April 17, 2021

Old Lyme Boys Win Shoreline South Indoor Track Championship, Girls Take Second

Sophomore Jacob Rand tied for second place in the high jump in Saturday’s Indoor Track Shoreline Championship. All photos by David Walker.

OLD LYME — Competing in what was effectively their Shoreline Championship this past Saturday, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Indoor Track teams achieved commendable results with the boys’ team coming in first and the girls taking second.

Due to COVID precautions, the meet had a very different look from usual. To reduce the number of competitors at any time, the traditional All-Shoreline meet was divided into two separate events with one being held for Northern Shoreline schools and the other featuring Southern Shoreline schools.
Old Lyme hosted the Southern meet in which six teams participated, namely Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Valley, Hale Ray, and Morgan.

Senior Aidan Powers, who was one of the boys’ captains, gets the team pumped up in a pre-meet huddle. Powers also placed first place in the 600 meters and was part of the winning 4×200 relay.

There were three different meet slots to further reduce the number of people on the track so from 9 to 11 a.m., Westbrook competed against Valley; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Old Lyme and Morgan faced off; and from 1 to 3 p.m., Old Saybrook and Hale Ray took their turn.
At the end of the day, the results were compiled and winners announced.
Old Lyme had 13 first-place finishers, which also garnered each winning student the accolade of “First Team All-Shoreline.”

Senior Paige Kolesnik won the shotput and was also part of the winning sprint medley relay team.

The first-place winners were:
  • the girls’ sprint medley relay team of Bianca DaSilva, Paige Kolesnik, Alyssa Spooner, and Kelly Walsh
  • the girls’ 4 x 400 relay team of Alyssa Spooner, Gretchen Burgess, Hannah Britt, and Lyla Powers
  • the boys’ 4 x 200 relay team of Ashton Gratton, Nevin Joshy, Jesper Silberberg, and Aidan Powers
  • Paige Kolesnik in the girls’ shotput
  • Jesper Silberberg in the 55-meter dash
  • Aidan Powers in the 600 meters
  • Drew St. Louis in the pole vault and long jump
  • Harry Whitten in the shotput.
A number of other runners, jumpers and throwers also achieved significant success.
Asked his thoughts on both the results and the season in general, first-year coach Nick Walker (LOLHS Class of 2012) commented, “I couldn’t be prouder of our athletes. They have dealt with so much adversity this year: having normal high school landmarks canceled, being unable to hang out with friends, having to keep distance from one another, quarantining and missing weeks of school and sports at a moment’s notice … the list goes on.”

The boys’ and girls’ teams gather for a photo to celebrate their respective results.

He noted that although the season technically should have started in late November, “That was when we were going through that massive COVID-19 spike and so all winter sports were postponed.” Walker added, “It seemed unlikely at that point that we’d ever be able to have a season, but we were able to finally start in late January while taking lots of precautions.”
Noting that even when training started in January, the idea that the team would ever have any competitive meets seemed unlikely, Walker said, “These kids have had to be so patient, so willing to face whatever happens with equanimity.”
He continued, “Yet from the start of the season I was blown away by their work ethic and good cheer during a season that could have also been seen as a let-down and full of limitations. They were out there practicing on windy days in the mid-20s, bundled up as they were running track repeats and freezing their hands off throwing the shotput.”
“To come from such a situation to now having competitive competitions and placing so well at our final meet,” Walker said, noting, “I feel very glad for them. I think it goes to show the strength of their commitment to the team and sport, and also the lightness and playfulness of their spirit that they could enjoy what this season had to offer while pushing themselves to improve and learn more.”
Walker explained that many athletes tried out new events for the first time, such as the long jump, hurdles, pole vault, and high jump, and ultimately ended up placing in the tournament and contributing key points for the team.

Senior and a girls’ team captain Bianca DaSilva runs the 200-meter leg of the winning sprint medley relay team.

He also shared that he felt senior class also played, “A huge role in our successful season: first off by contributing so much hard work and athleticism in their events, but even more so by the positive and welcoming and fun atmosphere they helped foster on the team. They will certainly be very missed come next year.”
Pointing out that he looked forward to welcoming most of them back to Outdoor Track this spring, he noted, “We will lose some very strong runners and throwers to other spring sports.”
Walker concluded positively, “Overall, it’s been a real joy to coach these athletes alongside my co-coaches Alyssa Mercaldi and Garreck Seales. We’ve been continually impressed by this group of kids and are so glad for them that they have this fantastic performance to celebrate.”

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