NRHS Boys' Track Wins Div III State Title

Published in the February 20, 2008 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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When Don Gribbons and Ley Ricker, head coaches of the Nashoba Regional indoor track teams, decided to schedule multiple events at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center this season, they weren't just looking to spend more time on the Mass Pike. Knowing that the state-level events would be held at that facility at the end of the season, the coaches felt that the experience of having competed there before would serve the Chieftains well.

That strategy paid off in spades last Saturday, as the boys' team captured the division 3 state title, finishing just four points ahead of second-place Northampton. In addition, girls' team captain Lindsey Horowitz of Stow extended her remarkable season by shaving 20 seconds off her previous best time to place third in the two-mile event and qualify for the all-state competition later this week.

None of the things that differentiate the Reggie Center from the Fitchburg High School track where all league events are held—not the banked corners, the longer straightaways, the crowd noise—rattled the Chieftains, most of whom had competed at the Roxbury facility up to four times previously this season.

“Rarely in a meet like this does everything go perfectly, but this was about as close as we've been,” Gribbons said. “Ley and I couldn't be more pleased with how they ran.”

The boys' team win may have surprised some, given that the Chieftains finished second in the Mid-Wach B league championship meet on Jan. 26 at Fitchburg. Westborough, which won the league meet, finished fifth at the state competition.

“That was the big joke –we can't win the league, but we can win state,” Gribbons said.

As usual, the boys' team was led at the state meet by senior Anthony Raduazo, whose nine-second margin of victory over Jeff Bush of Westborough in the two-mile event avenged Bush's edging him in the mile at the Mid-Wach B meet. The 4x800 relay team also redeemed itself for a third-place effort in Fitchburg, as anchor man Coby Horowitz of Stow crossed the finish line at the Reggie Center a half-second ahead of Longmeadow's Matt Wilson to seal the victory for the Chieftains.

Familiarity with the track was what won the relay, Horowitz said.

“I just started going when I hit the corner, and the (Longmeadow) kid couldn't catch me after that,” he said. “But the big turns can be kind of imposing if you don't know what you're doing.”

Also scoring points for Nashoba on Saturday were junior Joe Doyle (second in the 1000 meters), senior co-captain Doug Koury of Stow (third, 300 meters), and the 4x200 relay team (fourth). But the performance of the day on the boys' side may well have come from sophomore Brendon Aylaian of Stow, who cut three seconds off his previous best time to place second in the mile.

“Brendon's really getting to be a stronger runner,” Gribbons said. “He has never been thrilled with the fact that we make him lift weights, but you can see the difference in his running. When it came down to last laps, he was able to keep his form. He's always been a tremendous finisher, but at this level the kids are getting faster and faster, so that kick has to come earlier.”

On the girls' side, after Lindsey Horowitz turned in what was arguably the best performance of her career, no one was more surprised than Horowitz herself. Suffering from flu-like symptoms and sleep deprived after a night of coughing, she was also trying to rebound from a sub-par race at the District E Invitational meet on Feb. 9, at which she was still shaken by the death of classmate Frank DeMeo.

“My seed time was the fastest I had ever run, so mostly I was just concerned about not coming in last in my heat,” she said.

She needn't have worried.

“What Lindsey did was run a very smart race,” Gribbons said. “She got out fast, then just settled in and ran very smoothly, and then made a great effort over the last two laps.”

Horowitz will be the sole representative of the girls' team at the all-state meet on Friday. For the boys' team, Aylaian, Raduazo, Koury and Doyle will compete at the all-state meet as individuals. In addition, Coby Horowitz will join Aylaian, Raduazo and Doyle on the 4x800 relay; Andrew Wade, Layne Sadler and Conor Megee of Stow will join Koury on the 4x200 relay.

Like the divisional meet, the all-state meet will be at the Reggie Lewis Center. The Chieftains should feel right at home.

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239