Outdoor Track Teams Look to Continue Winning Streak

Juliette Nichols, Sports Reporter

A few members of the girls track team pose after taking first place in the BL Championships last spring. (NHS Track Instagram)

WOODBURY — As the temperature gets warmer and the days start to get longer, Nonnewaug’s track and field athletes have one thing in mind: It’s almost track season. 

Both the Nonnewaug girls and boys teams had memorable seasons last year; the girls went undefeated in the regular season and pulled off an unimaginable upset in the Berkshire League championship with a mere 12 runners. 

The 2022 boys team also had an impressive season. The group took second in the BL for the regular season, losing once, only to Northwestern in a close matchup. 

While the returning teams are looking strong, Nonnewaug lost a lot of key athletes from last season that added depth to the roster. 

On the girls team, Nonnewaug graduated Paige Brandt, a pole vaulter, and Sami Faull, a high jump state champion and 300 hurdles State Open qualifier, along with multiple throwers and long-distance runners which created a dominant, well-rounded team. 

On the boys side, the team graduated six seniors, all of whom were talented. Among them was salutatorian Christo Jamo, who succeeded in the jumping and sprinting events, and strong relay runners like Brandon Ciarlo. In the field, Charles Rickenbach added points to the throwing events. In totality, this group of seniors will be difficult to replace. 

Nonnewaug wasn’t the only team who graduated some key athletes, either. NHS boys coach Deb Flaherty has already started to scout other league teams and their current rosters. 

“I think our biggest competitor is Thomaston,” said Flaherty. “They are a strong running team, have a strong base of seniors, and won the [BL] cross country championships.”

Thomaston isn’t Nonnewaug’s boys only major competitor, though. 

“Northwest definitely has numbers, but lost a lot of seniors,” Flaherty adds, “so they have some holes to fill, as do we.”

Girls track coach of 28 years, and 2020 finalist for the National Coach of the Year, Arleigh Duff is hopeful for another great season. 

“So far, we have over 20 girls signed up,” said Duff. “[There is] a good amount of returners, but we have new kids, too. I’m excited to see what they have to offer, especially the 8-10 freshmen we have signed up.”

Duff is confident in the returners to score well. He foresees a strong season on the track, and although in the field there are still questions to be answered, he is hoping to qualify more girls than last year for the BL championship and take home first place for the second year in a row. 

Flaherty is also looking forward to another strong season. There is no shortage of talent coming in with lots of new seniors in the throws. She believes the middle- and long-distance runners will have many opportunities for success this season.