Walpole Girls Track Narrowly Loses Herget Title to Natick

Gina Conti

Walpole runners battle for first against Natick
Walpole runners battle for first against Natick


With a 3-1 record going into their last Herget Conference dual meet, Walpole had the opportunity to take on the undefeated Natick team (4-0) on January 23 to ensure a share of the Herget League Championship.  After they lost a close meet to Wellesley (3-1) the week before on the last event of the night (the 4x200m), the team hoped to bounce back against Natick. However, similar to the exciting Wellesley loss where they were defeated 53-47, Walpole lost the 4x400m and subsequently the championship by a score of 53-47.

In her toughest race of the year, junior Allie Morris competed in the 1 mile, where she ran a personal record of 5:19.76 to get 1st place.  In a close race where Natick freshman Kelsey Walak (5:19.89) hung with Morris the entire race, Morris finished ahead of her by only .13 seconds. These mile times were the fastest posted from the league that night.

Meanwhile, in the 1000m, senior Jackie Applin (3:19.07) defeated Natick’s Robin McElaney (3:19.09) by .02 to take First Place in the event.

She said, “It was really nerve wracking.  We both didn’t know at first who won so waiting for the results to come up felt like forever.  But once I saw that I won I couldn’t believe it — it was a relief.”

In the Long Jump, senior Captain Olivia O’Hara had her most significant contribution to the team.  A triple jumper from the spring, she has focused on improving her long jump for the indoor season, and her focus was clutch for the Rebels against Natick.  To take 1st Place, she launched the second best jump in the Bay State Conference this year — a personal record of a foot with 16’2”.

O’ Hara said, “I didn’t believe the official when he told me I jumped 16’2”.  But after a talk from Coach Butera who thinks I can jump 17’0”, I’m still hoping to another personal record this season.”

After sophomore Hiromi Kondo contributed a 3rd Place in Long Jump and sophomore Tori Lynch got a 3rd Place finish in High Jump, the Rebels were deadlocked with Natick, 18-18.

Throughout the middle distance events, senior Captain Gina Conti captured the 600 meters, with teammate senior Megan Jenkins running a season best of 1:46.66 to take 3rd Place overall — a time that qualified her for the Division III State Meet on February 15.

“I was so happy because my season goal was to get back to where I was last year since I was injured during cross country.  So now that I am back, I’m really proud of myself and I hope to keep improving,” said Jenkins.

Freshman Devin McKinney took 2nd place in the 300 meters with a personal record of 45.52.  She is now only 1 second off of the Walpole High School freshman 300 meter record.  Freshman Lindsay Cordopatri took 3rd Place.

Sophomore Alyssa Murphy (12:22) and senior Kristen Coyne (12:25) took 1st and 2nd in the 2 mile with the top fastest 2 mile times of the night.  At this point of the meet, with 7 of the 12 events scored, Walpole led Natick by a score of 36-27.

However, in addition to taking 1st and 2nd in High Jump, Natick finished the meet with two of their stronger individual events: Hurdles and Shot Put.  Although senior Captain Anna Orfanidis’ performance in Shot Put (29’6.25”) and junior Claire Rinne’s in 55m Hurdles (10.12) were close to season bests, Natick’s 8-1 swing in both events gave them the lead 43-38.

In the last individual event before the relays, Kondo and O’Hara placed second and third in the 55 meter dash to finalize the score at 48-42 before the relays.  Since each relay is worth five points, Walpole needed both to win.

Unfortunately, while Walpole’s 4×400 team of Conti, Lynch, juniors Emma Hunt and Maureen Herlihy raced a season best time of 4:19, Natick’s loaded team raced a 4:13.

“Although we lost to Natick, I am very happy with the competitiveness of the team,” said Head Coach Conor Cashman. “Even though Natick was a stronger team on paper, the team performed exceptionally well despite the loss and seems to be peaking at the right time. These girls have been working hard and have great passion for the sport.”

With the dual meets coming to a close, Walpole will compete at the Division III Championships on February 15.  So far, the girls have a total of 10 individuals and three relays that have already qualified for the Division III State Championships.