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A family of winners

By Mike Berman
Published: March 2010

Even with the comings and goings of all the freshmen and seniors, the Girls’ Track team annually ranks among the top teams in the state.

“Trophies and other things are a byproduct, Coach Steve McChesney said. “I told my team that coaches and kids can talk about lofty goals and championships but that is not the same thing as doing. I work to make our team more about what we learn from each other in practice.

However, last year was different. The runners from the Class of 2009 are considered the best class of athletes in the history of South. It was even one of the greatest single classes in the entire state over the past 20 years.

“In my 28 years as a head coach in two strong track and field states, the 2009 graduating class was the strongest single class that I have been around. McChesney said. “That class alone has maybe won as many All American honors as the rest of the entire state combined during their time at South.

Last year, the Girls’ Track team placed second at All-States, which was still an accomplishment even with such high quality runners.

“We obviously want to continue our reign as Dual County League champions, maybe even Division I or all-state champions, but we’ll take it one meet at a time, senior and captain Cora Visnick said. “We want to qualify as many kids to States as possible.

One of the program’s greatest accomplishments, besides the victories, is the team’s close-knit and family-like atmosphere.

“My favorite part is having somewhere to go after school every day and being around a great group of friends, sophomore Hannah Friedman said.

Even kids that are not ranked in the nation, or even the state, have somewhere to go every day. “We have kids that never score a varsity point on our team over four years who are valued for their effort and dedication.

“In fact, the kids that remain dedicated, even though they do not get the rewards of our top kids, are valued by the team and the coaches. McChesney said.

Being so fortunate as to having good runners years in and years out, the team still does not take all their success for granted. If the Girl’s Track team turns to complacency, it would be harder to accomplish its players’ goal because there are plenty of teams in the Dual County League standing in their way of reaching such a high goal, with Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough frequently place in the top ten at States.

Being in a division with so many powerful programs actually causes South to work harder.

“Our two [track] programs have been at the top in the state year after year, and have also produced so many national-caliber kids, McChesney said. “Our rivalry has been written about many times on the national level as our [track] teams combined have won more state championships and have produced more All Americans by far than the rest of the state.

Even though they are so successful, they must continue their success without a track because of the rebuilding that has been occurring over the past years now.

In the last four years alone, there has only been one home because the former track was unusable. The team hopes it can be done sometime in April, but here is a possibility that it will not be finished until May or June.

“I think it could definitely impact performance in a positive way. Having our own fans on our home court would really get the adrenaline pumping, Visnick said.

Even without the adrenaline of having a home meet environment, the success of the Girls’ Track team has accomplished the unimaginable for many teams across the state because of their high standard while producing a warm and family-like feeling.

Seniors Ezra Banks and Katie Sandson ran at Nike Indoor Nationals on March 13 in the Sprint Medley Relay, where they became All Americans.

The relay, which consists of two 200 meter legs, a 400 meter leg, and an 800 meter one, finished in fourth place.

Banks and Sandson, who both ran the 200 meter legs, teamed up with junior Kathy O’Keefe and senior Melanie Fineman.

O’Keefe ran the 800 leg, and Fineman ran the 400 leg. Both members of the team are already All Americans and national champions.

These four athletes will be running outdoor track this season, and hope to lead the team to success.

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