After a rocky start, the Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ indoor track team regained its footing to finish the season strong.
Through their first three meets, the Panthers sat at 0-3 with losses to Hingham (87-17), Duxbury (54-46) and Plymouth North (67-33).
“The Patriot League is an extremely competitive league with some enormously talented athletes,” W-H head coach Steve George said. “We faced the very best teams during those first [three] weeks. While we kept it close with most, we had some key athletes go down with injuries.”
Reinforcements would be on their way, however, and in the Panthers’ fourth meet of the season Jan. 24, they scored a nail-biting 51-49 victory over Silver Lake.
Trailing by three with one event to go – the 4×400 relay – the Panthers’ crew stepped to the line. Coincidentally, W-H was missing three of its four runners who had competed on the team all season long, leaving junior Dorothy DiMascio-Donohue as the only one who had previously done the event. So, the Panthers went with a next man up approach, inserting senior Julia Cosgrave and sophomores Victoria Boss and Courtney Woodward into the lineup.
The tandem finished the course in 4:39.56, besting Silver Lake by nearly 13 ticks to lift the Panthers to victory.
The girls then carried that momentum into the final meet of the season, two weeks later, tying Pembroke, 49-49, to cap off the winter at 1-3-1. The Panthers were led by first-place finishes from DiMascio-Donohue (55-meter hurdles, 10.17), junior Allison Bartlett (long jump, 15-foot-2), junior Maeve McDonough (2-mile run, 13:16.77), freshman Isabelle Amado (600-meter dash, 1:52.16) and senior captain Nicole Norve (1-mile run, 5:26.63).
It was one of many top-place finishes for the Adams State-bound Norve, who was tabbed as the team’s lone Patriot League All-Star. Norve also represented the Panthers in the Division 3 All-State meet, where she placed 10th in the 1,000-meter run (3:09.28) and 12th in the 1-mile run (5:26.81).
“Nicole has literally led by example during her four years at Whitman-Hanson,” George said. “I recall as a freshman cross country runner we saw that she was talented and invited her to run at the Martha’s Vineyard Invitational. She initially declined, I think feeling a bit uneasy as the only freshman entry. But she ended up running that meet and since then has worked tirelessly to improve. It’s as simple as – she loves running.”
Norve was one of a few runners who impressed George this season.
“I would have to say seniors Julia Cosgrave and Camryn Boyce were as consistent as it gets,” George explained. “Each could be counted on to participate and score in multiple events each week. Maeve McDonough has really worked hard to become a very good distance runner.”
George added he was pleasantly surprised with a handful of freshmen who burst onto the scene this season as well.
“Isabelle Amado, Hailey Minicucci, Alaina Mutascio and Emma Rogers all showed some real ability in multiple events and should make an impact over the next three years,” George said.
Next up for many the girls is the spring campaign.
“Many of our kids run all year long and our between-season goal is just to get them rested so they can be healthy going into the outdoor season,” George said.