BOSTON – Last Thursday, the surprising strong start to the Wilmington High School indoor track-and-field team continued with a dominating 71-29 victory over Stoneham held at Boston University.
The win pushes the Wildcats to a 3-0 start. On Tuesday, the team faced Watertown with results not available at presstime. A win there would put the team into a position of a must-win against an extremely talented Melrose team on Friday, January 24th, which would determine the Middlesex League Freedom Division Champion.
The 'Cats last won a title back in 2016.
Wilmington won nine of the events on the day, and head coach Brian Schell said in order to get to the next level, the team has to improve in several areas.
"The biggest thing coming into this meet that we needed to do was build a stronger mental toughness and be a lot more aggressive in their events," said Schell. "Unfortunately very few if any took advantage of this opportunity to do so and could cost us moving forward.
“We have three weeks to get over that hump if we even want to challenge Melrose for the league championship."
Three individuals placed in multiple events, including Kaitlyn Doherty who came away with 13 of the team's points. She won the 55-meter hurdles at 10.12 seconds, the long jump at 14-09.50 and was second in the 55-meter dash at 7.80 seconds.
Katherine McLaughlin was first in the 1,000 at 3:34.50 and third in the long jump at 14-01.75. She also joined Maggie Bourgeois, Juliana Patrone and Aaliyah Abel to win the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:36.75. Also, senior Gianna Misuraca was second in both the mile (13:59.81) and two-mile (5:58.52).
Another top highlight belonged to Patrone, who was not only part of the relay team, but was tops in the high jump clearing 5-0.
"Juliana has been very consistent in the high jump every meet and has had some good attempts at 5-2. She even ran as an alternate in the relay running a solid 1:10 split and opened the gap by a good margin for our anchor leg."
Other first places came from Amanda Broussard, who was third in the entire league with her 44.00 time in the 300, Amber Flynn in the mile (5:58.20), Olivia Erler in the two-mile (13:57.05) and the 4x200 relay team of Madi Mulas, Ashlyn Buckley, Angie Zaykovskaya and Hannah LaVita with a combined time of 1:55.16.
Mulas also picked up a third in the 55-meter dash at 7.98 seconds.
“Madi has been a strong go to in the dash and one of the biggest things we talked about is her lean at the line,” said Schell. “She continues to work at it and this meet managed to get a big personal record and break that eight second mark. It also got her a key third place out leaning their girl.
“She has also been a solid lead off leg in the 4x200 relay with great reaction and acceleration and has given us the lead heading into the second leg.”
The other second places came from Bourgeois in the 600 (1:49.99), Shea Cushing in the 1,000 (3:34.50), LaVita in the high jump (4-10) and Miriam Nelson in the shot put (28-07).
The third places were from Ashlyn Buckley in the 300 (47.83), Angelina Zaykouskaya in the 600 (1:53.57), Carissa Rubin in the two-mile (14:08.96) and Shannon Murphy in the shot put (27-07.50).
"Stoneham is a team that has always given us a run for their money and this time we brought the fight to them,” said Schell. “We knew we had a strong chance to come away with a win and it came down to everyone pulling their weight again. Some races were even very close and were close nail biters like the 55-meter dash, 1,000 meters and mile.”
On Sunday, a handful of ninth and tenth graders competed at the annual Freshmen/Sophomore Small School Meet held at the Reggie Lewis Center. Wilmington had a handful of outstanding performances led by the 4x200 relay team of Mulas, Doherty, Zaykouskaya and Broussard, who came in at 1:53.31.
Doherty was also third in the long jump at 15-06.25 and fourth in the 55-meter dash at 8.52 seconds qualifying her for the state meet.
“As I said about her versatility against Wakefield, Kaitlyn showed it again today at a higher level meet,” said Schell. “She was strong in every event and adjusted for both her dash and long jump heading into the finals. It was good to see her be able to adapt having to run around from event to event and to stay focused which showed great mental toughness.”
Broussard also had a strong day with the relay and she was 8th in the 300 at 43.54.
“Amanda had a solid race for herself and managed to get closer to breaking that 43 second mark,” said Schell. “She has been working on her form especially her arms these last few meets and she is picking it up. She got out strong and had great position at the cut-in. You could tell she tightened up with 30 meters or so left but it is a great sign moving forward.”
Erler was eighth in the two-mile at 13:09.44 and Zaykouskaya was 12th in the 600 at 1:51.71.
The 4x400 relay team of Kari Wells, Quinn Proulx, Nokomis Bramantecohen and Emily McHugh were 17th at 4:53.28. In addition, Wells was 28th in the 600 at 1:55.99 and Proulx was 73rd in the 300 at 52.74.
In the other events, Shea Cushing and Mallory Brown were 25th and 47th in the 1,000 meters at 3:36.70 and 3:50.36 respectively. Talina Khalil was 35th in the mile at 6:26.65, Kayla Flynn was 42nd in the 55-meter hurdles at 11.40, Emma Jensen was 59th in the dash at 8.52, and then in the field events, Emily Fothergill was 25th in the high jump (4-4), Flynn was 41st in the long jump (12-04), and Lily Rubin (21-07) and Isabelle Puccio (19-01.50) were 47th and 50th in the shot put.
“Overall this was a great meet where the younger crew got an extra chance at being aggressive like we need them to be and most all of them took advantage of it,” said Schell. “We had solid performances from everyone in pretty much every event. Most everyone had a personal record on the day and those few that didn't, were aggressive and its that aggressiveness that will get them bigger personal records moving forward.”