It was a cold and cloudy Tuesday afternoon. However at Oyster River’s first home track meet, the mood was anything but reflective of the weather.
Almost 60 years after the high school’s initial opening, the vote to renovate the outdated athletic facilities passed last March after failing the previous spring. For the track athletes and coaches, this meant that they would have daily access to something they’ve never had before, a practice facility of their own. Almost immediately after the outdoor season began, Oyster River High School and Friends of Oyster River Track, a group that has been working to fundraise for the project, started working on the one thing they felt would help justify the hard work that has been put in during the previous months: a home meet.
“We have an actual facility to train and develop skills. I often ask, what would a basketball team look like on the court during a game if they did not have hoops to practice on. We have always made due with what we had but now we can really step it up,” said ORHS track and field coach Nick Ricciardi.”
For the athletes it was a special day, “it was super exciting to be part of the first meet, it wasn’t only a huge stepping stone for our team and our school, but also the community. It was nice to see the number of students, faculty, and community members who came out to support us, and were there to appreciate the beginning of a new era of Oyster River track and field,” said Eleanor Zwart (‘18), who placed second in both the 200m and 400m and also ran the anchor leg of the 4x400m relay.
With this being the first meet, all of the winners set facility records, with the majority being OR athletes.
On the boys side Connor Manning (‘18) took care of the 100m and 200m by placing first. He also ran a leg in the winning 4x400m relay and won the triple jump. Later in the meet Oyster River took the top four spots in the 800m, with senior star Patrick O’brien grabbing first place. Henry Keegan (‘19) won the 1600m earlier in the day before he finished top four in the 800m. The OR boys also won the 4x100m relay.
On the girls side, Xiana Twombly won the 100m and 200m races, as well as the long jump. One of the most exciting events of the day was when OR once again took the top four places in an event, this time being the 400m, with Amelia Concannon (‘19) winning. OR also placed first in the 110m hurdles, 1600m and javelin.
This strong performance from the Bobcats shows how much the team and school deserved this new track.
“We [ORHS] have had a very strong track program and this will open up more opportunities to hold more competitive meets,” said Keegan (‘19)
Written by Owen Kurtiak