NORTH EASTHAM – The records have been falling like dominoes with each event the Nauset girls indoor track team competes in, but recently the Warriors accomplished a goal that will belong to the 2019-2020 team always: they won the Cape and Islands League title for the first time in program history.
“It's exciting,” said head coach Moira Nobili. “It's the whole team and the whole season that builds up to that. This is kind of like icing on the cake.”
Nauset's indoor track program got its start somewhere around 2011 when Matt Clark, a former NCAA All-American and an Atlantic Coast Conference champion, was tapped to coach outdoor track and saw a need for an indoor program, as well.
Back then, the numbers between the girls and boys teams were beyond small, with the girls team boasting somewhere around 10 competitors, tops. But through the years, largely thanks to the dedication of full-time and volunteer coaches, the program grew. According to Coach Nobili, last year's program had somewhere around 90 kids.
“It was big and we don't always have a place to work out, but you make do and you make it fun,” she said.
The head coach acknowledges the hard work put in by her assistant coaches, two of whom are volunteers. There's hurdle coach Tom Brenneman, Marc Arce, a former college and high school coach, Ed Wilcox, Laura Freeman, and Rob Shedlosky, who was a shot put athlete in Florida.
“We wouldn't be where we are if we didn't have them,” said Coach Nobili.
The Warriors season began on Dec. 17 with a meet against D-Y at Wheaton College, one of two competition sites for the team since there isn't one at the school or anywhere on the Cape. That first win, a 69-31 triumph, lit a spark among teammates, according to captains Abby Farrell and Izzy Nobili.
“The first meet was a good demonstration of the talent we had this year,” said Farrell, a top competitor in the two-mile run. “Everyone got to run their events for the first time and it showed us that we had a lot of talent. We kind of entered the season strong.”
From there, the wins kept piling up. A 75-25 win against Martha's Vineyard. A 71-29 victory against Barnstable. A 78-21 win against Falmouth. And most recently, a 77-20 win against Sandwich.
With the wins came records upon records. In December, Krystyna Constantine set a new school record in the 55 hurdles with a time of 9.18. At the beginning of the month, Sophie Christopher broke that record in the team's Martha's Vineyard meet, posting a time of 9.14, and Nobili broke her own school record in the 1000M run with a time of 3:04.5 before winning first place in the 800 at the MSTCA Northeast Invite days later.
Most recently, the relay team of Nobili, Rebekah Pranga, Abby Qvarnstrom, and Monique Malcolm set a school record in the 4x400 relay at the MSTCA Coaches Invitational on Jan. 25, while Constantine beat her own school record in the 55 meter hurdles, and Nobili broke her school record in the 1000 with a time of 3:02.11.
It was performances like these that led to the Warriors domination of the Cape and Islands League, and the eventual unveiling of the track team's first banner.
“I was really excited because all the work that we do was finally rewarded,” said Coach Nobili. “We have a very good team. When you see success you want to be part of that.”
Izzy Nobili said a key aspect of the team's stellar season was their bond.
“We really have a good group of kids that care, the sportsmanship is really good. That's one of the things we value,” Nobili said. “I think that shows that it's easier to respect a team when they have good sportsmanship and good values, rather than just trying to win all the time. At our heart is just a caring group of kids.”
Her mom agrees.
“They're just all really good kids,” said Coach Nobili. “They'll listen to their coaches. They respect us and we respect them, and that, I think, is a key to respectful coaching.”
That, and some firm rules for everyone on the team, which include no swearing, school first, and always be sportsmanlike.
“What you do at home is your own business, but here you represent Nauset and the coaches and have to be sportsmanlike,” said the head coach. “You don't swear, you congratulate everyone, and you thank the referees. Everyone's accountable. Even the coaches.”
Coach Nobili said what she appreciates about her 2019-2020 team is their support for one another.
“We have some very gifted athletes, and at the same time we have kids that have never done stuff before, and the gifted athletes are cheering for the kids that haven't done it before,” she said.
That, she said, along with doing one's best, matters more than winning.
“To me it's not all about winning,” she said. “It's about doing their best. My biggest thing is do the best you can and no matter what place you come in, if you did the best you can, no complaints.”
Farrell appreciates that the sport is both individual and team oriented.
“One of my favorite things is seeing your own personal progression,” Farrell said. “In addition to you getting faster, it contributes to a team goal, which I think is pretty awesome. We have a good team culture. Everyone wants to win.”
“I think one of the biggest differences was that we had a really great group of freshmen and underclassmen that just added to a more cohesive atmosphere on the team,” Nobili added. “A good team dynamic and a good work ethic.”
Both captains hope that the league win inspires more athletes to join the team, which they encourage.
“I think it's kind of a domino effect,” said Nobili. “When you start to have really great successes they kind of continue in line. It motivates everyone when something good happens. I'm proud of the season and proud to see how the program has grown.”
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