Friday, November 30, 2012

Welcome to Indoor Track and Field 2012-13!

December is here.  Cross country is in the rear view and indoor track looms large on the horizon.  With practices starting this week and our first meet slated for Thursday December 13th, we turn our attention to the oval.  Both teams return strong contingents and add new talent and for the first time in six years, bring back a complete coaching line-up.  The possibilities for what the Rockets may achieve are endless.  Here is a complete list of our school records.


55m Dash        Violet King             7.32           2005
300m                Kim Kelly              41.50         2000
600m                Kim Kelly              1:41.11      1999
1,000m             Hallie Armstrong   3:06.17      2012
1 Mile              Emily Lipman         5:13.41      2008
2 Mile              Emily Lipman        11:12.32     2008
55m Hurdles    Christina Regan      8.80          1999
High Jump       Sarah Daoust          5' 5"          1999
Shot Put           Vilavone Simmai    36' 2"        1999
Long Jump       Sari Chang             17' 4"        1980
4 x 200 Relay   Jaclyn Raffol         1:46.96      2000
                         Liz Moderi
                         Kim Kelly
                         Jill Zagami
4 x 400             Kira Oberle            4:06.32      2012
                         Robin Kelly
                         Hallie Armstrong
                         Alison Pildner
4 x 800             Hannah Alpert       9:49.40      2011
                         Olivia Nolan
                         Hallie Armstrong
                         Alison Pildner

55m Dash        Cope Kharuharat    6.65           1995
300m               Kevin Walsh           36.79         2012
600m               Ben Lueders           1:26.16      2012
1,000m            Ben Lueders           2:35.73      2012
1 Mile              Tom Patterson        4:24.0        1971
2 Mile              Peter Loomis          9:22.0        1984
55 Hurdles       Peter Farlow           7.83           2011
High Jump       Wayne Shields        6' 5"          1981
Shot Put           Chip Huckins         56' 10.5"    1978
Long Jump       Peter Farlow          21' 6"         2011
4 x 200             Brian Hazzard       1:33.50       2011
                         Peter Farlow
                         Kevin Walsh
                         Ryan McGloin
4 x 400             Marc Chafin          3:28.0         1979
                         Brian Annese
                         Barry McMorrow
                         Brian Johnston
4 x 800             Jerry White           8:08.5          1979
                         Brian Annese
                         Brian Johnstron
                         Barry McMorrow

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Needham Track Club Finishes High at Nike Cross Regional Championships!

In a late season decision, the girls' cross country program decided to attend the Nike Cross National (NXN) Northeast Regional Championships to test their meddle against the best programs east of New York and North of Maryland and Delaware.  The regional meet is used as a qualifier for the national championships to be held this coming weekend December 2nd in Portland, Oregon.  The NXN meets are not high school sanctioned and therefore the usual Needham Rockets competed under the pseudonym Needham Track Club and were under the watchful eye of Mike Turner as head coach.

Coach Turner had the following to say leading into the meet: "We went to Nike Northeast with the dual goal of having fun and celebrating the season, but also competing and finishing strong.  We knew we were up against the top teams from the eight northeast states including each state champion team.  When talking to the girls the night before the race, we decided that a top 20 finish would be great, and a top 10 finish would be epic."

And compete they did finishing 8th in the Championship race with 246 points, just four points away from 7th.  The team was led as they have been the last three meets by freshmen Margie Cullen, Julianna Donovan and Sarah Armstrong all recording top 40 finishes.  Senior captains Caroline Turner and Hallie Armstrong rounded out the scoring in 83rd and 128th places respectively and senior Erica Koljonen came across the line 198th.  In the girls' Open race, Needham TC also had solid performances from junior Daria Fortin and sophomore Claire Connors finishing in 63rd and 163 place.  In the boys' open race, junior Alex Elman placed 83rd as the only Needham athlete to toe the line.

To illustrate just how much this group of girls has improved over the course of the season as well as come together as a team when the stakes were high we can look to their early season performances as a comparison.
          * On September 22nd at the Amherst Invitational, Needham lost to Amherst 99-139. 
            At NXN Needham TC beat the Amherst Polar Cows (17th place) 246-410.
          * On October 6th at the Thetford Invitational, Needham lost to Champlain Valley Union
            (Vermont) 70-144.  At NXN Needham TC beat Champlain Valley XC Club (9th place)

The previous two stats really describe the last four weeks of the season beautifully.  The Rockets may not have won every meet they entered but they sure as heck didn't lose them either.  In the words of Coach Turner, "On race day, the girls did what they have done all year; they raced to an epic eighth place finish and then broke into an impromptu finish line dance party"

Full results can be found at:

Sarah and Julianna

Monday, November 26, 2012

Amaya, Hagen Finish Well at All-States.

And they're off!
Qualifying for the All-State Championships is a pretty tall order and no Needham Boys' team has done so since 1984.  But this fall, two individuals accomplished the feat becoming just the 5th and 6th Needham athletes to toe the line at the state meet in the 21st century!  After finishing 2nd and 12th at divisionals, Adrian Amaya and Tyler Hagen competed in the first All-State meet of their high school careers and represented the Rocket program well.

Amaya finishes strong.
Hagen runs tough.
As the gun sounded, 179 of the state's best sprinted toward the bottom of the mountain.  After a conservative first 1,000 meters that saw all runners pack it in with no one wanting to overly exert themselves on the tactical Northfield course, Jonathon Green of Saint John's Shrewsbury took a commanding lead.  Green would run uncontested to the finish line smashing the five year old course record in impressive fashion recording a time of 15:29.  Behind the leader, Amaya and Hagen settled into top 30 positions.  Throughout the race, the Needham athletes stayed aggressive and worked hard to maintain their positions.  Coming off the final bend, both Amaya and Hagen sprinted hard for the line finishing in 24th (16:44) and 36th (16:57) respectively.

Many times an athlete begins a season with a set of goals in mind and sometimes the athlete not only meets those goals but exceeds them and is faced with a quick reevaluation.  It was a true testament to Adrian Amaya's and Tyler Hagen's mental flexibility and strength that they rose to the challenge of a new goal and tackled it with confidence and poise.

Full results can be found at:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lady Rockets Finish 3rd in State Championships.

Saturday November 17th, Needham cross country traveled west to Northfield to compete in the MIAA All-State Championships and placed third in the highly competitive field.  After a tough runner-up finish at the divisional meet a week prior, the Rockets were set to face the top four teams from divisions 1, 2 and 3 on the storied Northfield Mountain course.  Included in the field were 2012 division 3 champions and 2011 state champions Whitman-Hanson as well as 2012 division 1 and 2 champions Lowell and Lincoln-Sudbury.  But in the end, it was Peabody who stole the show scoring 110 points and led by individual winner Catarina Rocha.  Rocha ran the first 1,000 meters up the challenging Northfield course sitting comfortably in the front group before pulling away to the second fastest time ever recorded at Northfield 18:06.12 and winning by a massive 45 seconds. 

But behind the wake of Rocha unfolded a hotly contested battle for second place in the team scoring between Lincoln-Sudbury and Needham yet again.  And just like at divisionals it was Needham who set the tone with Margie Cullen racing to an outstanding 8th place finish overall in 19:26 followed closely by Lincoln-Sudbury's Sydney Clary in 9th.  Needham continued their dominance with Julianna Donovan and Sarah Armstrong running stride for stride as they've done all season long finishing 19th (19:52) and 25th (20:02) respectively.  Next across the line were Morgane Butler and Katie LaScaleia from Lincoln-Sudbury finishing in 28th and 32nd.  Caroline Turner rebounded from a tough divisional meet by outkicking her L-S counterpart Sam Cook by one place finishing in 20:28.  With four runners in, the Rockets clearly held the advantage over the Warriors but it was Daniela Hargus who stepped up for her team by placing 76th overall to give Lincoln-Sudbury the edge they needed.  Hallie Armstrong was the fifth runner in for Needham finishing in 93rd place in 21:07.  When all runners were in, Needham and Lincon-Sudbury were separated by one point with the Warriors scoring 117 to the Rockets' 118.  Whitman-Hanson finished 4th (124) and Amherst 5th (135) closing out what had to be one of the closest team finishes in championship history with just 25 points separating the top five.

Full results can be found at:

Saturday November 24th, Needham Girls' XC will close out their season by competing in the prestigious Nike Cross Country Regional Championships at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turner Named League MVP for 2012 Cross Country Season.

In a post season wrap-up, BSC coaches unanimously voted Needham senior captain Caroline Turner the Most Valuable Player for the conference.  Turner led the Rockets throughout the regular season to the teams' first ever conference title (11-0) and only lost to three other BSC athletes in dual meet competition.  Prior to the conference meet, Turner fell ill and was unable to run at full strength but still managed a gritty 8th place finish.  Turner was also instrumental in creating a competitive yet supportive team atmosphere from day one of the season.

Additionally Turner, as well as Margie Cullen, Julianna Donovan, Sarah Armstrong, Katie Horton, Adrian Amaya and Tyler Hagen were named BSC All-Stars for excellence in competition throughout the 2012 season.  Congratulations to all recipients.

Needham Girls' Cross Country Wins Sportsmanship Award

In an announcement made by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association in conjunction with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association the NHS girls' cross country team has been presented with the 11th annual Ted Dutkiewicz Team Sportsmanship Award.  "One of (Ted's) great desires was seeing that high school cross country was conducted in a fair and equitable manner with sportsmanship the goal that all athletes and coaches should keep foremost in their mind."  Congratulations to Coach O'Connell and the girls' team on yet another great accomplishment!

Cullen Wins Divisional Title! Girls Finish 2nd to Lincoln-Sudbury.

Cullen, Armstrong and Donovan at the front.
When all was said and done, everyone appeared to be thinking the same thing... what if?  What if we hadn't gotten sick?  What if we hadn't gotten injured?  What if someone had made a move just the little bit sooner?  But really there is no point in thinking "what if" because at the end of the day everyone gave it their all.  After a long and lustrous season, the girls' cross country team stood on the second step of the podium with medals round their necks and heads held high confirming the highest ever team finish at the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 Championships in program history!

As the gun sounded and the field sprinted across the starting area at the Wrentham Developmental Center, the division 2 race which was billed as a dual meet between Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury was shaping up as just that.  The fearless freshmen triumvirate of Margie Cullen, Sarah Armstrong and Julianna Donovan ran straight to the front with Caroline Turner in tow and began to dictate the pace as they've done on numerous occasions this fall.  However, Lincoln-Sudbury was quick to counter as sophomore Sydney Clary ran toe-to-toe with Cullen and teammates Morgane Butler, Katie LaScaleia and Sam Cook filled in the ranks.
Cullen runs clear for the win with dad John celebrating behind.

As the field passed the one mile mark, Cullen and Armstrong continued to work together pushing the pace, each one looking the likely winner as  Donovan dropped back just slightly but stayed within striking distance.  As the leaders entered the second mile, Cullen, Clary and Sami Carey of Mansfield opened a gap on their competitors and teammates.  Meanwhile, Turner fought mightily to hold position while teammate Hallie Armstrong who had started more conservatively was closing hard and gaining places rapidly.  As Cullen neared the third mile, she had successfully dropped all of her competition and cruised in to the finish line for the win in 18:53.4 one place and six seconds ahead of Clary.  Donovan who had made a late race surge, managed a magnificent 5th place showing in 19:12.6.  Sarah Armstrong, tiring from her early efforts, held on to 8th place (19:23.8), while Turner finished 18th (19:55.7) and Hallie Armstrong kicked hard to finish 23rd (20:06.5).  Teammates Katie Horton and Rachel Blaustein finished 61st and 78th respectively.
Turner rounds the bend for home.
In the end, the L-S Warriors were just too strong as they defeated the Rockets 51-55.  Chelmsford finished a distant third with 105 points.  The second place showing qualified Needham for the All-State Championships to be held at Northfield Mountain and affords them a shot at a state title.

The boys were in a bit of a different scenario.  With no one team standing out as favorites above anyone else, the division appeared wide open.  As the race started a group of athletes formed at the front including Needham's Adrian Amaya, Tommy Kelley and Tyler Hagen along with several runners from defending champion Lincoln-Sudbury, Chelmsford, Billerica and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.  No one wanted to take the lead and consequently the mile was passed at a pedestrian pace.

Amaya strings out the field with Stubbs and Cooney in tow.
As the leaders passed the two mile mark, Amaya began to stretch out the field with freshman sensation Sam Stubbs of Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Quinn Cooney of Chelmsford in hot pursuit.  Hagen and Kelley seemed to struggle mightily as they navigated the undulating Wrentham course and gradually lost contact with the top group.  Meanwhile, Alex Elman who had gone out more conservatively made a valiant effort to move through the field and tow teammates Zak Heier, John Benner and Ben Baron along with him.

As the leaders rounded the final hairpin, it was Stubbs who made the definitive move to the front outkicking Amaya for the win and becoming the first freshman in Massachusetts state history to break the 16:00 barrier by the slimmest of margins.  Amaya held on for second place in a PR of 16:03.3.  Hagen finished 12th (16:37.8), Kelley 41st (17:18.0), Heier 58th (17:35.1), Benner 59th (17:35.4), Baron 62nd (17:39.2) and Elman 68th (17:49.5). 

When all runners were in and the score had been calculated, it was Chelmsford who came out victorious scoring 53 points well ahead of runner-up Cambridge Rindge and Latin (87), Lincoln-Sudbury (104) and Mansfield (130).  Needham had to settle for 6th place with 167, still their highest divisional finish since 2007.  Individually, Amaya and Hagen qualified for the state meet and will represent Needham at Northfield Mountain.

Full results can be found at:

Photos courtesy of Ken Horton and Jocko Rooney.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MIAA Divisional Championships This Weekend

Saturday November 10th members of the boys' and girls' cross country teams will travel to the Wrentham Developmental Center to compete in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 Championships.  Historically this meet has been held at Franklin Park in Boston but the city closed the park to all activities this fall for a much needed renovation and so the MIAA and MSTCA has chosen to embrace the Developmental Center as their new home for the first installment of postseason competition.  It is at this divisional meet that teams and individuals may qualify for the All-State Championship held later this month at Northfield Mountain.  Both boys' and girls' teams hope to place in the top four in their division to secure a spot at All-States.

For the boys, the division appears to be fairly wide open with Mansfield, Chelmsford, Lincoln-Sudbury, Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Billerica all vying for one of the coveted top spots.  Mansfield a perennial powerhouse had appeared to be in a down year but is recently coming off a decisive win at the Hockomock League Championships just one week ago.  The Hornets finished 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 17th to score just 42 points to runner-up Oliver Ames' 79 with a five man average time of 16:47 and a spread of just 42 seconds.  Chelmsford could also be in the running for the title coming off a strong second place finish at the Merrimack League Championships behind MA #1 ranked Lowell.  The last time the Rockets qualified for the All-State Championships was 1984 and this year they stand a very legitimate chance of making it back to the big dance.  Coming off a great regular season, the Rockets' most notable big meet performance came on October 13th at the Bob McIntyre Twilight meet where they finished 3rd, averaging 16:44 for their top five and defeated Cambridge Rindge and Latin by a mere two points.  The division 2 race should be a shoot-out.

On the distaff side, there are really only two teams on paper that stand a chance at a title.  Year in and year out the Lincoln-Sudbury girls have proven they have what it takes to win.  After loosing a close race with Masconomet last year, the Warriors are out for redemption.  This year's squad has been relatively quiet on the invitational front save for a win in the varsity "F" race at the prestigious Reebok Manhattan Invitational at storied Van Cortland Park in the Bronx.  But where Lincoln-Sudbury appears to be the favorite going into Divisionals, the Needham Rockets look to be the only team within striking distance.  Each team has its own strengths with the battle for divisional supremacy shaping up to be a doozy.  Other teams on the bubble to qualify for All-States are Chelmsford, Franklin and Masconomet.

Race Schedule:

9:00 a.m. Girls' D6
9:25 a.m. Girls' D5
9:50 a.m. Girls' D4
10:20 a.m. Boys' D6
10:45 a.m. Boys' D5
11:10 a.m. Boys' D4
12:30 p.m. Girls' D3
12:55 p.m. Girls' D2
1:20 p.m. Girls' D1
1:50 p.m. Boys' D3
2:15 p.m. Boys' D2
2:40 p.m. Boys' D1