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Senior captain Nick Braga and the Valley Regional boys’ outdoor track team turned in another strong season by earning fourth place overall at the Shoreline Conference Championship meet. Braga contributed to that effort with a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.2 seconds. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Jason O’Brien enjoyed a great year in the 110 high hurdles, the long jump, the triple jump, and in the 4x100 relay for the Warriors this spring. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior Andrew Ferguson took second place in the 100 with a time of 11.3 seconds at the Shoreline Conference Championship, finishing just a 0.1 seconds behind teammate Nick Braga in the race. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The Valley Regional boys’ outdoor track team had a solid season this year with some big-time contributors taking home some major accolades during the postseason. The Warriors turned in a fourth-place finish at the Shoreline Conference Championship meet, which made it the third consecutive season they claimed that spot. Valley was bolstered by a historic 4x100-meter relay quartet of upperclassmen that took often took top spots at meets. While the Warriors strength came from its seasoned vets, there were several contributors throughout the roster during the year.
The 4x100 group of junior Andrew Ferguson, senior Nick Braga, junior Arick Outama, and senior Jason O’Brien grabbed a gold at Shorelines with a time of 43.75 seconds, and set a school record in the event in the process. The team kept turning in better marks throughout the season to top their own record, and tried to follow that up with a similar mark at the Class M State Championship meet. Unfortunately, the foursome ran into a snag during a hand off, which cost valuable seconds, and they turned in the same time of 43.75 seconds to take third place at states. Valley boys’ track head coach Tim King felt proud of what that group pulled off, especially after what happened the year prior.
“We actually set the record last year and we won the Shoreline meet, but everyone rushed the track and the team actually got disqualified. This year it was a kind of redemption for those guys,” said Coach King. They wanted to win it and make sure that no one chased anyone down or anything. Unfortunately a bad hand off cost us at the state meet, but we still pulled third place.”
Braga and O’Brien also were essential leaders for the Warriors as senior captains along with fellow captains senior Jason Montecalvo and Jake Ramage. Braga and O’Brien also earned the Warriors’ Most Valuable Player Awards. Each of the captains represented a different facet of the squad and were effective liaisons between the coaches and the athletes during the season.
“What we try to do is pick an athlete from each area. Ramage was throwing, Montecalvo was distance, O’Brien was our jumps, and Braga was our sprinter,” said King. “We spread it out that way, and it worked out well that way. They’re all good responsible kids, and they’re very reliable.”
O’Brien racked up plenty of points over the course of the season for the Warriors including second place at Shorelines in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet-5 inches and the triple jump at 43-5.5. According to King, O’Brien has had a long history of producing in big moments.
“Jason’s been Shoreline Champ three of his four years with us,” said Coach King. “He done it in the hurdles, triple jump, and long jump. He’s been a mainstay on our team for years.”
Braga has also had impressive showings throughout his four-year career and this season was no different. Braga took home the gold in the 100 at Shorelines with a time of 11.2 seconds.
“Nick was a three-time Shorelne Champ in the 100. He was always giving advice to the kids. He has a tremendous start because he’s worked so hard on it,” said King. “He was at a disadvantage being a shorter sprinter and not have long strides. He made sure he came out of the block faster, and he really helped out all the kids with their starts because he became so good at it.”
Montecalvo recorded top-10 finishes in the 3,200 (8th, 10:35.09) and the 1,600 (9th, 4:542.78). Distance running was forte, but what made him so valuable was his ability to fill in where necessary, according to King.
“He’s been a four year letter-man for us, and you could see his improvement every single year,” said King. “He ran whatever, but his best races were the 1,600 and the 3,200. He also ran our distance relay. Where ever we needed him, he would help out.”
As for the throwing events, Ramage was a huge support to all of his teammates. Coach King said that Ramage’s attention to detail really help the team function at its best.
“Jake was awesome. He really held the throwers down. He helped a lot with the kids, and he would stay after all the time to just try to get better,” said King. “One of the big things is making sure all the equipment is brought up for the next track meet. He just did all the little things as well as a captian which helped so much.”
Another major contributor for the Warriors was junior Andrew Ferguson. He made his mark as a member of the 4x100, but he was also an accomplished sprinter in his own right. He often trained with Braga to cut down on his time. Ferguson snagged a silver in the 100 at Shorelines with a time of 11.3 seconds, and he claimed the gold in the 200 with a time of 22.59. Fellow junior Ryan Shasha earned recognition from Valley for Top-Player in Field for his great work in the high jump. Shasha claimed first place in the high jump when he cleared 6 feet at the Class M meet. With Shasha and Ferguson coming back next season, that should lessen the blow for the Warriors losing all of their incredible senior contributors according to King.
“Nick and Andrew would constantly go one-two in the 100. Andrew also won the 200 at Shorelines. Ryan was state champ in the high jump and he’s coming back next year. We have a nice core coming back with them and Arick Outama,” said Coach King. “We just need depth. We have some good kids coming back. They’ve just got to develop and come along a little more.”
From the Sidelines
The Valley Regional boys’ outdoor track team’s roster featured senior captains Nick Braga, Jason Montecalvo, Jason O’Brien, and Jake Ramage; seniors Jae’len Arnum, Liam Breckenfeld, Alex Brown, Zachary Cook, James DiLuca, Ben Falivene, Dan Hearn, Justin Kehlenbach, David Prendergast, Connor Riordan, and Michael Ryan; juniors Justin Badolato, Nathan Davis, Andrew Ferguson, Alexandre Jean-Baptiste, Anthony Joia, Macklin Miezejeski, Macguire Nelson, Arick Outama, Brian Rankin, Baron Schafer, Ryan Shasha, Nathan Szymanski, John Tibbets, and Sam Wollschleager; sophomores Justin Bailey, Kilraen Corbett, Colin Michaud, Alex Pinkowish, Egan Rothrock, and Matthew Skowronek; and freshmen James Beckman, Mason Drew, Race Greenawalt, Connor Lunz, Aiden Miller, Tommy Rapp, Ryan Reed, and Tanner Sprauge.
Valley finished in fourth place out of teams in the Shoreline Conference Championship meet with a total of 77 points.
Head Coach Tim King is assisted by coach Jake Bocian and coach Catherine Ryan.
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