Published in the December 7, 2017 edition

RACHEL HILL gets ready to sign her NLI to UMass Lowell. Front row from left: Lorraine Hayes and Rachel Hill. Back row from left: Principal AJ Loprete, Jesse Hill, Thomas Hill, Jessica Hill, Debra Hayes Hill, Coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos and Athletic Director David Johnson. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)


NORTH READING — North Reading High School’s Rachel Hill has earned every bit of this.

Hill recently signed a National Letter of Intent to the UMass Lowell track and field program to compete in the pole vault. It took years of dedication and hard work to get to this point, but the Hornet track and field and soccer star has finally secured an opportunity to relax and enjoy the moment.

Just don’t expect her to sit back for too long.

According to NRHS track and field head coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos, it’s Hill’s relentless work ethic that has earned her a reputation as one of the state’s top vaulters.

“Rachel is where she is right now because of the hard work she’s put in,” said Pintzopoulos. “From day one she wanted to be a vaulter. Even as a freshman we knew she was going to continue collegiately.”

Some of Hill’s pole vault accolades include a 2017 Div. 4 State Championship, a 2016 Rhode Island Classic championship, a 2017 Nashua North Invitational championship and a record at the 2017 CAL league dual meet (11’6”) just to name a select few. Within a NR pole vault program with a history of vaulters as rich as any school in the state, Hill has catapulted her name to the top of the list.

“She’s fearless, she’s crazy and she’s athletic,” said her mother Debra Hayes Hill. “It’s been exciting to watch.”

When it came time to choose a school, UMass Lowell provided the perfect blend of academics and athletics that Hill was looking for.

“It was my top school all along,” said Hill. “I really liked the coaches and they have a really great nursing program so it was an easy decision.”

The River Hawks have a rapidly improving track and field program that Hill is very excited to be a part of.

“Their program is getting a lot stronger, especially their vault program,” said Hill. “They keep getting more talented as the years go on so they’ve been scoring better.”

Coach Pintzopoulos agrees that UML is the place for Hill.

“Lowell is a great Division 1 program. The coach is one of the better pole vault coaches in the region. I think it will be a good fit for her academically too with the nursing program.”

As her time at NRHS winds down, Rachel Hill and her family are grateful for the coaches and community support that have helped her along the way. Pole vault is a unique sport in that it requires a personal drive to be great. While Hill no doubt has that quality, she is quick to thank her coaches and teammates past and present.

“My coaches and teammates have been very helpful. They taught me how to do the pole vault and have helped me progress a lot.”

“She’s had nothing but the best experience at North Reading,” said Hayes Hill, who has yet to miss a meet. Something she will be happy to continue now that Rachel will remain local. “She has had top notch coaches who have been so supportive. The community support around the soccer team has been amazing, every track meet there’s hundreds of parents, photographer John Friberg who travels around everywhere is awesome, it has just been amazing.”

So as Rachel Hill looks forward to this exciting new chapter, you won’t catch her admiring her awards. She will be too busy working on earning more.