With high school athletes participating in two or three different sports throughout the school year instead of concentrating on just one, it makes it tougher for coaches to get those athletes to become a bona fide one-sport superstar. However, winning gets athletes to gravitate toward that successful sport.
“Winning is a big thing and when people see what’s going on it just snowballs,” King Philip track and field head coach Scott Kramer said. “They seem to become interested to know what is going on and those who are already there want to get better to help the team hang on for another season or two.”
Warrior athletes have been taking the high school’s sports programs deeper and deeper into the tournaments and many of these programs have been capturing sectional titles and state championships. One KP program on the rise is track and field, with numerous young athletes taking it to the next level.
Although the underclassmen are on the move, the senior captains will be the ones helping the youth to hone their particular skills. Next season Alex Hagen and Josh Smith will hold down those jobs for the Warriors. Hagen is a big motivator and already preparing for the cross country season when school resumes in September.
Some of the athletes on the track and field team who powered the Warriors this past season were Abby Dunne, Abby McKeown, Aeden Angelone, and Mike Griffin.
Dunne set the school record in the pentathlon while finishing third overall at the MSTCA South Heptathlon. At the Division 2 State Championship meet Dunne set a school record in the pentathlon while finishing third again, qualifying her for the All-State meet. At the All-State meet, Dunne fell on the first hurdle of the 100 meter hurdles, normally her best event. She was able to bounce back in her final four events to finish in 13th place.
McKeown, who will be taking her skills to Assumption College next fall, set the school record this past season in the high jump. The senior’s goal was to eclipse the outdoor record of 5’ 2” having already jumped a 5’ 1” during the indoor season.
“Coming into the outdoor season she was primed and focused to break the record,” the KP coach said.
McKeown was ready and not only eclipsed the record once, but did it a second time before the season ended. She cleared 5’ 4” in a dual meet against Mansfield, but with everything else going on at the meet her record-breaking jump flew under the radar. Then during the All-State meet she once again cleared 5’ 4”.
For the boys, Angelone finished sixth in the pentathlon and grabbed first place in the decathlon while setting the school record. According to Kramer, Angelone is the best javelin and discus thrower at King Philip and never finishes outside of the top ten in any of the pentathlon events. Angelone’s consistency is his biggest strength.
Griffin set the school record in the 1600 meters when he ran a 4:15.10 to finish 4th at the New England meet. At the national meet, Griffin ran a 4:18.4 to finish 5th in the Emerging Elite 1600 meter race. He also tried the steeple chase for the first time this past season, where he qualified for the national meet and finished 10th with a time of 6:06.14.
Coach Kramer, a 1991 graduate of KPHS who ran track, participated in just about every event at the school himself. His thought process is that if an athlete is willing to try a new event they should be encouraged to do so.
Younger athletes to watch out for in the future include sophomore Tori Priestley, who finished 9th in the heptathlon and battled Dunne back and forth throughout. Freshman Ali Beltramini runs everything from the 100 meters to the 400 meters, placing in the 200 meters at the league meet and qualifying for the state meet. Terry Jacobs-Baston has thrown the shot put 43’ and the javelin 100’ and is improving.
With the Warriors having success in track and field, Kramer is optimistic about the future.
“Everything, event-wise, is covered now,” the coach said. “Not only do we have the events covered, we are getting quality out of our athletes.”
KP’s award winners from this past year:
Aeden Angelone (MVP); Harry Burke (Unsung Hero); Terry Jacobs-Baston (Most Improved); and Sean McCombs (Newcomer of the Year).
Abby Dunne (MVP); Abby McKeown (Unsung Hero); Brianna Quirke (Most Improved); and Sara Sylvestre (Newcomer of the Year).