The Stoughton High boys' and girls' indoor track teams are the first to kickoff the winter sports season at SHS, with both squads taking on Hockomock League Davenport Division rival Canton Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Center.
The Stoughton High boys' indoor track team lost two of its top performers from last season - distance runner Nick Green and shotput thrower Brandon Alves - but returns team MVP Pat Jackman (sprinter and jumper) and a host of other talented athletes, many of whom are looking to carry their success from the fall cross country season into the winter indoor season.
"We have a lot of returning boys across the board and if all perform up to expectations we should be quite competitive in the league," coach Harvey Blonder said.
Wayne Barnaby, Sheldon Oliveira, Mike Romaine and Pat Jackman are the boys' captains this season.
Returning to action this winter:
- Hurdles - Kevin McDonald, John Eppenstein and Harley David
- Sprints - Pat Jackman, Malachi Baugh, Zach Gibb
- Mid-distance - Jack D'Addieco, Jason Marshall, Mike Romaine and Sheldon Oliveira
- Distance - David Lockhart, Wayne Barnaby and Alec DeNapoli
- Jumpers - Jackman, Baugh, Marshall
- Throwers - Kevin Lucas, Alex Green, D'Addieco
Blonder also said the team has "several talented newcomers who should make an immediate impact," including: Shawn Connolly in the shot put (who did spring last year); Evan Schulze in the distance events; Frantzy Jopseph in the sprints and jumps.
Freshmen and sophomores who may join the varsity at some point this season include Sean Perry, Alex Oliver, Jonathan Oliveira, Kyle Romaine, Antonio Irons, Bobby Blindt, Garrett McCormick, John Paul Noe and Smeet Patel.
"We lost a lot of good runners, but we're also coming back strong with kids that have a lot of varsity experience at a younger age. Like Jason [Marshall] and [Zach] Gibb who have been here for a couple of years," captain Mike Romaine said.
"We're looking good, especially for sprinters where we're having three year starters coming back and especially distance [where] we have Dave [Lockhart] and Wayne [Barnaby] who have been running the 2 mile and 1 mile pretty consistently," Romaine continued. "So we're looking really good right now. It's just kind of finding that middle ground of mid-distance runners to even out the rest of it."
"Nick Green and Brandon Alves were special athletes who worked hard to attain their elite status - they are not easily replaced, but we have some hungry kids who are eager to achieve their own success," Blonder said. "I like our team and their attitude so far. I look forward to our meet this Saturday vs. Canton - in the past three years we have two ties and a one point loss to this close rival."
Like the boys' team, the Stoughton High girls' indoor track team lost key contributors from last year like Jade Paul, who excelled at the 600-meter event, and a trio of hurdlers in Alicia Macomber, Leesa Snyder and Kelly Collins. But the girls still return plenty of talent this winter.
As Stoughton looks to develop hurdlers, sprinters and high jumpers this season, coach Bob Clarke will lean on a strong group of distance runners.
The team is captained by four distance runners - Kerry O'Neil, Rachel Berkowsky, Carson McGrath and Niamh Fennessy.
In addition to the captains, projected mid-distance and distance runners include Shannon Barkey, Kelly Barros, Susana Noe, Katie Daly and Rebekah Medina.
Jordan Angelos, Ada Monyeki, Lauren Carmichael, Lauren Carter and Megan Flaherty figure into the mix at shotput, while Imani David, Brittney Joyce, Lisa Bontemps, Shelby Sprague and Noe are the jumpers.
Projected hurdlers include Delaney Collins, Sprague, Barrant and Bontemps.
Michaela Peck, Ashley Chipman, Joyce, Bontemps and Barrant, David and Sprague will be the team's sprinters.
McGrath said it can be frustrating to lose so many key contributors from last year's team, but the freshmen are stepping up.
"A lot of freshmen are pretty fast and they seem dedicated so I'm hoping that they take this seriously and learn from our example," the captain said.
"We have a pretty strong distance team because most girls were on the cross country team. We have some fast sprinters."