The girls’ team had a combined 35 freshmen and sohpomores.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ outdoor track team received some high praise this season. It wasn’t just from its own coaching staff, either.
“The Hingham coach said nobody will enjoy facing us over the next few years,” recalled fifth-year W-H head coach Steve George.
That feeling could be because of several factors. After a 2018 season that saw just 35 girls competing, the number of freshmen and sophomores alone matched that number this spring. That’s a good place to start.
“I expected improvement over last year from Day 1, when more than 60 girls attended our first practice,” George said.
A lot of them were big contributors also, such as freshmen Olivia Borgen and Myah Kamperides.
Borgen, who is also known for her prowess on the soccer field, was unbeaten in both the 200- and 400-meter dash during the Patriot League season, while only losing once in the 100-meter dash. She already holds the school record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.44, which she raced to May 7, and was the team’s second leading scorer.
“[She] is an incredibly talented sprinter,” George said.
Kamperides was third on the team in scoring with solid showings in the 2-mile run and discus.
“The sky is the limit for Myah, who is already comfortable running the practice paces of her male counterparts,” George said.
Juniors Ryley Hurley and Samantha Perkins were also big contributors who will be back next season.
In her first year doing outdoor track, Hurley was the team’s fourth leading scorer. She qualified for states in both the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles, is a 4-foot-6 high jumper and among W-H top 100- and 200-meter sprinters.
“Despite being a newcomer to our sport, she is already a valued, and contributing, member of our team,” George said.
Perkins, a captain, was the Patriot League’s top javelin thrower thanks to a 111-foot-1-inch heave May 7.
“[She is also] one of our top sprinters and hurdlers as well,” George said.
Senior captain Ally Bartlett put forth another season to remember, participating and scoring in the maximum of four events ever dual meet. She was the team’s top points getter and one of eight seniors who left a lasting impact.
“All were on the team for several years and will be missed by their teammates and by me, certainly,” George said. “The group is pretty diverse in terms of talent, but they are all quality kids with bright futures ahead of them.”
The Panthers finished the spring with wins over Plymouth North (69-67), Scituate (91-45) and Duxbury (72-64), while losing to Hingham (85.8) and then Silver Lake (73-63), due to the unavoidable absences of several athletes for a school commitment.
“I was asked recently about the importance of winning, and frankly, my response drew some surprise when I replied that winning was unimportant,” George said. “But in our sport, the focus, as well as each athlete’s goal, is to improve each time out. We try to motivate our kids to establish a personal record every time out. While it may seem unrealistic, we had several meets where PRs totaled in the 60s. Each one is a win for me. Team wins will ultimately follow if every athlete does his/her part to improve.”
George said he believes the season was a success.
“I’ve been fairly consistent during my time here stating that the strength of any track and field team lies in the number of participants, and those among that number willing to put in the effort every day to improve,” he explained. “This year, our overall numbers rose and among our newcomers there were quite a few who were willing to accept the challenge of giving it 100 percent for the nearly three months we spent together.
“But, in my opinion, it is the rest of the coaching staff (Stephen Schlicting, Rob Bunszell, Samantha Richner, Jen Scarpelli, Kim Coletti, Denise Taylor and Julia Cosgrave), which justly, in addition to the kids, deserves credit. “[They’re] all former athletes, are working hard to return W-H to the position it once held in the sport.”