“This meet was only the second home meet in Oyster River High School history. The tremendous community effort which over three decades achieved its goal of building an athletics facility is one I’m reminded of every time we step on the track,” says Scott McGrath, Oyster River track and field distance coach.
On May 1st, the Bobcats hosted their first of three home meets of the season. It was a small meet, with the only other teams competing being Coe-Brown and Merrimack Valley. On the men’s side, Oyster River came in first scoring 43 points, followed by Coe-Brown scoring 35 points, and then Merrimack Valley scoring 20 points. Roles were reversed on the women’s side; Merrimack Valley came in first scoring 40 points, Coe-Brown came in second scoring 35 points, followed by Oyster River scoring 32 points. Performances were strong compared to the average weekday meet, and in terms of organization, the meet ran smoothly and quickly.
Oyster River track and field head coach, Nick Ricciardi, says that hosting home meets is always special because it gives the athletes a chance to perform in front of a home crowd and showcase things that most of the community does not see. “It’s comforting to be on your own track, knowing you practice here all the time,” says team member, Ella Stasko (‘21).
To host a meet the team relies heavily on the support of volunteers. Ricciardi explains what goes into managing a meet, and says, “I have to organize not just the meet and entries, but also almost 30 volunteers and the concession stand.”
Managing the meet took McGrath’s and Ricciardi’s attention away from the athletes, but that didn’t stop the team from capturing a number of personal records. “Coe Brown and Merrimack Valley tend to bring out the best in us,” says McGrath.
Sidonio LaBelle-Brown (‘20) triple-jumped a remarkable 12.37 meters, ranking him second in the state for the event. “As soon as I took a step back from the sand I realized without the officials even measuring that it was by far my best jump ever,” says LaBelle-Brown.
Another highlight for the sprints, jumps, and throws crew included Noah Cote (‘18) crushing the 300 meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 44.7 seconds, securing him a three second lead.
The Oyster River women’s 4×400 meter relay was a crowd favorite. The team consisted of Lydia Hoffman (‘18), Amelia Concannon (‘19), Laurel Gordon (‘19), and Eleanor Zwart (‘18). They led with a time of 4:20.60 seconds. Fans sprinted back and forth across the turf to cheer at every straightaway. Ricciardi loved the enthusiasm and noted it was his favorite part of the meet.
Both the Bobcats women’s 4×400 meter relay and 4×100 meter relay look very promising this season. “We are all very focused on the season and I think our fitness and determination will pay off,” says Gordon.
Gordon adds that fans can expect their relay teams to continue to improve and finish off this season with a bang (and maybe a school record).
For the Bobcats’ women distance runners, McGrath noted Lily Doody (‘20), Danielle Slavin (‘18), and Madison Hoppler (‘20) had particularly strong days. On the men’s side Parker Spinney (‘18), Kieran Murphy (‘18), Owen Fleischer (‘21), and Andy O’Brien (‘21) stood out. Murphy will be running at Southern New Hampshire University in the fall.
Most of the distance crew doubled or tripled up on events, so their stamina was apparent through their strong performances. “With championship season approaching, the stakes are higher and the meets become far more competitive. As for the distance crew’s future, I see a lot of hard training that will lead us to all personal records and hopefully land some of us a spot at States,” says Doody.
McGrath hopes to see continued improvements across disciplines in the remainder of the season. “Improvement only comes from persistent dedication to the tasks which make you better, which can sometimes feel menial. Teaching work ethic and keeping practice fun at the same time is a balance I think Oyster River coaches do well,” he says.
Next Tuesday, May 8th, the Bobcats return to the track 3-6:30 pm for their second home meet of the season. The following Saturday, May 12th, an all day home meet invitational will conclude 2018’s outdoor track season for non-qualifiers. Come show your support!