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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Norwood Girls Track Looking Toward The Future

By Christopher Tremblay
Participating in the Tri Valley League is never easy, and it becomes even harder being a girls track team in Norwood. The Mustangs have had a difficult time going up against the likes of Medfield, Westwood, and Hopkinton, to name a few over the years. And although Norwood Track Coach Alanna Keady knows that Norwood will never be on the same level as some of the TVL powerhouses, she is hoping to get her girls involved on a competitive basis.
“We didn’t have the greatest of seasons with only one win, but it’s tough when you’re going up against schools with huge numbers ii the TVL,” the Mustang Coach said. “Although our numbers are nothing like the other TVL competitors, our numbers were up this year. I believe that we had the most girls take part in about five years; we were around 40 and that’s a good start.”
Not only are the numbers starting to improve, but the Mustangs also fielded a very strong sophomore class and will only see three seniors depart from this year’s squad. Unfortunately, one of those senior runners will be Tina Fontaine, who has been a fixture for Norwood in both the 100- and 200-meter runs. Fontaine, who was the Mustangs top point scorer this year, qualified for both events in the post season but elected not to participate. With her remarkable ability to score points on a regular basis, she will surely be missed on the track.
Another senior graduating was Payton Otto, a sprinter who excels in the 100. Despite joining the team midway through the season to hook up with her friends and have fun before leaving Norwood, she was supportive of the squad and tried to help them win. The final senior running for the Mustangs was foreign exchange student Lise Marie, from France. According to Keady, Marie was one of the team’s best 200-meter runs with a time around 30 seconds.
As the seniors depart the school, Keady has six juniors, which will be led by Jordyn Robinson, moving up to become seniors next season and taking control of the team. Norwood doesn’t have captains, just senior leaders, so Keady is looking for those now seniors to step up and guide the younger girls and give them a positive mindset while looking up to them.
Robinson, who was a big point earner for the Mustangs this past year, takes part in the hurdles, sprints, and her best event, the high jump.
“She is a very versatile individual; an athlete that you can move around to help the team out on any given day,” Keady said. “She can help us out in so many different ways and is one of those individuals who just wants to help the team out in any way that she can.”
Emerging from the strong sophomore class this past year, Keady had two girls (Natalie Martin and Catherin Cronin) qualify for the MIAA Track and Field Division 3 Championships in their events. 
Martin ran the mile and posted her best time of 5:28.84 for the year and came in seventh place during the TVL Championship Meet. According to Keady, Martin is an amazing runner with top talent and unfortunately didn’t have her best performance at the Division 3 Meet running a time of 5:38.80. The incoming junior next fall will be adding cross country to her resume in addition to two seasons of track becoming a full-time Norwood runner.
Cronin will once again run the 800 for Norwood. This past year she had a qualifying time of 2:29.77 in the event, but much like her teammate, she too didn’t have one of her better performances at the Divisional Meet. She crossed the finish line with a time of 2:34.84.
“As sophomores, just to get there was a big accomplishment and hopefully it will help them in the future,” Keady said. “Natalie and Catherine will be our leaders in the distance category and hopefully will once again qualify in their individual events. Having a partner to train with helps push you and both girls are up for the challenge.”
As for next spring, Keady is hoping that a sprinter emerges for the Mustangs and steps up to take Fontaine’s spot, although they will be big shoes to fill. The Norwood coach is also hoping that the team can improve upon their one-win season, although she knows it will be tough, in addition to finding a diamond in the rough with the incoming ninth graders as well as boosting the team’s numbers (Keady is wishing to get to 50 girls next year).
Over the past years, Norwood has not had huge numbers, if any at all, in the field events and the coach wants to try to expand those events.
“We had no throwers at all this year and that puts you in a bind right away during a meet as you are already finding yourself down 20 points or so,” Keady said. “We need to try to grow the numbers and get some girls in those events. For some reason, Norwood girls are scared of the throwing events. We will be looking for some help in this area so that we can build upon that for the future; you can’t win if you’re already down in points because you don’t have any bodies to take part in those events.”