KP Girls Race to the Hock Title

Christopher Tremblay Staff Sports Writer
From left, captains Makayla Griffin, Bailee Ziolkowski, Sarah Vigevani and Tori Priestley.  Photo courtesy of Jim Priestley.
Issue Date: 
March, 2020
Article Body: 

It was the winter season of 2014-15 when the King Philip girls track team last captured a State Championship and although the Warriors were on top of the world that season, they did so without winning the Hockomock League. In fact, according to KP coach Matt Anderson, it’s been quite some time since the girls have taken home the league title. That is until this year.
The girls indoor track team went 4-1 in the league, with victories over Oliver Ames, Taunton, Attleboro and Franklin. Their only league loss was to Mansfield, good enough to take home the league title.
“Coming into this season we knew that we had a bunch of talented girls on the team, but we also knew that it was going to be extremely tough to win the Hock having such a small team,” Anderson said. “We were not totally sold on us winning the league as there are so many good teams that we go up against in the Hock.”
In addition to having to go up against some talented schools, King Philip felt their numbers were also going to be something that they would have to address. Anderson knew that if the Warriors were going to be competitive, they were going to have to fill in the events that lacked athletes.
“We went looking for girls who had not run track and were involved in other sports,” the KP coach said. “We were able to get a lot of girls to join the team and those who did join just wanted to do well and help the team win, so filling in those event voids was easier than we originally thought. They just did what was needed to be successful.”
Leading the surge to the top were captains Tori Priestley, Makayla Griffin, Sarah Vigevani and Bailee Ziolkowski. Priestley took part in the hurdles, long jump, high jump and relays, Griffin ran the mile, 2-mile, 1000 and relays, and Vigevani and Ziolkowski were both shot putters. Vigevani (31’ 8”) and Ziolkowski (31’ 7 1/2 “) threw the shot put well enough to finish third and fourth respectively in the league.
In addition to the captains, a number of younger athletes contributed to the cause. Sophomore Maya Evans ran the 100, mile, 2-mile and relays, junior Paige Berdos participated in the jumping events (her 5’ high jump is in the tops of the league), and junior Milan Simmons ran the hurdles, the 55 meters and relays. All scored regularly for the Warriors.
“We expected these girls to perform and lead us this season, but we never expected to win the Hock,” the coach said. “Putting up numbers in terms of individual performances was what we knew we were getting; none of us thought that we’d be here.”
As the team continued to get repeat performances from its top athletes, junior Isabelle Crocker gave the team a boost it needed. “Last year she was a good runner, but this year she stepped it up and became one of the best 1000 runners in the league,” Anderson said. “She dropped her time from 3:30 to 3:15, and although it may not seem like a lot, 15 seconds is a lot of time when it comes to distance running.”
The next step for the King Philip female runners will be to take part in the State Tournament at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. Here Anderson believes that his girls will perform to their best, but most likely it will not be enough to capture the top spot against teams with a much larger group of athletes.
“We will score some points, but not nearly enough to be at the top,” the Warrior coach said. “I’m hoping that our performance lands us in the top 10, team-wise, while we should have many individual girls having good days in their specific events.”
Regardless of their performance at the State Meet, this KP team will be remembered for winning its first Hockomock League Championship in some years.