is no short-lived pilot series. Fans can look forward to four years of the Drew Beck and Chris Allen Ultimate Mile Showdown. It features a never-ending set of twists and turns. These weren't just the two best freshman distance runners in the Hock. Each spent time atop the state as the fastest 8-lap freshman in Massachusetts. Then each tried the inevitable shorter-longer distances only to return to their premiere event. How good are they? Beck edged Allen by less than a second at the Nike Indoor Nationals to become the 6 th and 7 th best freshmen in the US of A! The best is yet to come.

“THE New Sheriff”

 Shannon Smith

Only pole vault (which we don't do) has the same feel as high jump. When you get down to the final two athletes they duel back and forth like a shoot out at the OK Corral. By the end – only one leaves the bar standing! Laura Weeks is THE retiring gunslinger. That leaves room for a new sheriff in town. It looks like Shannon Smith will start off next season wearing a shiny badge. She'll face off with brash newcomers like Jen Perkins and Michaela Nichols.   By the way, Smith will also be defending her new 55M dash territory ceded by graduating Julianne Cappadona. Alexa Murray has designs on that title.

“THE Legacy”

Michael Bates

The legacy is that Canton almost always wins the high jump at Hocks. Early season it appeared Bobby Saraf would continue the tradition. But when he fell by the wayside the door was open for other teams to challenge. Bates took up the challenge. He slammed the gate shut at Hocks with a 6'4” spanking of the competition. The legacy lives on!

“Simply THE Best”

Kelly McCabe

The winner of the Olympic decathlon is considered the best athlete in the world. Let me give you three numbers and you can tell me if you know a better athlete than Kelly McCabe.

High jump – 5'3.25

Long Jump 16'5”

Shot Put – 39'7.75”

Now, if you looked hard enough you might find a jumper who could do the first two. But I doubt they'd get within 5' of her shot put. And these aren't even her PR's. McCabe did all three in the same day along with running the hurdles and 800M at the Nike Indoor Nationals. She is simply the best athlete in the Hockomock – in ANY SPORT!

“THE Tiger Who Roars”

Kevin Peter

Kevin Peter is the loudest in the house. But, just being loud isn't notable. You have to perform. Peter backs the increased decibels up with results. When he hits it in shot put you hear him throughout the field house. Most likely its' another PR because that's what he did meet after meet. He PR'd all the way to the New England Championships. Why didn't I call him a lion that roars? It's because lions are lazy. Peter's a tiger because of his passion. This self-made athlete (Peter lives at the track on Sunday afternoons) will rule the Hockomock jungle next year