Track and field excels, notching third, fifth place in New England Championship


Kingswood Oxford track and field sported a mixed season, with one decisive win and a number of losses.

To improve performance and ensure consistency, coaches and captains outlined a number of goals they hoped to see the runners and throwers achieve. With a resounding victory of 94-47 for the boys and 90-43 for the girls against Greens Farms Academy on April 10, KO opened the season auspiciously. However, they faltered against their next several opponents.

With the exception of the girls tying with Wilbraham and Monson on April 6, the Wyverns lost to Suffield, Taft, and Williston in successive meets. Middling results continued with the Founders League Championship at Hotchkiss. The boys team finished fourth with 59 points and the girls team finished fifth with 40 points.

On May 15, KO competed at the JV Founders League Championship at Trinity-Pawling. “No scores are tallied,” Head Coach Tricia Watson said, who explained that the meet is more about learning and fostering a “positive tone.” The final competition of the season, the New England Division III NEPSTA Championship, took place on May 18 at St. George’s School and saw the team end on a high note.

The boys team finished with 63 points, nabbing a third place win out of 21 schools, while the girls scored 32 points, taking home fifth place out of 20 schools. Senior Captain Erin Bowen had this season’s best long jump of 14’11.75.

In the 4 x 100 meter relay, senior Sydni Jett, junior Sidney Taffe, sophomore Cici Chagnon, and sophomore Rinese Sterling placed fifth in their event. In the 400 meter, freshman Olivia Reynolds placed seventh, running this season’s best time of 64.66. The lady Wyverns placed second in the 4 x 400 relay, marking a strong finish and performance.

The boys worked hard as well. In the 4 x 400 relay junior Ethan Pinkes ran his best time and helped the Wyverns place third in the event. Junior Jaden Lovelace leaped his second best distance of 17’ 10.25” in the Long Jump, placing 15th. In the discus, senior Ellis Winfree earned second place with his astounding throw of 138’ 9.” In the 100 meter, freshman Jeffrey Davis and senior Broox Bolden made KO history, placing second and third respectively, the highest combination of finishes the boys team has had in 20 years.

The boys ended their season with a record of 10-6, while the girls finished strong with 10-6-1.

However, physical ailments afflicted several team members and contributed to some of the team’s woes. Valuable distance runners such as junior Will Burstein and freshman Kevin Graziosi suffered from shin splints and various knee problems. In addition, senior Captain Thomas Betts suffered a skateboarding injury that undermined his capabilities.

Bowen never fully recuperated from leg complications as well, which affected her outcomes.

Although the KO trainers attend to various physical bruises and beatings the athletes bear, it remains up to the team to stitch up open and bleeding mental wounds. Coaches and captains cited focus, determination, individual development, and team camaraderie as goals to ameliorate the Wyvern’s recent lackluster results and to improve the team for next year.

Assistant Coach David Baker maintained a long list of team goals even before the start of the season. “Steady progress and improvement throughout the season for all athletes along with becoming more confident and respectful in all that we do,” Coach Baker said.

His other objectives included overall development of members. He said he hoped that each week athletes learned a new thing about themselves and about the sport.

By the final meets of the season, he wanted athletes to have tried at least four new events while striving for both varsity and JV squads to reach their peaks. Most importantly, Coach Baker said he aimed for the team “to build a cohesive co-ed team that models sportsmanship all the while building friendships.” Coach Watson offered her view. “I wanted for a lot of people to try new events and really be outside of their comfort zone,” she said.

Senior Captain Coltrane Joseph also called for greater attention in order to get the team to the next level. “Focus, there seems to be a lack of focus to be honest,” he said. “People need to hone in more, get more in the game.” He said he believes focus is required for a good warm up, which is key for competing at an optimal level.

Betts agreed with this theme. “Focus is an important asset to have, and I think it gives a real competitive edge,” he said. Related to this idea was the concept of mental toughness, which Betts believes is the key to winning races. “If you lose your mental toughness, you lose the race,” he said, “only those with a disciplined mind can succeed.”

Development of junior varsity athletes figures importantly into these goals. Joseph wants to inspire younger students and advises them to continue working hard. “I want all the freshmen to be captains by the time they’re seniors,” he said.

Coach Baker has a similar stance, hoping to develop the team roster in the sophomore and junior classes. “There also have been some up and coming key runners and athletes like Ethan Pinkes who runs the 1500, 800, 4 x 400 and Cici Chagnon who does long jump who have broken through to a new level this season,” Coach Baker said. “I expect from these athletes a high level of performance next year.”

Bowen, though injured, said she still wanted to help the up and coming runners by supporting them when her own skills could not. “I guess I now want to be there emotionally for my team if I can’t really compete at my highest level,” she said.

Coach Baker also recommends that students who have never tried track and field consider joining the team. “Track and Field provides an opportunity to be a part of a team all the while developing a stronger core, better stamina and agility,” he said.

Though the season has come to a close, track and field athletes still have a long way to go. With both coach and player goals in mind, they anticipate returning with more determination, strength, and speed next season.