Douglas athletes 'on track' for New Balance Nationals
The Douglas High track team’s medley relay team.
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY, Staff Sports Writer
The Douglas indoor track team under the guidance of Coach Jeffrey Thayer is sending five athletes to take part in the New Balance Nationals, occurring March 3 -11 at The Track in Boston.
The Tigers will be sending representatives to run in the medley relay and the 55 meter dash.
Domonic Rossi will open the medley relay running the first 200 leg with Luke Lightbown taking the baton and the second 200 leg before passing it onto Darius Buivydas, who will run the 400 and Colin Squier will look to run the 800 past the finish line to conclude the event.
Abigail Bilodeau, Douglas’s up-and-coming 55-meter dash competitor.
The foursome got together during last year’s outdoor season when Coach Peter Mannka put them together with the goal of running all the way to the Nationals in Boston.
The medley relay team punched their ticket to participate in the New Balance Nationals on Friday January 13 at the Northeast Invitational Meet when they ran a 3:46.77, just under the 3:47 qualification time.
“The Track is a brand new facility in which everyone wants to be able to run on it,” Coach Thayer said. “I think that they will do pretty well in the Nationals, and I am hoping that they can put together a quicker race taking 2-3 seconds off their time from Sectionals.”
At the Division 5 Sectionals Rossi, Lightbown, Buivydas and Squier set a new school record in the 4x400 event, breaking the old record of 3:38, which they owned, by posting a final time of 3:33.72. In doing so the four qualified to take part in the All-States on Saturday, February 25.
As the boys were doing their thing in the relay Abigail Bilodeau was running her heart out in the 55 meter dash in order to get her shot at the Nationals. Although running for the high school, Bilodeau is only a seventh grader in the Douglas Middle School. In addition to the 55, she also participates in the 300 and 4x200 relay for the Tigers. She has also qualified for the 60-meter dash in middle school.
In order to secure a spot in Boston Bilodeau needed a time of 7.93 or less, which she has accomplished on numerous times this season. Currently her best time in the event is 7.81 and she was able to run a 7.86 as the only middle school participant running the event at the Division 5 Sectionals. That time of 7.86 gave her 19th place overall out of a field of 32 runners in the event.
“I knew of her from the middle school coach who had given me a heads up on the younger girls looking to make the team. Her very first race, she just blew me out of the water with how fast she was,” Thayer said. “Right from the start she was more than impressive. She is someone who always has a smile on her face, works hard and enjoys every meet she takes part in.”
As one of the younger girls to be going to the Nationals, Thayer is unsure of how she will do as he has not seen any of the other entries or their times as of this writing.
“She since first qualified for the Nationals, she has continuously been able to decrease her times in the event throughout the year,” the Douglas coach said. “She should be able to continue that trend and run a pretty quick race. Having someone as young as she is with talent is unusual for us; we haven’t sent anyone to the Nationals since 2014.”