Sunday, December 16, 2012

Needham Boys Start Strong, Qualify One

The Needham Rockets opened up the 2012-2013 indoor track season with a junior varsity meet at Milton on Wednesday and a varsity meet at the Reggie Lewis Center on Thursday.

The JV meet at Milton was highlighted by performances from Lucas Jacobs (So) in the 300m dash,Giulian Trabucco (Jr) and Greg Liacopoulos (Sr) in the shot put, and from the 4x160yd relay team. Jacobs turned in a personal best time of 43.4 to finish with the top time of the day in the event. Similarly, Trabucco and Liacopoulos took the top two spots with throws of 35' 4" and 31' 8" respectively. The relay, run by James Cataldo (Jr), Niall Butchart (Fr), Ben Mesnik (Fr) and Jacobs, brought home a strong performance at the end of the evening.

Thursdays varsity meet saw the Needham Rockets picking up a win against the Braintree Wampatucks. The boys got off to a strong start with the Rockets sweeping the mile, lead by Adrian Amaya (Jr) and followed closely by Tommy Kelley (Jr) and John Benner (Fr). Amaya qualified for the Division II Championship with his time of 4:42.40. In a controlled effort, Needham took first and second in the next event, the 1000m run. Dan Alpert (Jr) out kicked teammate and captain, Tyler Hagen (Sr) for an additional 8 points towards the Rockets' cause. The 600m run saw captain Ned Connolly (Sr) come back strong for a second place finish and a personal best time of 1:29.72. Derek Howes (So) chipped in a third place as well.

With the injury to captain Kevin Walsh (Sr), Jack Strollo (So) has taken the opportunity to step up for the team. The 300m dash had Strollo finishing first followed by a third place finish from Aaron Maslow (So). In the straightaway events, Harry Hall (Jr) brought home 5 points for his first place finish in the 55HH, and the Rockets added another 4 from second and third place efforts from Colin Riley (Jr) and Alex O'Donnell (Sr) in the 55m dash. Both PR'd by nearly a third of a second, finishing at 7.15 and 7.17. In the 2-mile, the trio of Zak Heier (Sr), Liam Walsh (So), and Drew Khalaj (Fr) took the three scoring spots in a metronomic effort.

The field events were highlighted by yet another sweep of an event, this time in the shot put. Connolly turned in a PR for first place, followed by a PR by Ian Stewart (Sr) and then a third place from Trabucco pulling double duty on the two days. Needham also received a pair of third place finishes from Hall in the long jump and from Sid Yadav (Jr) in the high jump. With the meet already in hand, the Rockets closed the night with a win in the 4x400 relay, run by Strollo, Alpert, Howes and Hall.

The final score Thursday night was tallied at 61-34. Needham continues this week with the JV meet at Newton North on Wednesday and the varsity meet at the Reggie Lewis Center. The varsity team will take on the Weymouth Wildcats in what will no doubt be a close meet.

For full results from the Milton and Braintree meets, please visit

Lady Rockets Fly Past Braintree in Season Opener

Thursday evening December 13th, the Rockets opened up their season against the Braintree Wampatucks at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury and did not disappoint.  The girls' team outscored and outdid their opponents in nearly every event to win the meet scoring 64.67 points to Braintree's 30.33.  From the first shot of the starter's pistol, Needham gained control by sweeping the one mile and 1,000 meter runs won by sophomore Kaleigh Hughes (5:46.66) and senior captain Hallie Armstrong (3:22.22).  Finishing strong behind the victors, were Sarah Armstrong and Sammy Lerner as well as Rachel Blaustein and Julianna Donovan.

Meanwhile in classic three ring circus style, the high jump and shot put were being contested in different areas of the arena.  In the high jump, an event that Needham has struggled with in recent years, sophomore Lydia Phung soared to new heights clearing 4' 7" and placing second in the event while captains Christina Smith and Hallie Armstrong placed in a three-way tie with Braintree's Alex Pearse for third giving each athlete .33 points toward their team's total.  The shot put turned out to be another difficult event for the Rockets without their top returner Tasha Desir on the injured list.  The Wamps threw well up front to take first and second but sophomore Shaleah Guild stepped up in her first competition in nearly a year to snag third place with a throw of 28' 11".

Back on the oval, the Rockets looked to be in control again scoring four points in the 600 off the second and third place finishes of junior Kira Oberle and sophomore Isabel Cole.  The 300 turned out even better for Needham with senior captain Robin Kelly winning in a personal best time of 43.62 seconds.  When the gun went off to start the 2 mile, the Rockets were nearly guaranteed another sweep with senior captain Caroline Turner leading the way and getting the win in 12:22.01 with teammates Erica Koljonen and Daria Fortin finishing in second and third respectively.

In the 55 meter hurdles, Smith was no match for her competition winning by a huge margin in 9.87 seconds.  Sophomore Grace Li stepped up to garner third place.  In the 55 meter dash, junior Blessing Ojini got out of the blocks well to snag the win and five more points for the Rockets running 7.87 seconds.  In the final field event of the night, Smith and Kelly combined for a solid one, two punch leaping 14' 10.75" and 14' 2" in the long jump.

Entering the 4 x 400, the Rockets had already outscored the Wamps and the relay was little more than a formality.  The team consisting of Lerner, Hughes, Blaustein and Hallie Armstrong picked up their final victory on the night finishing in 4:28.24.

Full results can be found at:

Next up for Needham is a dual meet with Weymouth Thursday December 20th at Reggie Lewis.  The meet is scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm.