It was quite impressive several autumns ago when the Pinkerton Academy boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams both won state championships in the same year, and then followed up by doing it again the next year.
Well, Pinkerton’s boys’ and girls’ indoor track teams both made some history this past Sunday, Feb. 4, when both of them won Division I championships in Dartmouth College’s Leverone Field House in Hanover.
The two academy teams both bagged decisive victories, with coach Ian French’s Astro males climbing back to the top of D-I after winning five straight crowns between 2012 and 2016 but losing to Nashua North last winter. Coach Mike Karthas’ Lady Astros collected the very first girls’ indoor title in Pinkerton history, ending the five-year championship run of Bedford in the process.
The Astro males continued to be a dynastic presence in D-I by bagging their sixth title in the last seven years.
The PA boys collected some 90.33 points, easily surpassing the 68.33 points notched by the runner-up contingent from North. Bedford was a close third with 66.
Pinkerton collected four first places for 40 of their points, with speedy standout Jadyn Ruimwijk winning both the 55-meter dash (6.78 seconds) and the 300-meter dash (35.51). The other wins were snared by Kaleal Cerafici in the shot put (46 feet, 7 1/2 inches) and the Astros’ 4×200 relay team (1 minute, 35.21 seconds).
Other top-three finishes came from Pat Hanlon with a second in the 600-meter run and Adam Spencer with a second in the 55-meter hurdles, and other top fives were delivered by Joe Gagnon in the 3,000-meter run (fourth) and the 1,500 (fifth), Ethan Desmaris in the 1,000 (fifth), Spencer in the high jump (fourth), Avery Battle (fourth) and John Brooks (fifth) in the long jump, John King in the shot (fourth), and the academy’s 4×800 quartet (fourth).
“With two events left, we had a lead but we hoped the 4×400 relay could close the door,” said coach French. “A win over North was all it would take and the team didn’t let us down, winning the event. It came down to an absolute battle between us and Exeter, and Noah Woodman fought until the last step, falling across the line to win the event by .07 seconds. Excellent runs from Adam Spencer and Pat Hanlon gave Woodman a chance, and Jadyn Ruimwijk got his third gold medal of the day in the event.”
The very first Pinkerton girls’ indoor crown was won handily by the 2017-18 Lady Astros, who scored 86 points to easily defeat the runner-up crew from Exeter (59) and everybody else.
Huge, first place finishes which each bagged the PA squad 10 points were delivered by the Lady Astros’ 4×400 (4:13.50) and 4×800 (9:55.54) quartets, and important seconds were snagged by Amelia Graves in the 300, Britney Johnson in the 1,000, and Emily Lesburt in the high jump.
Thirds were snared by Macy Graves in the 600, Johnson in the 1,500, and Meghan Cross in the 3,000, and fourth places came from Amelia Graves in the 55 dash, Ciara April in the 1,000, Cross in the 1,500, and Adrianna Buccieri in the shot.
Molly McGaffigan was good for a fifth in the 3,000, teammate Maison D’Amelio was right behind her in sixth, and Nicole Alves also contributed a sixth in the 55 dash.
“The win was a complete team effort, with points scored in 11 out of 13 events,” said coach Karthas. “Standout performers included Britney Johnson and the Graves sister duo of Amelia and Macy. Britney capped off her final indoor track championship by completing the difficult task of running in four distance events and scoring in all of them. She was a member of the winning 4×800 and 4×400 relay teams, and she placed second in the 1,000 and third in the 1,500 races individually. Amelia also scored in four events as a member of the winning 4×400 team and the fourth-place 4×200 team.”
Johnson’s teammates on the victorious 4×800 team included Jordan Vaillancourt, Annie Sullivan, and Ciara April, and the Graves girls worked with Johnson and Vaillancourt on the title-winning 4×400 crew.