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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Almost 700 people showed up to Needham’s DeFazio Park for the 2019 Bay State Conference Invite on Wednesday morning, and while it is still early in the track season, the coaches from Needham, Wellesley and Walpole High School all hoped their athletes would show something in their respective events.
Walpole coach Zach Ganshirt explained that while the meet was more about having fun on a beautiful spring day than a hyper-competitive league meet, there were plenty of Walpole athletes he was hoping would have a big day.
“We have a good DMR entered right now," he said. "This is the Bay State league relay race, so it’s just like all the teams in the Bay State come here and enter relays, so there’s the SMR the DMR. It’s more just for fun. Just to get some guys out here and have a good time. Steve Colleran, his first meet was last week, and he ran … a 51.5 in the 400. That’s really solid; there’s quite a few guys who are promising, but it’s early in the season.”
Colleran would go on to finish third in the 400 with a personal record of 51.28, while Walpole’s 1600 SMR team would go on to win, while their DMR team struggled and came in seventh place.
Wellesley coach Larry Corda had lofty ambitions for a bunch of his guys, as well as for the team in general. “I've got Max Stakun-Pickering - he’s going to be high jumping and doing the triple jump," explained Corda. "He just broke the Wellesley school record for the jump, so I’m expecting quite a bit out of him today. I have six javelin throwers, but I've got Eric Wadja, who’s my best javelin thrower. It’s such a nice day - no wind - I’m expecting him to do well over there today. And Ryan Reid and Colby Stakun-Pickering run the 100 and they did very well. We’d like to go back to DI and win that if we could - that’s kind of our team goal.”
Corda’s ambitions proved warranted when Stakun-Pickering won the high jump, as well as the triple jump. Ryan Reed, meanwhile, won the 100, while Wadja came in second in the javelin throw and Stakun-Pickering was fifth in the 100.
When asked what athlete’s performance had stuck out for his team, Needham coach Joe Karasch applauded the effort of one of his runners, but couldn’t help but think of what could have been if he hadn’t made a mental error on the track.
“So far, Tommy Jordan in the 400 there, winning," said Karasch. "He was a little angry, being our home track, he knows where the finish line is, but we have two finish lines for the 100. He stopped at the first one, stopped early, ended up PRing still, but came in second… so I think he went out with a little fire in the 400 and ended up winning.”
“He was leading the race and the leader went 11," said Karasch of Jordan's potential time, had he crossed the proper finish line. "15, he ran 11.29, so the hope there is that he’s in the 11.0’s or 10.9s, which would be great - but both would be even more of a significant PR.”
Another impressive Needham runner was mile winner Benjamin Keegan, who took the lead early and never had a runner near him until he crossed the finish line. He would win the race with a time of 4.32.30 - a full four seconds over the second-place finisher.
It’s very early in the spring track season, but it’s clear that the Needham, Walpole and Wellesley High School teams have plenty of talent at their disposal.