By Delaney Murphy and Emily Martin
Class of 2017
Walpole Middle School Track and Field began the fourth year of its seven week program on April 27. Coached by Fiona Murphy, Chris Lotsbom, and Antonietta O’Toole, the team had three meets at North Attleboro High School. Each meet had at least five teams that ranged from North Attleboro to Saint Mary’s to King Philip Regional School. In their final meet of the season on June 10, the boys placed third out of four teams while in the girls placed second out of four teams.
(Gallery/ Jessica Giffen)
For the girls team, the point scoring came from a wide variety of athletes in many different events.
Eighth grader Abby Rae was the only Walpole athlete who took a 1st place with an 11’9” jump. In the 100m hurdles, she showed her versatility by placing 3rd with a time of 17.60.
For the distance events, they proved to be very competitive. In the mile, seventh grader Michaela O’Toole ran a 7:01.74 to place 2nd. Seventh grader Ali Giffen ran a 7:07 to place 3rd, and eighth grader Leah Whearty placed 4th with a 7:37.
“I was not nervous. [The coaches] made me comfortable,” said Whearty.
Meanwhile, in the 800m, Walpole ended up placing 2nd through 6th with eighth grader Camille Logiudice placing 2nd with a time of 2:54.23. O’Toole also doubled back from the mile and placed 5th with a time of 3:16.54.
Seventh graders Stephen Colleran and Ryan Stockwell led the point scoring for the boys.
Colleran finished 1st with a time of 63.82 in the 400m, while in the 200m, Stockwell placed 2nd with a time of 29.69. Both Colleran and Stockwell were also the top two finishers in the 800m with Colleran in 1st at a 2:48.03 and Stockwell in 2nd at a 2:48.72.
A three year veteran of the program, seventh grader Tyler Sullivan placed 4th with a time of 6:13. Reflecting on his accomplishment and his past three years of competing for the middle school team, Sullivan said, “[The coaches] helped me go faster, try harder, and [taught me] not to give up.”
Having established the elementary school program at Boyden Elementary School, Coach Murphy founded the Middle School Program to better prepare those elementary school athletes for the high school competition.
“I am glad that I started the middle school program so that Walpole kids can now learn about running from elementary school all the way through high school, without missing those 3 years in between,” said Coach Murphy.
For the first three weeks of the program, the athletes had the opportunity to experiment with different events. The events in the meet include track events that range from 50 to 1600 meter races (including hurdles), to field events such as turbo javelin, shot put, discus, long jump, high jump and a relay. Eventually, athletes specialized in certain events where they trained to compete at their meets.
With the season coming to a close, Coach Murphy believes that the transition from middle school track to high school track will be much easier as a result of her program.
“I think they develop a confidence in the middle school program that allows them to give their best when they reach high school,” said Coach Murphy. “They have had the experience already, so they can focus on training, improving and enjoying being part of the team once they reach high school.”