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STAwards for Spring Track '06
Sam Fontaine - Most Bang for the Buck

The triple jump can be a very graceful event - just not in high school. Most times I watch triple jump it looks like a holistic dentist pulling a tooth. They know it is going to be painful so they just get it over with as quickly as possible. Sam makes it look more like brain surgery. She understands the event and how each step - if done correctly - can lead to the best outcome.

TJ is also a very demanding sport from a physical standpoint. I know because a TJ hamstring tear ended my junior year of competition at UConn. So when any athlete makes it through an entire season of this event, they get a blue star!

If I was to bet money on the triple jump I figure the odds on Sam are pretty good. Plus, it doesn't hurt that she can flash a winning smile at any time.

Adrian Li - Shortest Synonym Award

The other night I got an e-mail from Adrian. It started with the comment. "I don't know if you know me." Pleeeease. The name Li means high jump in Hockomock League-ish.

Despite the reputation that I care more about 4X100M than anything else - the truth is that I live and breathe high jump. Even if you jump for a boys' team (my secondary concern since 1996) I still know what's going on. Two simple letters (L and i) when put together are a code for vertical excellence.

Canton's high flying trio is as co-ordinated in the air as the Blue Angels. Adrian is the lead jet!

Josie Morse - New Blip on the Radar Screen

How in the world did I enter this year not knowing Josie? I love multi-event athletes and she is a great one. A tremendous blend of throwing power and hurdling finesse, Josie really got it done for King Philip this year.

We asked the Warriors to run against us on the worst possible day of the year. The wind was howling and the rain came down in sheets. Josie won the shot put and discus while placing in the 100MH.

After placing second in javelin at the league meet I thought she was invincible - until I met her at the Class B Meet with ice on her shoulder. She was pleasant and didn't make any excuses. Josie is a true battler.

Brian Miller - "Get it Done" Award

Here's another athlete who got my attention in high jump, but then proved himself over a variety of events.

I can see no reason why Brian should be able to jump 6'5 in the high jump. He just does it!

Then he sprints and hurdles with the best of the league.

High jumpers are showmen, Miller and Lint vs. Vaughn and Badger in the dual meet was worth theatre price. I got a front row seat and settled in for Acts 1, 2 and 3. Miller gave a typically stellar performance.

Shonneau Lippett - Best Bridesmaid

It can't be much fun being in the same league with Hillary. Welcome to the world of #2.

I don't think Shonneau feels that way and she never acted like it. She is a great shot-putter and always competed like one. Most years she would have been the athlete that Hock throwers held in awe. Except for Crooke - they all did. She takes her talents to UMass and I expect nothing but great things from her next year. Shonneau, please keep in touch.

Justin Benjaminson - "The Answer is!" Award

Who is the best athlete in the Hockomock League? If you think a decathalete is the answer, you'd have to go with Justin Benjaminson.

He not only starred at the hurdles and triple jump, but he capped his season by winning the MSTCA decathlon with a total of 5885 points.

Only Lint beat him in the 100M, Benji posted the best long jump out of 80 athletes, and as expected he starred in the triple jump and hurdles. He also wasn't too bad in the throws with 117' in jav and 97' in discus.

Who's the best athlete in the Hock? TRash talk doesn't make it you. Until you beat Benjaminson head-to-head you're only moving oxygen

Justin appears at right
Melissa Murphy - Mansfield's Unsung Hero Award

I don't know how they feel at Mansfield, but there used to be a lot of Hornets that I thought about before Melissa. But then, she kept stinging us. The pain she inflicted upon us is tough to ignore.

Whether cranking out a 400M or running a killer relay, matching up against Murph is a losing proposition. Say all you will about anyone else, but Melissa is the real deal. There aren't many athletes I'm happier to see graduate than her. I wish her luck in the future. Now, go beat up on someone else!

Robbie Vaughn - Most Talented Younger Brother Award

Marcus may be more fashionable and he holds a faster hurdle PR, but I'm not sure he could take an open-field tackle from Robbie. Robbie doesn't pretend to fill his older brother's shoes. He brings his own size 12's to the track. If you say he doesn't live up to Marcus's reputation Robbie will kick you in the butt with them.

I have to laugh at the DyeStat chatter that questioned why he was league MVP. Simple! Nine coaches vote and Robbie got the majority. They must have seen something.

The fact that he represented his team at the New Englands despite the fact that Shriner football commitments could have deterred him speaks volumes about his investment in his team.

Christine Doherty - "I told you so" Award

I should have listened when Coach Coleman told me how good Christine was. But I always take coach's accolades with a grain of salt. I wait until its proven to me.

Christine had an awesome year. She can run anything from the 400 to 2-mile.

She is not only one of the top runners in the Hockomock this year, but in many years she would have been #1. To make it worse, she's such a nice person that you can't hate her.

Coach Coleman told me so!

Conor Richardson - "Take One for the Team" Award

Why would someone who won the 300MH hurdles in the league meet skip that event in the state meet? The athletes at NA decided that they would try the double-relay (4X1 and 4X4) instead of opting for individual accolades.

It is only supposition that he could improve on his 40.5 at Hocks. Call it a mute point.

He was part of the school record 4X1 at Class B as NA took first place. The 4X4 was a risk that didn't pan out.

You can't win them all. But when you lose trying to win one for the team, it is never a complete loss.

Melissa Moul - "Bank" on Her

When a team is trying to establish themselves they need an event that is "money in the bank" Melissa gave Canton that in hurdles. The result was Canton's best team showing in years.

Moul coupled with Rocco, Doherty and McDermott gave them solid points every meet. Now they need a new money girl to wear green. Sorry, Coach Coleman, I can't loan you any.

Nicole Chace - Grampa Estey Award

Nicole is the first of four NA relay runners who I'm recognizing for their team accomplishments. Here is a condensed version of what I had to say about her at our banquet.

This year's recipient shares many of Grampa Estey's qualities. I've never seen her complain, ask for special treatment, or think that anything is owed to her. Yet when I've needed her she was always ready to do the job and do it well. Her love of the 4X1 is well known.

When Nicole Chace ran the relay she gave it everything she had. And when the job fell to someone else, she was always there to cheer them on and stand on the blocks. She would always find a way to get to get to Holyoke or Maine or wherever the relay team was running.

Just days before the Hocks she was practicing handoffs. Trying hard to get the baton to the next runner, she reached out, made the pass and in doing so she lost her balance. The result was a crash to the track and a painful shoulder injury that ended her season.

Nicole should have had the opportunity to carry the baton that Saturday. Instead she watched and cheered for her favorite event – never once complaining that it wasn't her.

Thank you Nicole for all that you've done for us.

Amanda Parker - North Attleboro's Unsung Hero Award

There can not be an easier athlete to coach. Like so many members of my team, she is highly motivated. It shows in her work ethic.

Only a sophomore, Amanda is also very accomplished. She is already established on school record relays and is one of NA's best ever quarter milers.

Amanda's attitude is infectious. She is calm and focused before meets, then does her best. If the result isn't what she wanted, Amanda is still able to hold her head high, be pragmatic, and quickly refocuses on any change she needs to make.

In the 4X800M the start is very tough. Then, if you lose contact with the leaders it is doubtful you're team will be in contention.At the state meets I had her run lead-off. Whether she got boxed in or bumped around, Amanda kept her cool. A huge PR at the State Finals (2:21.8 split) put us in contention as did a 2:22 at New Englands. Both times she got us rolling to performances we didn't know we were capable of.

Amanda on right
Alyse Rocco - Newest Shock to the Hock

When I talk to my team I only address her as Rocco. Maybe I shouldn't. Rocco sounds too tough! Maybe I should call her Alyse.At least the name Alyse sounds beatable!

Unfortunately for the league, Rocco is tough. All season she threw down great times in the 800M to the 2-mile. When I saw her run 5:08 at All States I was convinced that we are watching a rare talent.

Next time I watch her run I'll make sure that I'm grounded. I don't need to be shocked again.

Kristen McLoughlin - Best All-Around

As a sophomore she was second in the 200 at the league meet and third in the long jump. She finished her day by splitting 61.3 in the 4X4.

Kristen also high jumped 4'6 the only meet she was entered and can break 13.0 in the 100M. She capped her season as a member of NA's 48.86 relay team at New Englands.

When Kristen started indoor track she wasn't sure she could do anything. I'm starting to be convinced that she can do everything.

Meghan Ferrara - "Not Again" Award

Mansfield has had some athletes that we just can't beat. So it was great anticipating an '07 season without Crook, Lincoln, Murphy and Regan.

So, what do they get? A freshman that wins the League Meet in the 100M hurdles and 300M Hurdles. Then she places in the State Finals 100MH. You know she has to be able to jump. Like Mansfield needs another quadruple threat athlete!

Not again!

Stephanie McNamara - Butterfly Award

Steph has undergone some dramatic changes. As a freshman she wanted to be a short distance/shot put type athlete. Any talent that she may have had was definately in the dormant state.

Last year she increased her distance and when she ran 12:30 as a sophomore we were thrilled. I didn't realize that I was still watching someone in the larval stage. What she does now makes it look like she was crawling.

This year Steph has spread her wings and flown. Three #'s tell the story. 11:36, 5:23 and 2:22. Or in English it converts to a league championship in the two-mile and part of a school record 4X8 that placed 7th at New Englands. Since next year Steph will be captain of two seasons should she be called a Monarch Butterfly.