By Bob York
Nice legs! Nope, great legs!
They were the key components behind Deerfield Academy’s showing at this spring’s Division I New England Prep School Track Association Championships—which the Big Green hosted. The boys finished the day in fifth place with 51 points. This was its best showing at the New England meet since 2004, when it posted a fourth-place finish. The team rose two spots in the final standings over last year. The girls, meanwhile, moved up two spots as well this spring, placing eighth with 24 points.
To no one’s surprise, Andover jogged off the Deerfield campus with both team titles. The boys collected 98 points on the day, while Choate and Loomis Chaffee battled it out to the bitter end for the silver medal with 88 and 86 points. The Andover girls, meanwhile, rolled up 150 points, as Exeter finished second with 113 and Northfield Mount Hermon came in third with 67.
Sam Belcher ’11 proved to own the best wheels of the day, as he captured both the 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter races in 4:02.21 and 8:45.58 respectively, and still found time run the second leg of Deerfield’s victorious 4X400 relay team (3:24.28) to help earn 30 of Deerfield’s 51 points. And when he was finally through running, Belcher’s last hurdle as a Big Green runner was to make his way over to the medals podium to pick up three gold medals and a plaque for being named the meet’s Outstanding Male Athlete. During the school athletic assembly, Belcher was named winner of the Jack Dolph Trophy, which goes to the team’s premier distance runner.
In addition to Belcher, the remainder of the winning Deerfield relay team that outdistanced Loomis Chaffee in a season-best time of 3:24.28, were Kellam Witherington ’12, Jack Shumway ’12, and Andrew Sutphin ’11.
Over on the girls stopwatch, Ariel Beauregard-Breton ’11 raced to a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter event and would be presented the Jack Dolph Trophy as the girls top distance runner, while teammate Rose Fisher ’13 finished fourth. Kerry Krause ’12, who was the recipient of the Deerfield Academy Track Trophy as the Most Valuable Woman, showed exactly why during the New England meet. She posted a second-place finish in the high jump and helped spark the 4X400 relay team to a fourth-place finish, as it lowered its own school record to 4:07.74. Other members of that team were Carley Porter ’12, Connie Rhodes ’12, and Tatum McInerney ’13. Rhodes will serve as a tri-captain next season, along with Victoria Serra ’12 and Shelbi Kilcollins ’12. Tyanna Carter won the 1983 Team Award for the girls, while Gaelen LeMelle-Brown received the same award for the boys team.
Laddie Trees ’11 picked up Deerfield’s other gold medal, as he captured the javelin for the second straight year and did so by setting a new NEPSTA mark with a toss of 192 feet, 3 inches. He also owns the school record, which is 198 feet. He would later be named recipient of the Deerfield Academy Track Trophy, which is annually presented to the Most Valuable Man.
Witherington, who was voted a tri-captain of next year’s team, along with Shumway, who placed third in the 300-meter hurdles, and Kelechi Akusobi ’12, ran a personal best of 50:82 to finish fourth in the 400-meter race. Fred Quesada ’12, meanwhile, wound up sixth in the 1,500-meter race.
“Both our boys and girls teams improved two spots in the final standings at the New England meet,” said Mike Schloat, who tutors both squads. “And that’s a significant jump, considering that we just don’t have the kind of depth that a team such as Andover has.”
But Deerfield certainly made good with what it had, “and when you wrap up your career the way Sam (Belcher) did … winning two gold medals himself and assisting on the relay team’s first-place finish,” said Schloat, “you certainly can’t script it any better than that.”
Bob York is a Greenfield Recorder wire editor. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.