NORTH EASTHAM – Make your way to the Nauset Regional High School gymnasium some afternoon and you’ll likely stumble upon a flurry of activity.
There’s a good chance you’ll bump into one of the Warriors boys or girls basketball teams, the school’s wrestling program or the winter cheerleading squad. While those teams break apart from one another to practice, there’s a different scene happening at the end of the gym where Nauset’s boys and girls indoor track and field teams meet.
There’s little separation between the two Warriors squads. They share the same coach — Moira Nobili — and rely on the leaders from each team to set the tone while both groups blend together during warm ups and practice workouts.
“It’s always easier to practice with another team,” said Rose Freeman, a senior from Eastham, who competes in the girls high jump, 4x200 meter relay and the 55 meter. “It’s kind of ‘more the merrier.’ It’s nice to have a bunch of people at practice, and the track team is really easy to make friends on both teams. Even if you’re not on the same team, it’s still like the same track team.”
While boys and girls practicing together is foreign to most high school sports, it’s been the norm at Nauset since Nobili took over both programs. It’s especially beneficial this year, according to Nobili, because the teams are in different places: the boys have a team rich with seniors, while the girls are much more inexperienced.
“We have more girls but they are new, so this is when I really love that they’re combined together because they can work together,” Nobili said, noting the most challenging aspect of a new season is the early stages of discovering what events best suit each athlete’s skillset.
“The hardest part is playing chess and figuring out ‘where do I put this one, and where do I put that one’ because we don’t have options,” Nobili said. “It’s kind of a little mind game. And then if we get someone sick or hurt on either team, it’s a big guessing game.”
Regardless of how challenging it is to fill a lineup with limited participants, Nobili is thrilled to be coaching.
“The way I look at the season is ‘thank goodness that the kids can compete and race,’” she said. “That’s the way to look at it. Yes, we look to win, but if they do their best and don’t, that’s what’s important.”
So far, the Warriors’ best effort has resulted in victories. Both teams swept Barnstable in their respective season openers Dec. 14 at Wheaton College in Norton. The boys earned a 61-43 win, while the girls won 49-40.
“I was impressed that we won because I didn’t think we were going to,” said Molly Keigans, a senior that competes in the mile, 2-mile, long jump and the 4x400 relay for the girls team. “That was exciting because we have a bunch of new people — so the fact that we won was pretty impressive.”
“We won our last meet by quite a bit,” added Jeremiah Pranga, a senior who takes part in the mile and 4x400 relay for the boys. “That was against Barnstable, which is a big school, so that was a really big win.”
While both teams won, there were some individual performances worth celebrating. Senior Ben Calsson, an Orleans resident, qualified for the mile and 2-mile for the Division 3 state meet.
“It felt really good. It was my first mile in, like, two years,” said Calsson. “There was a lot of competition, and to [qualify] right off the bat in the first race felt very nice.”
While both Nauset teams are full of athletes with their own individual goals that relate to their specific events, members of the two indoor track and field programs are happy to work together to help each other improve. The athletes said they’ll continue to do that so long as it proves to beneficial.
“We work out together, we practice together, I do long jump and help all of the girls with long jump,” said Ashton Nichols, a senior from Eastham who competes in the 55 dash, the long jump, shot put and 4x200 relay for the boys. “We’re basically just one team working together."
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org.