Champions: A Track Team Story – by Griffin Auciello

What is it that makes a champion? Some may say heart, others may say talent, and many will say athleticism. What makes a champion can be perceived many different ways in the world of sports. However, one thing that cannot be debated is that the Manchester Memorial Boys Indoor Track and Field team is certainly one. After a long, grueling couple of months the team was able to beat out Manchester Central, Manchester West, and Trinity to claim the title of Manchester City Champions for the 15th year straight.

The boys practiced hard every day leading up to the city meet which took place Sunday, January 17th at the University of New Hampshire Field House. Memorial’s best athletes shined that afternoon in all events including the 55 meter dash in which the Crusaders placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with senior Davin Cross leading the pack at a time of 6.70 seconds. Cross’s finish was worthy of the 6 points that is awarded to the team who places first. The 55 meter hurdles found memorial placing 5 out of the 6 finalists, trailing only Trinity junior Oliver Thomas who nailed a time of 8.20 seconds. Thomas beat out Memorial’s own Hervis Elezi by 0.30 seconds. West’s Maxwell Frazier secured 1st place in the 3000 meter run with a time of 10:25.40. Memorial sophomore Justin Smith managed to get 2 points for the Crusaders by placing 5th. While the first few events ensued, the best jumpers in the city competed in long jump and high jump. The long jump pit proved favorable for Memorial senior Uri-Jaun Hall who came in second with a distance of 18 feet 1.25 inches. Across the field house the high jump mats propelled Memorial to 4th, 5th, and 6th place. Junior Tyler Golles jumped 5 feet 2 inches to secure 4th place behind West senior Myles Gomes-Boisvert who jumped 5 feet 4 inches to come in first for that event, only 2 inches out of reach for Memorial. The field events continued as the starting gun went off for the 1000 meter run. Trinity junior Tim Zepf took first with a time of 2 minutes 56.10 seconds. Memorial ran for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 11th place. Freshman Lucas Hurley ran for Memorial in 6th place with a time of 3:20. The 600 meter run found Memorial senior Caleb Grenon coming in 3rd at 1 minute 36.70 seconds. Central sophomore Chris Ansara took home the ribbon for 1st just 1.6 seconds faster than Grenon. Davin cross laced back up for the 300 meter dash and came in a heartbreaking 2nd at 38.3 seconds, only 0.2 seconds behind Trinity’s Tim Zepf.

While the races took place, the center of the field house was reserved for my personal favorite event, the shot put. The true citywide test of brute strength. Trinity senior Will Sheppard took home the gold ribbon by throwing a distance of 40 feet 7.5 inches. Memorial’s own Anthony Angerami placed 3rd with a season best throw of 39 feet 9 inches, allowing him to qualify for the state meet in early February. Angerami credits his success to a great coaching staff, adding “I really look forward to getting better and I am thrilled to represent Memorial. I hope to get a new personal record of 42 feet or better”. A throw of 42 feet would allow the young star to be officially entered into the state meet. Being a junior, Angerami has a bright future ahead of him in football as well as track and field.

The city meet also saw the 1500 meter run. Central senior Chris Whittle came in 1st running the 1500 in 4 mins 40.8 seconds, which was just 22.2 seconds faster than Memorial senior runner Daniel O’Connor who locked down 4th place and put Memorial 3 points closer to the city title. The meet concluded as always with the relays. Memorial took home 1st place in the 4/400 meter relay. This was done with a relay team consisting of Ryan Kenny, Zack Miller, Thomas Gerton, and Caleb Grenon.

The final results of the meet put Manchester West in 4Th place with 47 points, Trinity got 3rd place with 51 points, Manchester Central came in 2nd place with 73 points, and Memorial locked down 1st place with 91 points overall. Memorial was able to prove that Ricky Bobby’s father was wrong when he said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” because with few first place finishes from the Crusaders they still managed to place well enough in all events to secure the Manchester City Championship for the 15th straight year. With such a dominant streak, head coach Tom Lynch was asked what it is about Memorial’s track team that catapults them to a city championship every year? He believes the reason for their success is because “the coaches and athletes put the team’s interest before their own interest when it comes to the City Meet”. He felt this year’s championship was notable compared to others because the team only ended up placing 1st in 2 events. Coach Lynch added, “The bulk of our points came from guys grabbing 2-6th place. Normally the team that wins a track meet also wins the individual events, but not this year.”

So the bottom line is that nobody knows for certain what exactly makes a champion. You don’t necessarily need to be the greatest athlete or the most invested, but when a team is assembled that has what it takes to be a champion, great things happen. For the Manchester Memorial Boys Indoor Track team, great things did happen and have been happening for 15 years. Now what’s next for the team is a set of meets that determine who qualifies for the state meet at Dartmouth College on Sunday, February 7th. Coach Lynch’s main focus now is on getting as many athletes into the state meet as possible. Everyone here at Memorial is proud of the team’s accomplishments thus far and can’t wait to hear of the results in the coming weeks.          

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