The NRHS girls’ track and field team is the 2018 Div. 3 State Relay champions. (John Friberg Photo)

Published in the May 3, 2018 edition


NORTH READING — On Sunday, April 29, the North Reading girls’ track and field team accomplished an outstanding feat, winning the Division 3 State Relay Championship. Earning an impressive 69 points, the Hornets took home first place, 10 points ahead of the second-place team Tewksbury.

The Hornets have won the State Relays before, but what makes this victory that much more impressive is that this victory is in a whole new division. Last year they won the Div. 4 relays, and moving up a division did not faze them one bit as they clinched yet another victory in the Div. 3 relays. Prior to the meet, Head coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos ensured the girls that they had what it took, and encouraged them to look past the new division title, and the bigger and better teams they were up against. He told them instead to focus on what they are good at: winning. And they did, as they came out on top yet again.

The relay meet is a unique one in that, unlike a regular season meet, the top six placing teams gain points, respectively 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, or 1 point(s). The girls’ team took first place in four events: the shuttle hurdles, pole vault, triple jump and the distance medley relay. With a first place finish in these four events, the Hornets had secured 40 points, over half of their total score.

New school record

The first girls event was the 4x1600m relay, run by Lindsay MacLellan, Ali Grasso, Grace Hadley and Meredith Griffin. These four ran a combined 22.29.65, taking fifth place. Not only did this relay secure the first two points for the team, but in doing so, they set a new school record, breaking the previous 22.45.60 which was set in 2013.

The girls’ shuttle hurdles was the next girls event on the track. The A team of Jerlin Kaithamattam, Maggie McCarthy, Ali Grasso and Katelyn Gorgenyi won the event, with a final time of 1.07.63. Their first-place victory brought in a total of 10 points for the team. Also running the shuttle hurdles was the B team of Lauren Gulbicki, Kerri Ann Sexton, Julia Thorstad and Jillian McCullough.

The next sprinting event was the 4x100m relay. The A team of Sophia Casciano, Talia Monteleone, Megan Lawlor and Emily Davis ran a total 51.95, taking third place, earning six points for the team. Also running the 4x100m relay was the B team of Meredith Martin, Molly Feffer, Ashley Rabbitt and Kerri Ann Sexton.

The 4x200m relay was run by the A team of Sophia Casciano, Emily Davis, Jerlin Kaithamattam and Katelyn Gorgenyi, as well as the B team of Meredith Martin, Molly Feffer, Ashley Rabbitt and Kerri Ann Sexton. Running the 4x800m relay was Abigail Griffin, Julia Tatone, Jillian McCullough and Caitlin Raimo. Running the 4x400m was Mia DeNofrio, Molly Feffer, Julia Thorstad and Maggie McCarthy.

With jumping and throwing events, the relays consist of three-member teams. Each member jumps, vaults or throws individually and at the end, the heights and distances are added together for a total which then determines placement.

The pole vault A team of Sophia Casciano, Isabella Parrett and Emily Davis vaulted a total of 8.24 meters (27′ 0.25″), taking first by over one meter. The B team of Rachel Hill, Angelina Casciano, and Ashley Rabbitt vaulted a total of 6.09 meters (19′ 11.75″), taking fourth place, earning four points.

The long jump relay team of Victoria Grasso, Megan Lawlor and Kaitlyn Shevlin jumped a total of 14.43 meters (47’4.25″), taking second place and earning eight points.

The triple jump A team of Megan Lawlor, Ali Grasso, and Kaitlyn Shevlin jumped an impressive 30.96 meters (101’7″), taking first place and earning the team 10 points. Following behind them, the B team of Victoria Grasso, Katelyn Gorgenyi and Megan Majeski jumped 28.14 meters (92’4″), taking sixth place. The high jump team of Lauren Gulbicki, Kerry O’Brien and Julia Thorstad took seventh place with a total of 4.03 meters (13′ 3″).

In the javelin relay, Abby Martin, Maggie McCarthy and Mia DeNofrio threw a total of 76.46m (250’10”), securing second place, and scoring eight points for the team. Throwing the shot put were Ryan Hunter, Taylor Moore and Kelly Bratton (10th, 24.16m; 79’3.25″). Throwing discus were Kelly Bratton, Alyssa Crugnale and Mia DeNofrio (8th, 65.28m, 214’2″).

Two events in the relays are quite different than the others, these are the medley events. These consist of four runners, but unlike the other relays, they do not all run the same event. In the sprint medley relay, the first runner runs an 800m, the next two run run 200m and the last runs a 400m. Running the SMR were Olivia Esposito, Nicole Bruzzesse, Talia Monteleone and Mia DeNofrio.

DMR clinches title, school record

The distance medley relay begins with a 1200m run, then a 400m, followed by an 800m, and finally a 1600m. The DMR, the second to last event on the track, brought with it a whole lot of pressure. Going into it, the four runners from North Reading, Lindsey McLellan, Olivia Esposito, Grace Hadley and Meredith Griffin, knew that the meet was going to be close. North Reading was in the lead, but Tewksbury was slowly gaining more points. The DMR team knew that they needed to place high, and beat Tewksbury in order to clinch the D3 title. The race was close, and the entire North Reading boys’ and girls’ teams were lined up around the track cheering on the DMR team as they ran their hearts out in an attempt to make history. The girls ran a 12.57.15, placing first!

Their victory was over Tewksbury which placed fourth in the race. Along with their first-place finish, which provided North Reading the 10 points they finished ahead of second-place Tewksbury, the DMR team set a new school record. They shattered the 2017 record of 13.25.63, and in doing so, led their team to a victory.

Coach Pintzopoulos often speaks of the amount of depth that the North Reading girls’ track and tield team holds, and this truly showed on Sunday. With girls in every event, enough to make B teams, and numerous girls running in two or even three events, the commitment that these girls have to the sport was loud and clear for all of the teams to see.

With outstanding performances on both the girls’ and boys’ teams, this was undeniably an incredible weekend for the NRHS track and field program. The new concession stands and lavatories proved to be immensely helpful, and a great way to showcase our town’s commitment to its sports teams. Though the athletes competed for the victory, the final win would not have been possible without the help of the coaches, numerous volunteers, and students who spent over nine hours helping the meet run smoothly, so thank you to all who helped out.

Next, the girls’ track team has its sights set on the winning yet another state title, this time at the Division 3 State Meet, also to be held at the North Reading track. Good luck to both the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams as they head into the final half of spring track!