Needham perfectly executes a baton pass. Photos by James Kinneen
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Needham and Natick faced off in a track meet on Wednesday, but the Rockets were looking to use the event to give some of their younger talent an opportunity to shine, more so than to dominate the event.
“We’re going cross conference and we just decided ahead of time that we wanted to focus on next weekend and the postseason and stuff like that,” explained coach Chris Van Cott.But although the team wasn’t looking to bring out their biggest guns, there were still plenty of performances that warranted noting. The shot put stood out for Van Cott, who noted that Amelia Vettraino stepped up on the day.
“We had a great throw from one of our better shot-putters, Amelia Vettraino,” explained Van Cott. “She’s been throwing in the 24 and 25’s and she threw in the 26’s today.”
Officially, Vettraino threw 26 feet seven inches, which made her the best Rocket thrower on the day. Van Cott also pointed out that this throw came at a time when Haley Kent, one of the Rockets’ most consistent performers on the year, was out with an illness.
The most unique shot-putter, meanwhile, was undoubtedly the girl who threw with a homemade tie-dye shirt that read “exist to be happy” in Sharpie on the front.
Other Rocket highlights of the meet included Stephanie Mittaz’s 64.4 in the 400 meters, Erin Sullivan’s 5.38.6 mile, and Vettraino’s performance in the javelin, which saw her throw 65 feet 2 inches.
Reflecting on the year as a whole, Van Cott spoke of how a tough loss to Walpole hurt the team at the end of the season, but mentioned that there is still a lot of work left for them to do.
“We finished up 3-1. We had a real close meet on April 10th at Walpole where it came down to the relay and it ended up being 70-66 as a final, so that was a little bit tough, but it was a good season. We’re looking forward to our conference championship next weekend, that’s where the full conference gets to compete against each other. It’s always a good meet; it’s always competitive. And beyond Wednesday, we’ve got a couple of invites. We have the divisional meet coming up Memorial weekend.”
While the meet at Natick was a great chance to look at some of his younger talent, Van Cott noted that this year, his senior sprinters were the athletes he most depended upon.
“I’ve really been leaning a lot on my junior and senior sprinters this year. I’ve gotten a lot of great performances out of one of my captains Claudia Sesso, as well as Harper Meek and Trintje Nydam. But, I’ve had some excellent stuff, too, out of a couple of my distance kids - captain Ana Keene, and some good young distance kids, as well, notably Kayleigh Milligan. So, it’s been a nice balance of some older veteran talent and some younger, new blood coming in.
“Hopefully it continues to progress for this year and to come.”