By Chris Villani
Justin Townsend has been thrilled to see the success his young Nipmuc track and field team has been able to muster this spring. The only problem is that the head coach has not actually seen his team’s performances over the past several weeks.
Townsend ruptured his Achilles tendon, but he has been able to watch from afar as the Warriors’ girls team has broken records and put together a third-place finish during the recent Division I Central Mass. meet.
“I haven’t been there, but they are doing exactly what I would want them to do, which is to crush it,” Townsend said. “I am really, really proud of them. Especially with how they competed this weekend [at the district meet.]”
Townsend has been trying to build up the track and field program since he arrived at Nipmuc and the fruits of that labor are showing this year, despite the fact that the roster is loaded with talented underclassmen who have two, three, or even four years left competing at the varsity level.
Boys’ head coach Richard Auger has been keeping Townsend up to speed on their progress during his absence, which is expected to last the rest of the year.
“He is relaying all of the information about how they are stepping up to the plate, getting to their events, and staying really super focused on the meet at hand,” Townsend said. “They are very engaged in the progress of getting better and there has been no lapse in their performance whatsoever.”
Last weekend marked the first ever trip to the Division I meet for the program and the girls finished third and broke six program records in the process. On Twitter, Townsend called it “quite possibly the best day we have ever had for Nipmuc track.”
“I wish I was there to see it,” he said. “It’s bittersweet for me because I love coaching them and I like seeing the end result.”
But the fact that Townsend has been repeatedly receiving good news about the way his athletes have continued to excel has made it a little bit easier to be away from the team during the stellar season.
“It’s been tough to watch from home, but I am happy for them,” he said. “They are a really talented group and they are all having a great year.”