Indoor Track Happenings

Senior captain Alec Holland races to pass off the baton to teammate Ethan LeClair.

Raider Times photo / Photo by Kimberly LeClair

Senior captain Alec Holland races to pass off the baton to teammate Ethan LeClair.

Winter is here, bringing the sports that come along with it. The winter boys and girls indoor track season has started. The season is long and rigorous, with the first two weeks consisting of just practice and no meets. The two weeks are reserved for the athletes to condition and get back in shape. In that time frame, runners are able to decide which races they would like to participate in. Sprinters participate in the dash, which for some indoor tracks can be 65 meters, 55 meters, or 45 meters long.

Senior Christele Madou is a prominent dash runner.  Madou talks about her sprinting races; “Doing the dash (55 meters) is the shortest race but like the rest it’s tough, there are always close calls and you don’t whether you finished first or the girl next to you.  Sometimes it goes down to the thousandth of a second.”

There are also hurdles for the sprinting events.  Middle distance races are the 300 meter and the 600 meter. Distance runners participate in the longer races, which are the 1,000 meters, one mile, and two mile. Senior Kiran Khan has run the two mile in most meets, placing respectfully well in each.  Senior Alec Holland is an All-Star distance runner.  Outdoor field events are offered as well, including Shot Put which is always offered at every meet. Senior thrower Pat Lally has gone to the State Championship numerous times.  Some indoors track meets offer long jump and high jump but not all facilities have them.
The indoor track team is grateful for being able to run at high-end facilities, such as Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in West Roxbury and the Harvard University indoor track. Both are such fast tracks, allowing runners to beat their personal records and improve on their times. This change in facilities happened just a year ago.  Before this change, meets were held at Reading High School and other large schools with indoor tracks.  Meets consumed a lot more time at high school facilities because of all the division four teams there, and running times were not as accurate since they were done by hand.

This season, track coaches have changed with new faces on deck and positions being shifted around. David Mastro, a history teacher at Watertown High, has stepped down from his position as head of the girls track team. A Watertown High School graduate and former track runner, Kim Usseglio, will be the new Head Coach of the girl’s team. Coach Usseglio was Assistant Coach before, but will now take the position as Head Coach. Last year’s spring shot put coach, George Kazarian, is now also the indoor shot put coach. On top of that, he is also the girl’s Assistant Coach.  As soon as Coach Kazarian joined the team everyone fell in love with him.  Senior Pat Lally said, “George is a really cool coach, quite the character, but when it’s serious time he really know how to get us into the zone and helps us a lot improve our distances when we throw.  He knows what he’s doing.”  The boy’s Head Coach is once again Thomas Whittenhagen, who has returned after getting surgery on both knees.  The Distance Coach and boy’s Assistant Coach is Larry Sullivan.  Coach Usseglio was also able to speak about her new position. “The other coaches and I are very excited about the new season beginning,” he said.  “There are a lot of new athletes on the team, and it’s exciting getting them into the sport!”

Team captains were picked last week. Both the boy’s and girl’s teams were able to choose their leaders. The boy’s captains are all seniors, including distance runner Alec Holland, shot put thrower Pat Lally and middle distance runner Peter Wilson-Braun. The girl’s captains are all seniors as well, distance runner Kiran Khan, shot put thrower Brianna Dowcett, and sprinter Christele Madou.

Captain Holland said, “It’s very nice to have all the younger boys look up to me and ask for advice and help about their times, pace and races.”

Captain Khan was just as excited, stating, “it’s really nice to see all the girls coming to practice everyday and working hard at practice, I can tell the season will go well and I’m excited to see how some of the girls do!”

Looks like the indoor track season is on the right track and the athletes will be working hard!