Warriors hope to be in the hunt in the M.L. Freedom division title
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High girls’ outdoor track team has been a contender in the Middlesex League Freedom division the past two springs. But both times the Warriors came up short of a winning the league title.
Could this be the year Wakefield breaks through and finishes first in the M.L. Freedom division?
Only time will tell but the Warriors do have good numbers and a strong core of athletes returning on a team that finished 2014 with a 5-1 record and 4-1 in the division. Wakefield’s only loss was in the dual meet finale to Burlington in a contest that determined the M.L. Freedom division champ.
“We have 60 girls out for the team which is good,” said Head Coach Karen Barrett, in her eighth year. “I’m happy we’re outside. We have been since last week. I think we can do well but it is hard to gauge the season. We have really good athletes. They’ve worked hard and have trained during the offseason. They’re giving it 100 percent.”
Wakefield will be led by its five senior captains which include Nicole Amalfitano, Nicole Galli, Emily Hammond, Jillian Raso and Lauren Sallade.
Amalfitano returns to the throwing events, while Galli returns to compete in the 400 hurdles, triple jump and 4×100 relay. Since Wakefield is a little thin in the throwing events, Galli could find herself in the shot put or discus as well.
Emily Hammond returns to compete in the 800 meters, while Sallade returns to run the mile and two mile.
Raso will run the mile, the 400 meters and compete in the high jump.
With Wakefield’s success in cross country the past four years, the distance events is where the Warriors have a lot of depth. The Warriors have outstanding distance runners with many of them also competing in cross country and indoor track.
Shannon Quirk, a senior and standout swimmer, returns to run the two mile where she was a M.L. Freedom division all-star a year ago.
Juniors Sara Custodio, Meaghan Hudson and sophomore Jordan Stackhouse also are slated to be among Wakefield’s nucleus of distance runners.
Hannah Melanson, a senior, has returned this spring and Barrett sees an immense improvement in the senior. Melanson also will run distance.
In the hurdles, sophomore Abby Harrington returns to compete in the 400 hurdles. Harrington will also compete in the high jump. Juniors Jill Cataldo and Sarah Buckley also return and will run the 100 hurdles. Cataldo will also participate in the long jump and 100 meter dash. Buckley also triple jumps and could compete in the 4×100 relay. Buckley could also run the 100 and 200 meter dashes when needed.
Sam Ross, a junior, returns to compete in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Ross is also a triple jumper.
Another junior, Avery Parece is slated to compete in the 100 hurdles, triple jump and long jump.
In the javelin, Alex Rollins, a sophomore, returns. Rollins showed a lot of promise as a freshman later in the season a year ago. Rollins may also compete in the discus as well as the Warriors could use another thrower.
There are three freshmen athletes that have shown a lot of promise in the preseason. Barrett believes they might just contribute to the point scoring. The three ninth graders are Hailey Lovell, Ana Lucas and Allee Purcell.
Lovell can run the 4×100 relay, 100 meter dash and has shown promise in the throwing events.
Lucas is sprinter and is being tabbed to run the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay.
Purcell is a talented athlete and will compete in the high jump, 400 meters and 4×400 relay. Barrett believes that Purcell can be a good middle distance runner.
“We graduated two all-stars in the throwing events and that is where we are a little weak,” said Barrett. “I have some younger girls working hard in the throwing events. They’re going to try and hopefully they’ll succeed. You never know. Getting swept in the throwing events, it will be tough for us to make up for that.
“We’re strong in the hurdles, long jump, triple jump and in the distance events,” continued Barrett. “I think we will be competitive and have a good record. Burlington (the defending league champ) will be tough to beat. I think they may have a little more depth in the 16 events. We have enough talent to compete if we can get all the events filled successfully. I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far.”
Wakefield will try to dethrone Burlington and win the rest of its dual meets in the M.L. Freedom division. The Warriors were scheduled to run against Woburn this afternoon at Woburn High School in a crossover meet against a team from the M.L. Liberty division. But that dual meet has been postponed and will be made up at a later date.
The Warriors’ season opener is now the M.L. Freedom division opener on Monday, April 13 at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts Watertown at the Beasley Track and Field facility.