Boys and Girls Indoor Track and Field Excel at Divisional and All State Championships


A Walpole athlete competes in the Long Jump at the Division II State Meet

Gina Conti

A Walpole athlete competes in the Long Jump at the Division II State Meet
A Walpole athlete competes in the Long Jump at the Division II State Meet.

Many towns in Massachusetts have a strong enough team to win the Track and Field Championship titles year after year.  The Newton North girls team is known for their all-around talent covering every event from top to bottom.  The Lowell boys team is also in the same boat as the NNHS girls team.  There were many athletes from both teams reaching the podium in any given event.  The Lowell boys scored in 8 out of 13 events to win them the team victory, along with the Newton North girls achieving victory.

The Walpole Track and Field Team entered the MIAA Division II Championships as underdogs.  Walpole has never won a team title, but many individuals shined.  The Division II Championships were held on February 17 at the Reggie Lewis Center.  For those who placed in the top three at the Divisional Meet, they qualified for the All State Meet on February 23.

To kick off the divisional meet, senior Connor McCarthy had a rough start in the preliminary and final heat of the 55m hurdles.  He finished third overall, which automatically qualifed him for the All State Meet.  Senior PJ Hayes was recently coming back from an injury and was still not 100% healed.  Coach Kevin Butera had Hayes to save himself for the All State Meet and somewhat restrain his speed — a fraction of a second restraint which still got him second place at the DIvision II Meet and seeded him eighth for the All State Meet.

Senior Maddy Shea also competed in the 55m dash to finish in the preliminary heat tying her season best with 7.76.  Her success did not only come in the dash, but she also the fourth place finish in the long jump.  Shea did not PR but jumped 16-8.50 which earned her a place to jump on February 23.

In the 600 Conti was seeded first to capture the Division II title but finished with a late lean at the wire with two other runners, finishing in third place with a time of 1:37.44.  The first place finisher crossed the line at 1:37.23.

The team as a whole did not place, but four individuals had standout performances.  Hayes, McCarthy, Shea, and Conti all earned their tickets to the All State Meet the following week.  The All State Meet is the most elite meet throughout Massachusetts Track and Field.

McCarthy and Hayes had a stronger performance at the All States.  Hayes was the underdog going into the meet, but cruised the preliminary heat with 6.58, and was seeded second going into the final heat.  Feeling good, Hayes did not hold back in the final heat of the All State Meet and blazed to a first place finish with 6.47, only .02 off of his PR.  Hayes was crowned the State Champion and was also crowed the 55m dash Boston Globe All Scholastic.

McCarthy, the longshot to win the 55m hurdles, had as a good of a chance as anybody else in the field to take home the gold.  Although McCarthy did not win, his third place finish was strong enough to show what he has worked for thoughout the season.  He said, “I work very hard on my form and technique.  Once you have your form down everything falls into place.  And all my hard work has paid off.”  McCarthy finished .01 off of his PR.  McCarthy decided to compete in the New England Championship Saturday March 2.

The final medal earned at the All State Meet was in the 600m run.  Conti, with the top seed in the second to last heat, trailed Ursuline’s Merissa Wright for 2.5 laps finally finishing ahead of Wright with a PR and breaking the school record again with 1:36.72.  Conti finished sixth overall, with the first place finisher crossing the line at 1:32.56.  Conti will join McCarthy on March 2 to compete again with other New England elite athletes.

Shea found more success in the long jump during the Bay State Conference Meet and Division II meet rather than the All State Meet.  It takes that one magic landing off the board to successfully land that perfect jump into the sand; however, at the All-State Meet, Shea did not have the pop like she did previous weeks.   Although Shea did not PR she represented Walpole extremely well in the prestigious meet by jumping 16-00.50 to take 12th place.

Hayes will not compete March 2, so he can train and be even stronger for the spring season. Walpole is not known to win the Division II or All State Meet, but it certainly has a few talented athletes that could get them far.

Hayes’ and McCarthy’s 55m dash and 55m hurdle finals: