The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School indoor track team last competed on Feb. 16, 2020, and had to wait nearly four months since its opening practice in early December to take part in its first meet of the new season, the seventh for the program overall.
Tuesday afternoon in Oak Bluffs, the Vineyarders were finally back on the track, and hosted Sandwich High School in a Cape and Islands League dual meet. Although the competition featured traditional indoor events and distances, the only event held inside was the high jump. The rest of the meet unfolded under clear blue skies and mild temperatures. Fielding a small, talented roster of just 21 athletes, the Vineyarders got off to an impressive start. The girls won every event they entered, and outpointed the Blue Knights 51-35, while the boys won 60-27.
“It was great to get some competition,” Vineyard Coach Joe Schroeder said. “We had a couple of kids who had some big days, but I think our team was just happy to be out there. Both teams were.”
Anabelle Biggs was a triple winner for the girls, taking the long jump (17 feet, 1 inch), 55m (7.78), and the 300m (44.3). Twins Wren and Eloise Christy each placed first in two events. Wren won the mile in 5:39 and the two-mile in 12:02, while Eloise leaped 4 feet, 4 inches, to win the high jump, and ran to victory in the 600m (1:50.3). Senior Amber Cuthbert won the 1000m in 3:34, and Ashlei Clark was tops in the shot put at 27 feet, 8 inches.
For the boys, Jonathan Norton soared 16 feet, 8 inches, over the sand pit to win the long jump, and added a win in the 55m high hurdles (9.1). Nick Pecararo sprinted to first in the 55m (7.19) and 300m (39.3). Senior Owen Atkins (5:05) led the way in the mile, Zach Utz (2:47) won the 1000m, and Borja Tolay (10:35) took the two-mile. Nate Porterfield, new to indoor track in his senior year, placed second in the long jump (16 feet, 4.5 inches), and ran third in the 1000m.
With the spring track and fall cross-country teams unable to compete due to the pandemic, Coach Schroeder is especially proud of the way his charges have responded to difficult circumstances. “Our team has just been so resilient,” he said. “We have several distance runners who are holdovers from the cross-country team, so they didn’t compete. To stay dedicated and resilient that way is a tribute to them, and especially for the seniors, I was happy for them to get out on the track, knowing what happened last year. I was especially psyched for them, Amber and Owen. Nate is new to the sport, but those kids deserve to have the competition, that’s for sure.”
Thus far, the team has no captains. “All these kids have been leaders because they’re out there every day, they’re putting the work in, no one really stands out above and beyond,” Schroeder said. “Owen and Amber would be logical choices just because they’re seniors, but like I said, they’re all kind of being leaders in their own way. We’ll probably end up naming them captains at the end of the year [he laughs], and we had that talk with them before, and they were just like, ‘You know, you’re exactly right.’”
The Vineyarders host Dennis-Yarmouth on Saturday at 11:30 am, and travel to Barnstable on Tuesday.