Head coach Mike Driscoll has several newcomers on his hands this winter.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High boys’ indoor track team looks much improved from last winter.
Why? Well look at the club’s first meet of the season against Hingham. After falling to the Harbormen, 63.5 to 36.5, last December, the Panthers, who finished last season with a 2-3 record, hung tough this time around as they were just edged out, 57-43. Sixth-year head coach Mike Driscoll credits the performances of a few of his seniors — Brian Edwards, Brett Holmes, Andrew Newman and Jack Ryan — as a big reason why they were able to hang around.
“All had outstanding meets,” Driscoll said. “The last couple of years Hingham has really destroyed us, and this year we took them down to the wire. I think we surprised them a little bit. We didn’t win, but we at least proved we’re capable of winning track meets this year.”
On the ground, Ryan, who is one of two Panthers captains, raced to a first-place finish in the 600-meter dash with a time of 1:30.45, and was a member of the 4×400 relay team that also took home first. Newman completed the 2-mile run in 10:35.44, which was nearly 30 seconds better than opponent, for the win.
Edwards, who is also a captain, spearheaded the Panthers’ high jump with a 5-foot-7 leap, which earned him the top spot. Holmes, a senior and first-time indoor track participant, took his talents to the long jump and he shined with a first-place finish courtesy of a 20-foot-10 ½ jump. Both were on the 4×200 relay team as well.
“I would say right now our strength will be our jumps,” Driscoll said. “Brian Edwards is one of the better high jumpers and Brett Holmes came out for indoor season [and] he’s one of the top long jumpers in the state, so those areas will be huge for us.”
Holmes is one of several newcomers Driscoll said he will be relying on to shore up one of club’s weak spots — sprinting.
“We needed to improve in the sprint area,” Driscoll said. “That was a big thing for us last year, we needed to get some more sprinters and depth. We got Brett Homes to come out for winter track for the first time, Billy Martell and Jacob Nixon, three sprinters who we didn’t have last year on the winter team and they’ve been a huge addition to our team.”
The Panthers will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center against Pembroke.
“We want to have a winning season, we think it’s obtainable, it’s going to be tough, but we want to have a winning season and we want to have success every meet, so we measure it on how we improve,” Driscoll said. “Everybody’s different in track, it has an individual aspect to it, but it’s also a team thing, so the individuals are looking to improve to help the team to get a victory.”