Authors Posts by Michael Cummo

Michael Cummo

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At the newest stop on the African-American Heritage Trail, a chance to honor those slain in Charleston.

Jacqueline Hunt, former Martha’s Vineyard NAACP president requested a moment of reflection to honor those who had been slain in Charleston, S.C., the previous week. Photo by Michael Cummo

On Sunday, dozens of people gathered at the former home of Emma Chambers Maitland, at 113 Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs, for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating Ms. Maitland’s new place on the African American Heritage Trail.

Ms. Maitland, who in her life was a singer, dancer, boxer, wrestler, and nurse, was a longtime resident of Oak Bluffs. Barney Zeitz created the plaque that commemorated her life and spirit.

After an introductory speech by Elaine Weintraub and several amusing anecdotes from Frank Chambers (Ms. Maitland’s nephew), Jacqueline Hunt, former Martha’s Vineyard NAACP president, who had known Emma as a girl, requested a moment of reflection to honor those who had been slain in Charleston, S.C., the previous week. Everyone in the crowd circled up and gripped hands as Ms. Hunt discussed the horror of the killing, and she also noted how lucky we are on Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate diversity.

Attendees included Oak Bluffs Selectman Kathy Burton, Barney Zeitz and family, and retired Oak Bluffs Police Chief Joe Carter and his family. The unveiling marks the 16th African American heritage site. For a full story on Emma Maitland, read the MVTimes story here: mvtimes.com/2015/06/24/welcome-to-the-trail-emma-maitland/.

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The Island’s collegiate baseball team won their first home game of the season on Thursday, defeating the North Shore Navigators 5-2.

The walk-up song for Sharks' outfielder Donovan Casey is "Rude Boy" by Rihanna, and everyone was all smiles when it was played Tuesday night. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks season has officially begun, and it started with a bang. The team won four of its first five games in the last six days.

The Island’s collegiate baseball team played their first home game of the season last Thursday, defeating the North Shore Navigators 5-2. After trailing for the first half of the game, Ricky Surum knocked in the Sharks’ first run with an RBI single. Donovan Casey went 3-5 on the night, scoring a run and knocking one home. Pitcher Evan Roberts got the win.

Brian Campbell smacks a base hit into the outfield against the Brockton Rox. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Brian Campbell smacks a base hit into the outfield against the Brockton Rox. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Tuesday night, they defeated the Bristol Blues 8-0 in a shortened game at home. The encroaching fog allowed the teams to play five innings of baseball, and new pitcher Jeff Gelinas picked up the complete game shutout. He allowed only four hits and five strikeouts in his first Sharks start. Leadoff hitter Ryan Kelly sparked the offense immediately, hitting a single then scoring on a Blues error. Donovan Casey also knocked in Jack Roberts for the second run in the first inning. The Sharks never looked back, scoring an unearned run in the second inning and exploding for five runs in the fourth. Ricky Surum, the first batter up in the inning, was hit by a pitch. Then Surum stole second, eventually scoring on a Steven Foster double. Donovan Casey put the game away for good with a two RBI double immediately following a Blues pitching substitution.

The Sharks now sit tied for first with the Nashua Silver Knights at 4-1 in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s East Division. Martha’s Vineyard will travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday to take on the Seacoast Mavericks.

Last Friday, the Sharks traveled to Brockton, where they lost to the Brockton Rox 8-2. The Sharks were hampered by the outstanding play of Rox pitcher Will Whitlock, who only gave up one hit in his four innings of work. Sharks pitcher Matthew Tulley, who picked up the loss, allowed three runs while striking out six.

The Sharks traveled to Worcester on Saturday and did not disappoint, defeating the Worcester Bravehearts 11-4. The Sharks played excellent team baseball, having every player record at least one hit. Standouts included outfielder Steven Foster, who stole two bases, and relief pitcher Mac Curran, who struck out all three batters he faced.

Following the Friday-night loss to the Brockton Rox, the Sharks reversed the script on Sunday night, and defeated the Rox 8-2 at the Shark Tank. The Sharks began the game with two unearned runs from a Brockton fielding error, with Brian Campbell and Donovan Casey scoring. Donovan Casey was involved again in the third inning, hitting a double and eventually scoring on a Chris Weiss single. The Sharks put the game away for good in the eighth inning. Leading 4-2, Steven Foster led off the inning with a walk. Ryan Kelly then hit a

Aubrey Ashmun, left, and Yannick Gonsalves threw out the first pitch before the Sharks game on Sunday night after each received a scholarship  from the Sharks Charitable Foundation.
Aubrey Ashmun, left, and Yannick Gonsalves threw out the first pitch before the Sharks game on Sunday night after each received a scholarship from the Sharks Charitable Foundation. – Photo by Michael Cummo

monster triple, scoring Foster. The very next batter, Jack Roberts, singled home Ryan Kelly to extend the lead to 6-2. Jack Roberts and Brian Campbell then scored unearned runs, giving the Sharks an unlosable lead. Pitcher Justin Garcia went six innings, giving up only one earned run while striking out five.

Before the start of the game, student athletes Aubrey Ashmun and Yannick Gonsalves, who will be playing

their respective sports in college, received $1,000 scholarships from the Sharks Charitable Foundation.

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The Island’s collegiate baseball team won their first home game of the season on Thursday, defeating the North Shore Navigators 5-2.

Soren Hanson pitched against the North Shore Navigators on opening day Thursday.

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks season has officially begun, and it started with a bang. The team won three games in four days.

The Island’s collegiate baseball team played their first home game of the season on Thursday, defeating the North Shore Navigators 5-2. After trailing for the first half of the game, Ricky Surum knocked in the Sharks’ first run with an RBI single. Donovan Casey went 3-5 on the night, scoring a run and knocking one home. Pitcher Evan Roberts got the win.

On Friday, the Sharks traveled to Brockton, where they lost to the Brockton Rox 8-2. The Sharks were hampered by the outstanding play of Rox pitcher Will Whitlock, who only gave up one hit in his four innings of work. Sharks pitcher Matthew Tulley, who picked up the loss, allowed three runs while striking out six.

The Sharks traveled to Worcester on Saturday and did not disappoint, defeating the Worcester Bravehearts 11-4. The Sharks played excellent team baseball, having every player record at least one hit. Standouts included outfielder Steven Foster, who stole two bases, and relief pitcher Mac Curran, who struck out all three batters he faced.

Brian Campbell smacks a base hit into the outfield against the Brockton Rox.
Brian Campbell smacks a base hit into the outfield against the Brockton Rox.

Following the Friday night loss to the Brockton Rox, the Sharks reversed the script on Sunday night, and defeated the Rox 8-2 at the Shark Tank. The Sharks began the game with two unearned runs from a Brockton fielding error, with Brian Campbell and Donovan Casey scoring. Donovan Casey was involved again in the third inning, hitting a double and eventually scoring on a Chris Weiss single. The Sharks put the game away for good in the eighth inning. Leading 4-2, Steven Foster led off the inning with a walk. Ryan Kelly then hit a monster triple, scoring Foster. The very next batter, Jack Roberts, singled home Ryan Kelly to extend the lead to 6-2. Jack Roberts and Brian Campbell then scored unearned runs, giving the Sharks an unlosable lead. Pitcher Justin Garcia went six innings, giving up only one earned run while striking out five.

Aubrey Ashmun, left, and Yannick Gonsalves threw out the first pitch before the Sharks game on Sunday night after each received a scholarship  from the Sharks Charitable Foundation.
Aubrey Ashmun, left, and Yannick Gonsalves threw out the first pitch before the Sharks game on Sunday night after each received a scholarship
from the Sharks Charitable Foundation.

Before the start of the game, student athletes Aubrey Ashmun and Yannick Gonsalves, who will be playing their respective sports in college, received $1,000 scholarships from the Sharks Charitable Foundation.

The Sharks’ next home game is Tuesday, June 9, against the Bristol Blues.

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The team lost to Hanover 12-4 in the first round of playoff competition Monday.

Matt Davies gives his dad Doug a hug. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys lacrosse team, which went into the playoffs following a stellar 11-7 season, lost to Hanover 12-4 in the first round of the MIAA South Sectional Division 3 playoffs Monday. It was the last game for 14 graduating seniors, who composed nearly half of the entire team, and the entire defense.

From left, front: Mike Mazza, Cooper Wilson, Austin Fournier, Liam Smith, Matt Davies, Oren Osnoss, Mike Morris. Back: Thomas O'Shaughnessy, Dan Costello, Gavin Fynbo, Spencer Schofield, David Mascias, Luke Makracken, Andrew Fournier.
From left, front: Mike Mazza, Cooper Wilson, Austin Fournier, Liam Smith, Matt Davies, Oren Osnoss, Mike Morris. Back: Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Dan Costello, Gavin Fynbo, Spencer Schofield, David Mascias, Luke Makracken, Andrew Fournier.

The boys played their last regular-season home game on Thursday against Dennis-Yarmouth. They were joined by their parents on field before the game, as part of senior day festivities.

Boys lacrosse coach Chris Green spoke briefly about the impact of the departing seniors before the boys presented flowers to their parents on the field. With their eyes seemingly already on the playoffs, the boys dropped their last regular-season game 6-4. Tom Irwin, Greg McCarron, Spencer Schofield, and Mike Morris each scored one goal in the loss.

Four days later, on Monday, the ninth-seeded Vineyarders traveled to play eighth seed Hanover. The Vineyard took time to settle into the game and find its rhythm. Hanover jumped on the opportunity, taking a 3-0 advantage into the second quarter.

Tom Irwin shoots (and scores) against Dennis-Yarmouth on senior day, May 28.
Tom Irwin shoots (and scores) against Dennis-Yarmouth on senior day, May 28.

The Vineyard played them even through the second, down 4-1 at halftime. Martha’s Vineyard looked to have gotten something going early in the second half after scoring a quick goal, but again Hanover answered, making it 6-3 after three quarters. As the fourth quarter wore on, Hanover were fielding more ground balls and winning more faceoffs, making it impossible for the Vineyard to chip away at the small lead. Eventually the game fell out of reach for the Island team, and they lost 12-4.

Mike Morris and Austin Chandler each scored one goal, while Jacob Gunderson scored two. Senior goalie Austin Fournier, one of the Vineyard’s best players the entire season, ended his lacrosse career on a high note, notching double-digit saves.

Captain Liam Smith kisses his mom Alison as dad Tom Smith looks on during a brief senior day ceremony on Thursday.
Captain Liam Smith kisses his mom Alison as dad Tom Smith looks on during a brief senior day ceremony on Thursday.

Instead of lamenting over the number of departing players, Assistant Coach Tom Keller said the team was lucky to have had so many seniors for the entire season.

“Having 14 seniors was amazing,” Coach Keller said. “This season was the first time in a long time where we were not physically overmatched. We had the size and strength that matched up well with other, larger teams.”

Despite the playoff loss, close observers agreed the boys lacrosse team had a successful season, and the Vineyard boys should hold their heads high.

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The seniors and their parents posed after throwing out the ceremonial first pitches. From left: Coach Gary Simmons, Henry Gallagher, Tina Miller, Steve Gallagher, Jack Slayton, Heather Slayton, John Roberts, Tim Roberts, Liz Roberts, Steve Mussell, Mike Mussell, and Robin Mussell. – Photo by Michael Cummo

On Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School baseball team faced a must-win game away against Triton in order to make the playoffs. The team won the game 2-1, behind a stellar pitching performance from senior Tim Roberts, and were rewarded with the ninth seed in the MIAA South Division 3 bracket.

On Saturday, the team will play eighth seed Norton. If they are victorious, the Vineyarders will then take on top-seed Fairhaven.

Three moms: From left, Liz Roberts, Tina Miller, and Heather Slayton. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Three moms: From left, Liz Roberts, Tina Miller, and Heather Slayton. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Last Thursday, the day before their must-win game against Triton, the boys celebrated senior day before taking on Bourne at home. A parent of each of the four soon-to-graduate seniors threw out a first pitch to his or her son. Even though a few of the ceremonial pitches went wide of their mark, smiles were ubiquitous.

The game against Bourne, however, provided little to smile about. Bourne jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, and stretched the lead to 8-2 after four innings. Vineyard pitcher Jacob Cardoza was replaced by Aidan Aliberti, and the Vineyard offense remained quiet.

The last time the boys baseball team qualified for the playoffs was four years ago, when the now-seniors were freshman.

Speaking about his seniors, Coach Gary Simmons said, “They have been a huge part of the team. They have played a lot, in big roles, and helped get us to the playoffs.”

 

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Samuel Jurek of Somerville bested all runners Sunday with a finish time of 16.57.

More than 600 runners took part in the Oak Bluffs 5K on Sunday morning.

On a sunny, windy Sunday morning, more than 600 runners converged on Oak Bluffs for the 26th annual Oak Bluffs Memorial Day 5K Road Race.

Somerville’s Samuel Jurek was the fastest, He finished the course with a time of 16:57, maintaining an impressive mile pace of 5:28.

In first place, Samuel Jurek crosses the finish line.
In first place, Samuel Jurek crosses the finish line.

Dylan Lunch, 16, from East Taunton, finished second with a time of 17:33. Third place finisher Michael Schroeder from West Tisbury was the fastest Islander. Steve Imbraico and Ryan Sawyer of Edgartown finished 12th and 13th respectively.

The first woman across the finish line was Kaelin Goulet, of New York City, who finished 31st with a time of 20:50.

Unofficially, the fundraiser for Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard raised approximately $14,000.

The first woman to finish the race was Kaelin Goulet.
The first woman to finish the race was Kaelin Goulet.

Longtime race organizer Roger Wey said this year’s race was the second largest ever. Only the inaugural race attracted more runners, he said. The race course began at Ocean Park and took participants up and around East Chop before dropping down to the finish line in front of the Wesley Hotel overlooking Oak Bluffs harbor.

Prior to the 5K the kids got a chance to burn some energy in the 1 mile fun run. Spencer Fletcher of Concord came in first with a time of 6:35. Thomas Nencka, of Bristol, Rhode Island was second with a time of 6:40 and Sachs Sachs of Southboro was third with a time of 7:00. The first Island runner to finish was eight-year-old Will Baliunas from Edgartown, who finished in sixth place. Ben Imbraico of Edgartown (8th) and Everett Dorr of Vineyard Haven (10th) round out the top ten.

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Lynch finished second.
Sixteen-year-old Dylan Lynch finished second.

The top ten finishers in the 5k are as follows: 1. Samuel Jurek (16:57); 2. Dylan Lynch (17:33); 3. Michael Schroeder (18:05); 4. Kevin Gesell (18:15); 5. Manuel Chinchilla (18:17); 6. Ken Gartner (18:24); 7. Brian Bourque (18:35); 8. James Kirk (18:49); 9. Erik Surface (19:01); 10. Harrison Backer (19:05)

 

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By the second half, it was clear the game was about about a good time and basketball entertainment.

Miguel "Miles High" Millien slams down a monster dunk while warming up in front of the packed crowd. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Comedy came to court Friday night, but there was no dancing jester, just the Harlem Rockets, a comedic troupe of basketball entertainers. The team took over the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School gymnasium for a challenge match against the MV Jammers, a team of local basketball greats and not-so-greats, in a family-friendly game courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club.

One young fan was not intimidated by the height advantage.
Jayden Coyle was not intimidated by the height advantage.

In front of a large, boisterous crowd, the Rockets put on quite a show.

Before the game started, James “Speedy” Williams brought 11-year-old Dylan Biggs onto the court to spin a basketball on his finger. That fan interaction set the tone for the rest of the evening.

The match started started with an entertaining bang. A Rockets player slammed a huge dunk home. In subsequent possessions, the Harlem players displayed a wide range of skills, throwing alley-oops to one another and dribbling around the Vineyard players, always with a huge smile. The Jammers, though, would not allow themselves to only be comedic fodder. They kept the game competitive, with assistant girls coach and former high school standout Asil Cash hitting several sweet threes and Tim Roberts, a senior, trying to jump through the roof.

James “Speedy” Williams sets a ball spinning for Dylan Biggs.
James “Speedy” Williams sets a ball spinning for Dylan Biggs.

With four minutes left in the first half, several Jammers players fell to the court with “injuries.” The Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls youth basketball team replaced them, facing off against a team nearly triple their size. Aiden Rogers hit two perfect three-pointers, much to the delight of Vineyard spectators. They did score, though, and actually cut into the lead.

The halftime show, and there was a show, included an interactive game where children and parents alike were called to center court. The only rule of the game was to catch the ball when it was passed. The trick, though, was that Speedy Williams was doing fancy dribble moves and fakes in the center of the circle, all the while throwing surprise passes. The crowd was wholeheartedly invested in this game, cheering and hollering when anyone missed an easy catch.

James “Speedy” Williams, of the Harlem Rockets, throws a behind the back pass during a halftime game of catch.
James “Speedy” Williams, of the Harlem Rockets, throws a behind the back pass during a halftime game of catch.

When the second half started, the Rockets decided the crowd support was worth an increase in points. So Mr. Williams stopped the game and demanded the Jammers get more points. But no one was there to see a close game. In fact, no one even cared about the score after halftime. The crowd was in the moment, laughing and cheering with both teams. When the game finally ended, the Harlem Rockets stayed to mingle with the crowd and to sign autographs, much to the delight of the kids in the audience. They swarmed the court immediately after the game, shooting hoops and having a great time.

A true family event, this game was enjoyed by parents and kids alike. The Harlem Rockets are welcome back to Martha’s Vineyard anytime.

The crowd cheers after a huge Harlem Rockets dunk.
The crowd cheers after a huge Harlem Rockets dunk.

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The traditional Thai holiday at the Anchors in Edgartown.

Pissamai "Mai" Silarek returns to the Anchors in Edgartown each year to celebrate Songkran. –Photos by Michael Cummo

Pissamai “Mai” Silarak speaks quietly to a group of a dozen or so people seated in a circle at the Anchors in Edgartown. She’s dressed in a traditional Thai costume, and has come to the Council on Aging to bless Edgartonians during Songkran, a ritual holiday that celebrates the Thai new year, celebrated Wednesday, April 22.

Dorothy Alexander, left, and Betty Carter receive water blessings from Pissamai “Mai” Silarak at the Edgartown Council of Aging.
Dorothy Alexander, left, and Betty Carter receive water blessings from Pissamai “Mai” Silarak at the Edgartown Council of Aging.

Mai moves around the circle, stopping and kneeling in front of each guest. She dips a bunch of red roses into water, then slowly taps them on each elder’s palm, and wishes them health, happiness, luck, and peace, then thanks each of them for the wisdom they have given to many in their lives.

Islanders might recognize Mai as the woman who helped run Bangkok Cuisine in Oak Bluffs after coming to the United States in 2009. Soon after, she opened Sai Mai Thai, her own Thai restaurant, installed in the Ritz Cafe. Recently, she’s been living in Edgartown and cooking for private parties, and always has her eye out for her next restaurant, according to friends. Her son, Nantawat, graduated last year from the Charter School, and is attending Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Pachira Yodhong, left, and Halit Kaewted perform a traditional Thai dance.
Pachira Yodhong, left, and Halit Kaewted perform a traditional Thai dance.

For the past several years, Mai has come to the Anchors in April to celebrate Songkran, traditionally held at the hottest time of the year in Thailand. Anyone who’s visited Thailand in April might remember Songkran as one big water-tossing party, with tourists and locals alike dousing one another with full buckets. Although Mai enjoys a water party as much as others, she likes to remain true to her past and her culture.

The word “Songkran” comes from Sanskrit, meaning transformation, and relates to the changing of the zodiac signs. Timed to coincide with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart, the auspicious festival is a period when people cool off in the midsummer heat, show respect to family elders, and receive their blessings in return. They also pray for loved ones who have passed away and cannot be present.

Mai, who was honored in Thailand this past March on International Women’s Day for representing Thailand and its culture in another country, returns to the Anchors each year to speak about Thai culture and tradition. She also speaks of “same/same,” the idea that although everyone has different opinions and thoughts, people are made of the same heart and the same love.

“When I came to Martha’s Vineyard,” she says, “this [became] my home. So I always come to give my blessing.”

When the blessings are done, the dancing begins. Mai does a traditional Thai dance and invites the others to join her. They’re accompanied by off-Island friends — two Thai monks, several Thai dancers, and musicians.

Mai, said a friend, “is the epitome of the word ‘ambassador’; it’s why some of her friends refer to her as ‘the Princess Without a Crown.’”

At least for the next year, Edgartown has been blessed with water, wishes, and wisdom.

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Jason Lages scored a hat trick for undefeated United.

Jason Lages effortlessly weaves through defenders on his way to goal. – Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard United under-18 boys soccer team defeated Mashpee 8-0 at its home opener on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.

The high-scoring match began quickly, when forward Brandon Dwane’s lefty shot snuck past defenders and a screened goalie.

The Mashpee defense struggled with the pace set by Martha’s Vineyard all game. Jason Lages quickly stole the ball and scored near-post to make it 2-0; moments afterward he sent in a howling cross that was turned into the net by a defender for an own goal.

After another quick goal, the Vineyarders were up 4-0 at halftime. The boys looked solid throughout, and were rarely challenged defensively.

Immediately after the break, Ryan Uva scored, giving the Vineyard an impenetrable lead. After that goal, the boys looked supremely confident. Jason Lages again made the defense look porous, rounding several defenders to rip a shot into the bottom corner, putting MV up 6-0. The opposing defense had nothing to say but “Wow.” It did not stop there.

Right winger Lee Faraca caused speed problems for the defense all game, and gathered a cross, which he slid past a weak defense for a goal, increasing the lead to 7-0. By this point, the Vineyard boys had nearly total possession, and they were weaving through defenders and making slick passes with huge smiles on their faces.

Yet again, Jason Lages made the defense drop their collective jaws after he effortlessly wove through five Mashpee defenders to put a shot on target that was expertly stopped by the Mashpee keeper. Moments later Lages chased down a ball heading toward the corner flag and stopped it on the touchline; his momentum kept him running onto the concrete, where he lost his balance and slipped, but he recovered before any defender reached the ball. Lages then snaked through three defenders and scored, putting the Vineyard up 8-0 in an incredible effort.

Throughout the entire game, MV United looked calm and composed with their victory never in doubt. They travel to Dennis-Yarmouth on Sunday, May 2, for their next game.

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Olivia Smith outjumped the second-place finisher by more than one foot.

Anders Nelson leaps over a hurdle in the meet against. Triton. – Photos by Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School track and field team went 0-1-1 against Triton Regional High School on Sunday. The girls lost a close meet, 76-60, and the boys tied, 68-68.

Vineyarder Olivia Smith took first in the long jump, finishing with a distance of 16 feet, 1.25 inches, outjumping second-place finisher Juniper Ezanno by one foot and one quarter inch. Olivia also took first in the 400 meter hurdles and 110m high hurdles. Pearl Vercruysse took first place in the mile, finishing at 5:48, and narrowly beating teammate Rose Engler, who completed the mile in 5:50.5.

For the boys, Elijah Larue won the discus toss and Anders Nelson took first place in the javelin throw. Chase Silvia took first in the high jump and second in the long jump, while Eniss Foster won the triple jump. Jake Janak was victorious in both the 100m and 200m sprints, and Aivaras Gedvilas won both the mile run and the two-mile run.

The track and field teams next challenge Somerset Berkley in a home meet on April 29.