Cohesion Has Been Key For Monomoy Boys, Girls Track And Field

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: School Sports , Track/Field

Monomoy senior Shaw Schuyler clears a hurdle against Nauset on May 11. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

HARWICH – When Monomoy boys track and field coach Don Bates looked at the team’s schedule before the season, he couldn’t help but feel as though the Sharks might be in trouble against the rest of their Cape and Islands League competition.

“We’re the smallest team in the league,” explained Bates, “so I looked at the schedule before we started and I thought, ‘Well, we’ll be pretty hard-pressed to win a meet.’”

Thanks in part to a deep and talented group of seniors, Monomoy’s boys have exceeded their coach’s expectations.

Although the Sharks fell to 3-4 following a 76-52 loss to Nauset on May 11, the team has received some notable performances from both veterans and newcomers.

Among the highlights for the boys was a 67-65 win at Martha’s Vineyard on April 27. Although Bates acknowledged the Vineyarders are struggling this season due to limited numbers, he said it was special to return from the island with a victory for the first time in decades.

“I think the last time we beat Martha’s Vineyard was probably 30 years ago and we beat them over there,” said Bates, who long coached Harwich High before Chatham and Harwich combined to form Monomoy.

Bates has relied on his seniors — Shaw Schuyler, Jean-Claude Marjollet, Jaylen Johnson and Jack Fasano — to set the tone both on the track and from a leadership standpoint. While Schuyler, Marjollet and Fasano were experienced with the sport, Johnson said he’s enjoyed making his debut as a senior.

“I should’ve done it years ago when I had the chance,” said Johnson, a South Yarmouth resident who has competed in the 100-meter run and the 4x100 relay. “I never knew I could run fast. On a scale of one to 10, I’d say it’s been a 10 out of 10. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Schuyler said one difference with this year’s boys team is how close all of the athletes are.

“I feel like we all talk to each other and have a great time,” said Schuler, a Harwich resident. “That’s what track is all about. We take it seriously when we’re running, but when you’re not on the field, it’s a lot of hanging out and talking to your teammates.”

While the seniors have anchored the boys, Bates acknowledged some newcomers, such as junior Caleb Haarman, have been stellar in new roles. In Haarman’s case, it’s been the shot put and javelin throws.

“He’s brand new to it,” Bates said. “He came in extremely conscientious and he’s picked up the events like it’s nothing. He’s really worked at it and he’s beginning to develop a good form.”

The Monomoy girls (1-4) have had the benefit of adding some new key contributors, too, as eighth-graders Alexa Ford and Megan Gogol have provided depth to a team that celebrated just one senior, Brynn Dobbs, following its 102-33 loss to Nauset on senior day.

“Brynn has been an anchor for this team. She’s a great leader,” second-year girls coach Mary Hemeon said. “She’s fine-tuned her long jump and triple jump and she’s taken all of our new people under her wing.”

Junior Rhiannon Vos has been the driving force for the girls in the mile and two-mile runs in addition to participating in the long jump and the triple jump.

Vos set a new personal record this spring when she ran the two-mile in 11:57 — the direct result of working hard during off-season training with her brother, Gareth, a sophomore on the boys team.

“We don’t have an indoor track season, but I trained on my own with my friends and my brother and that definitely helped,” said Vos, who noted she took a long look at her form. “I used to run with my arms out to the side, so I fixed my form a bit and am trying to have better nutrition. Little changes like that make a big difference.”

Hemeon said she also feels much more comfortable this spring compared to a year ago.

“It’s a new group, but do I feel a lot more comfortable than I did a year ago,” she said. “I learned so much last year. Last year, I remember before our first meet I had such butterflies like, ‘What am I doing?’ I don’t feel that way this year.”

Hemeon is also looking forward to the future. Seven of the 12 players on this year’s girls team are underclassmen, so she’s excited to see them grow with the program.

“I’m excited that I have a lot of new young people because I can envision them sticking with it and growing and becoming very strong,” she said. “That’s exciting.”

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal