Melrose has eye on a league title

Published April 12, 2019


MELROSE—Some teams just are blessed with a consistent lineup that leads to winning.  

That can be said of the 2019 MHS girls spring track team, who returns with a roster of league champions who kicked off their season on April 3 at Pine Banks track and took a solid 91-45 win against Wilmington to begin their spring campaign 1-0. 

Coming off a winter season that saw Melrose clinch a league title, the Lady Raiders hope to create another league-winning season.

That’s a strong possibility for Melrose, who returns with captains Brooke Barriss, Kate Bidgood, Giovanna Machado, and Alex Cotugno leading the charge, along with seniors Kaleya Casterlow, and Erianna James. 

According to head coach Shannon Kane, a major strength of this team is the network of support offered to one another. “Track is individual, which increases the amount of pressure on the girls competing. But knowing that you have 60 other girls putting in just as much work as you are that are there to support you when you’re doing well, motivate you when you’re nervous, and pick you up if you don’t perform at you best that day is very reassuring.”

THE SKY is the limit for the Melrose High girls’ outdoor track team, who started their season with a win last week. (file photo)

This season Melrose also boasts some new talent, like Taylor Pesce in the 100 hurdles, Julia Mcaree in the high jump and triple jump, Hailey Keegan in the sprints, Ella Fleming, Mollie Lytje, and Autumn Whelan in middle distance.

In long distance, count on All Star Charlotte Tysall and runner Jane Harrington to score big for Melrose. And once again, many meets will be determined by the performances of their relay teams.

“Our relay teams show a lot of promise this year already and we have a lot of options for who can be competing in them,” says the coach. 

That was displayed against Wilmington when the 4×100 team of Nora Daly, Nia Kovacev, Keelan Boisvert, and Brooke Barriss, ran a 51.0, qualifying them for states. Their 4×400 relay of Kate Bidgood, Sydney Kroon, Charlotte Tysall, and Giovanna Machado took a win too, running a time of 4:28.0, only 9 seconds off from states. 

Distance and sprinting have both started off strong, with Tysall qualifying in the mile and Machado in the 400 hurdles, while solid efforts were made by Ciara Smith and Grace Donahue in the 100 hurdles, Brooke Barriss and Keelan Boisvert in the 100 dash, Nora Daly in the 200, and Kate Bidgood in the 800, who were only seconds off and should qualify next week against Stoneham on Wednesday.

In field, Chelsea Otaluka qualified for disc, throwing over 102 feet. Says Kane, “She, among others, are looking to have a great season in throwing and I’m excited to see how good they will get.” 

In jumping events, Annika Chaharom and Nicole Nzui will lead the way in long jump while Brooke Barriss returns in the triple jump. “And we’re excited to see how Ciara Smith and freshman Julia Mcaree perform in both triple and high jump,” says the coach. 

Having big expectations on the team’s shoulders is perfectly okay for coach Kane. “Our goal is to win the league,” she says. “But also we are starting to set out sights beyond just the Middlesex League and make bigger goals such as placing in the top 5 at both D3 state relays and D3 states this year.”