The sports adage “If you want to be the best, you have to play the best” was on full display Thursday morning at the elite Warriors Invitational track meet at Foxboro High School. Seventeen Vineyarders achieved personal best scores, and set three new school records in the process.
The roster of best scores included freshmen and sophomores, heirs apparent to upperclassmen who have rejuvenated track success locally and at the state level.
Sophomore Yayla DeChiara continued her extraordinary season, finishing fifth in the 800 meters with a personal record time of 2:44.62. Senior Owen Porterfield ran the 400 meters in 55.21, finishing sixth in a field of 56, and setting a new personal best. Sophomore Amber Cuthbert ran the mile in a season and personal best 5:67.9, finishing eighth in a crowded field.
In all, some 800 athletes from Massachusetts competed in the event, held annually in Foxboro. Vineyarder Coach Joe Schroeder uses a cluster of invitationals during spring break week, “so the experienced athletes can run against the competition they’ll face in postseason competition, and for newer team members to get some experience against the best,” he said.
They responded to the up-tempo competitive environment. On the girls side, juniors Tyla Packish and Linda Borges finished seventh and 61st respectively in the 100 meters. Freshman Annabelle Biggs and juniors Ashley Biggs and Borges finished seventh, 17th, and 39th respectively in the 200 meters, each setting a personal record doing it.
In the mile, Cuthbert, freshman Kailyn Freeman, and Sara Creato finished eighth, 27th, and 34th, all setting personal best times in the event. Sophomore Maria Clara Lacerda finished 19th in the 100 meter hurdles, with a personal best time of 21:32. Ashley Biggs also contributed a personal best 23:5.60 in the triple jump, good for 19th place. The Vineyard has more numbers now and has been able to resuscitate its 4×100 girls relay team (Tyla Packish, Maria Clara Lacerda, Ashley Biggs, and Annabelle Biggs), which finished third in Foxboro Thursday in only their third race together.
On the boys side, junior JoJo Bonneau finished second in the 400 meter hurdles with a personal best time of 1:01.93. Junior Josh Pinto finished 20th in the long jump, with a personal best 16 feet, 2 inches, and newcomer Nick Pecararo jumped 14 feet, 3 inches, a personal best worth 29th place. Junior Vito Aiello ran the mile in 5:13.35, a personal best for 24th place, behind sophomore Owen Atkins, who finished 12th with a personal best 4:58.66.
In the two-mile, freshman Borja Tolay shaved two seconds off his personal best, finishing second with a 10:46.
All that translates into high-achieving depth, featuring lots of younger athletes, on this squad which plays seven of the nine regular-season events on the road. They meet Sturgis West at home on May 1 at 3 pm, and host the Cape and Islands League next month.