Deerfield Track and Field at the 73rd Division I NEPSTA Championships – 5/19/12
Choate Rosemary Hall hosted the 2012 edition of the Division I New England Track and Field Championships, and their sun-splashed facility was the perfect setting for a memorable day that will take a prominent place in the annals of Deerfield Track and Field history. Several school records fell as the girls’ team repeated their 8th place finish from 2011, and the boys’ team capped off an undefeated regular season by narrowly edging a deep, talented Loomis Chaffee team to win Deerfield’s first ever New England Championship. The final scores of the boys’ meet had Deerfield’s 91 points winning the day, followed by Loomis at 89 and Choate with 79.
Based on the event seeds released before Saturday’s meet, Deerfield’s boys were predicted to finish 4th and score 68 points. Loomis and Exeter had 91 points in the seeds; Choate, 78. At day’s end, Deerfield’s boys had improved their seeds in 14 of the 17 total events; in short, it was a tremendous team performance that involved personal bests from almost every athlete from the throws to the jumps, the distance events to the hurdles, culminating with a thrilling finish in the 4x400m relay. Deerfield’s first points of the day came in the shot put: Jeff Van Oot ‘12 threw a nearly two-foot personal best (48’ 9”) in his final competition to finish 3rd overall and set the tone for the day. Next up was the 4x100m relay, an event Deerfield did not expect to earn points in thanks to a late-season injury to their post-graduate leadoff leg. Despite the late substitution of a freshman in his first 4×100, the boys got the stick around fast enough to finish 5th and earn 2 valuable points. Anchoring that relay was Harry Glor ’12, who did so in between finishing 3rd in the high jump and earning a surprise 5th place in the javelin thanks to a huge personal best throw. Glor would come back later in the day to finish 3rd in the 200m, capping a great day for a track and field rookie who ultimately scored in four separate events.
In one final after another on the track, Deerfield’s boys kept racking up points: the 1500m saw Reed Horton ’14 run a five-second PR en route to 2nd place and Fred Quesada ’12 come out of nowhere to earn 6th place; Kellam Witherington ’12 finished 5th in the 400m to conclude his four-year career in the quarter mile. Co-captain Jack Shumway ’12 kept the upset streak going in the 110m hurdles with his first of three victories on the day; his winning time in the hurdles not only upset the top-seeded Choate runner but also shattered his own school record in the event. Shumway came back to win the 300m hurdles running away from a strong field, again shattering his own school record in the event, and his day wasn’t nearly finished. In between Shumway’s hurdle victories, George Reich ’13 and Reed Horton took to the track for the 800m. Reich, seeded 2nd, ran a perfect tactical race and left himself just off the shoulder of the top-seeded Loomis runner as they came off the final turn. Reich found another gear and blew past his competition to win in the second fasted time in Deerfield history; not to be outdone, Horton, coming back after the 1500, passed several runners in the final straightaway to take 4th. Meanwhile, in the field events, Michael Walters ’14 leapt to an enormous personal best in the triple jump to secure 6th place, and Wyatt Sharpe ’13 cleared 11’ 6” to snag a critical 3rd place in the pole vault.
With two events left on the track, the 3000m run and the 4x400m relay, Deerfield clung to a 4 point lead, 77 – 73, over Loomis Chaffee. Loomis’ top runner was seeded 3rd; Deerfield’s, 9th. As the 3000m unfolded and Loomis’ runner surged into second place, things looked grim for Deerfield; following the 3000 was the 4×400, where Loomis held the top seed, so a 2nd place finish (worth 8 points) in the 3000 would all but guarantee a championship for the Pelicans. Enter Robert Beit ’13, who made an aggressive move into 4th place halfway through the race, and refused to yield that spot over the next mile despite several challenges and sweltering 80 degree heat. His finish garnered 4 points for the Big Green and left Deerfield and Loomis tied at 81 points headed into the 4x400m. Deerfield’s 3:29 seed time was second only to Loomis’ 3:26 mark, and with the championship on the line and all eight runners having competed in several individual events earlier in the meet, anything was possible. After trading the lead over the first two legs, Loomis’ third leg ran an inspired quarter to hand off to his anchor leg with a five meter lead over Deerfield’s star hurdler, Jack Shumway. Shumway made up the gap over the first 100, surged past Loomis on the back stretch, and finished arguably the greatest relay leg in Deerfield history with an unmatchable move on the final turn to win going away in 3:22.08, a seven second improvement on the team’s seed time and a new Deerfield record. The previous record for the boys’ 4×400 had stood since 1984; it is fitting that it should fall in a race that also earned Deerfield its first championship in 73 years of NEPSTA competition.
On the girls’ side, two school records fell and a third was equaled as the girls accumulated 33 points on their way to finishing 8th for the second straight year. Kerry Krause ’12 scored in three events, including a championship effort in the high jump. Krause also finished 5th in the 100m hurdles and anchored Deerfield’s 3rd place 4x400m team, which ran the second fastest time in school history. Devinne Cullinane ’14 made a bold move in the final lap of the 1500, ultimately finishing 5th in 4:46.79, a new Deerfield record. Deerfield’s other record-setter on the day was Alanna McDonough ‘12, who finished 4th in the 300m hurdles in 47.76. In the distance events, juniors Rose Fisher and Tatum McInerney both ran impressive PRs in the 3000m and 800m runs, respectively; Fisher finished 3rd, McInerney was 7th. In the field events, Kay Kay Ali threw a huge personal best in the discus to finish 5th, and McDonough returned to capture 6th in the triple jump. The meet ended with the girls’ 4x400m team of Krause, McInerney, Carley Porter ’12, and Connie Rhodes ’12 making one last circuit of the track together; that foursome has set Deerfield’s record on three separate occasions, and its 3rd place finish at New Englands is its best. A great way for three seniors to finish their careers!
Congratulations to all the athletes who worked so hard to make this such a historic season for Deerfield Track and Field! Complete results of the boys’ and girls’ New England Championships are available here: