The Vineyarders have a solid core of returning athletes, including almost the entire cross-country roster, and 27 newcomers in a combined girls and boys squad of 52, up 15 from last year’s total. The girls team placed 7th among 39 schools in the Division 4 meet last spring and, with only one girl lost to graduation, should be strong again in 2019. “We’ll be strong in the distances and the hurdles and the jumps but it will take a while to round into form in the throws with Paige Pogue sidelined until April break at least,” Vineyard Coach Joe Schroeder said of the girls. Senior co-captain Mackenzie Condon qualified for the Nationals in the 400-meter low hurdles last season and will compete in seven events this time around, with high hurdles, long jump, high jump and a new-found strength in the shot put among her specialties. Junior co-captain Catherine Cherry and sophomore Amber Cuthbert give the Vineyarders a formidable distance group. “Catherine and Amber will run anything from the 800 to two miles,” Coach Schroeder said. Tyla Packish will anchor the sprint group.
The Vineyard boys have similar strengths to the girls, with throws especially strong . Senior co-captain Nate Packer has qualified for states in the shot put both indoors and out, while Richie Barlett won the Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) meet and qualified for the divisionals in the javelin in 2018. Both should be major factors again this season. Senior Owen Porterfield and junior co-captain Peter Burke will lead the distance crew. Senior co-captain J.P. Alves and JoJo Bonneau are back for the boys hurdlers, along with junior Dash Christy, who joins the group from the indoor track squad, and newcomer John Habekost.
After a decade in the EAC, the Vineyarders, girls and boys, will compete this season in a modified (to say the least) Cape and Islands League, along with Monomoy and a combined squad from Sturgis East and West Charter Schools in Hyannis. With the Vineyarders opening at Bishop Feehan on April 3 and Bishop Stang coming to the Island for the home opener on April 10, EAC rivals help fill in the gaps. The girls and boys will split up once this season, with the girls facing Notre Dame of Hingham and the boys taking on Durfee of Fall River. By the end of April, both teams will be in action nearly every Saturday through the end of the season.
Joel Graves, Mike Lavers and Jeremy Alley-Tarter will be the assistant coaches this season. “I feel pretty positive about the upcoming season,” Coach Schroeder said. “I like our numbers and we have a fair amount of returning kids to help the new kids adjust to their sport and the training.”