By Chris Villani
For a brief moment, it seemed as though Nipmuc’s quest to win the Dual Valley Conference title in boys’ track had come up just short. The results were announced and Hopedale was awarded the crown with 62 points to Nipmuc’s 60.
But head coach Dick Auger took a closer look and realized the scores had not been tallied correctly. Hopedale had been awarded two additional points it did not earn in the 4×200 relay. The result was a 60-60 tie and a co-championship for the Warriors.
“When we went up against Hopedale in our very first head-to-head meet, we tied,” Auger said. “And here we are, the very last meet, the championship meet, and we ended up in a tie.”
The result was worth celebrating, and what better way to celebrate than with a victory dance?
“The kids told me, ‘OK coach, if we win this, we are going to form a circle around you and you have to dance,’” Auger said, chuckling. “So I did, I just danced and jumped up and down. One of the boys recorded it and I can’t wait to see it.”
Nipmuc earned the share of the title — and the chance to see their coach break it down — thanks to several top performances.
Freshman Gabriel Sicurella, who has been the top sprinter for the Warriors this winter, came through with a first-place finish in the DVC meet and has earned a spot in the state meet. Senior Joey Acker was not far behind in fourth place, and added a third-place finish in the shot put and a third-place finish on the 4×200 team to a stellar all around meet.
Chris Lanier finished in the top-five in both the high jump and the 300. Sam Aubert placed second in the two mile and scored points in the 1,000 as well. Samuel McElligott placed third in the mile and Cameron Hagan and Jordan Katzen both earned top-five finishes in the 600.
Nipmuc showed off its depth in the hurdles with Christian Morrice, Aidan Dankwardt, and William Spargo placing third, fourth, and fifth. Nipmuc also earned a first-place finish in the 4×400 relay.
Auger said the DVC title is a fitting way to conclude a great season.
“The kids have always done their very best for us, they’ve worked very hard and met every challenge they had to meet,” he said. “Consequently, we ended up with a co-championship and that’s just fantastic.”