Walpole Triumphs Over St. Sebastian’s at Classic’s Day

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Walpole students compete against St. Sebastian in the chariot races at Holy Cross.

Emily Massarelli

A Walpole student competes in the chariot races.
A Walpole student participates in an annual Classic’s Day event.

On Thursday, April 10, Walpole High School students enrolled in Latin classes traveled to The College of the Holy Cross’s 42nd annual Classic’s Day.  Private and public schools from around Massachusetts gathered to participate in various Roman-inspired events, such as Certamen competitions (the Latin version of Jeopardy), costume contests, and—the most anticipated event of the day— cutthroat chariot races. Walpole High’s main competitors in the race—Sophomore Ian Fair, Junior Danny Bean, and Junior Mike Bloom— soon became the center of an inter-scholastic controversy.

Walpole students compete against St. Sebastian in the chariot races at Holy Cross.
Walpole students compete against St. Sebastian in the chariot races at Holy Cross.

In recent years, students from St. Sebastian’s School in Needham repeatedly trump all others and claim the chariot race trophy. Yet since their first year at Walpole High, Mike Bloom and Danny Bean have challenged St. Sebastian’s reign, as they consistently advance to the final race against St. Sebastian’s and rise to the front of the pack as notable competition. In the past two years, Bean and Bloom learned from their faults in previous races and perfected the optimal chariot and technique, giving them the competitive edge they previously lacked.

With Fair’s extra speed and strength to help Bean haul the Bloom-filled chariot, the trio quickly excelled to the top of the ranks in this year’s race. At last, they reached the final race, once again broaching two St. Sebastian students—muscular, shirtless, and immensely intimidating. The 15 Walpole High students observed excitedly by the finish line, while nearly 100 screaming St. Sebastian’s students stood along the rest of the track’s perimeter. Despite all odds, Bean and Fair maintained their speed and stayed neck-and-neck with the St. Sebastian chariot throughout the race. In a moment of final tension, Bloom passed the St. Sebastian’s chariot by a hair. However, assuming their team had emerged victorious yet again, the myriad of St. Sebastian boys mobbed the finish line. In the midst of confusion and excitement, the officiating Holy Cross student mitsakenly declared St. Sebastian’s the winner of the race— much to the chagrin of the Walpole High students and staff in attendance.

Walpole students rest in between the chariot races.
Walpole students rest in between the chariot races.

Despite refusing to allow the Walpole squad a re-match, the student official agreed to review photographic evidence provided by The Rebellion staff. The photo revealed that the chariot wheels—as well as Fair and Beans’ feet— crossed the finish line before those of St. Sebastian’s. Latin teacher Gabriel Bakale then brought this evidence to the Holy Cross staff officiating the event, who agreed that the photo provided sufficient evidence of Walpole’s hard-earned victory.

Unfortunately, the crew of Walpole High Latin students had to leave before the award ceremony and official announcement of the chariot race winners. Several days later, Bakale received official confirmation that the Walpole High successfully broke St. Sebastian’s impressive eight year winning-streak. After his miraculous underdog victory, Fair said, “we will definitely be returning to compete, and with the same model chariot. Hopefully we will be able to defend our title and win again next year.”