Bar set high for Athol boys indoor track & field team

  • Athol’s 4x400 relay team, left, is pictured after setting a personal-best time of 3:42.26 during the Division 5 state meet, last season in Boston. FILE PHOTO

  • Mason Barrieau stands on the 3rd place podium at the Division 5 state meet last season in Boston. FILE PHOTO

  • The Athol boys 4x200 relay team, second from right, is shown on the 3rd place podium at the Division 5 state meet, last season in Boston. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2018 11:02:59 PM

After one of the most successful seasons in team history, the Athol boys indoor track and field squad is looking for more of the same this winter.

Practices during the preseason are before school with team members running through the hallways at Athol High School.

“Once they realized they can get up in the morning they like it better,” Athol coach David St. Jean said. “Some of them go out for a second run or lift in the afternoon. Or do homework.”

The Red Raiders were 12-1 last season and claimed the Valley South league championship.

As usual with Athol, they will fight numbers this season.

“Last year the boys were the highest finishing small school,” St. Jean said. “The other schools have just so many numbers. Right now we have 20 or 22 boys I think. Other squads double that. Some of them run four events.”

Mason Barrieau will return to his featured events for the Red Raiders: the 300-meter and the 600-meter runs. The goal for Barrieau is to qualify for nationals.

“He came in with a good positive attitude,” St. Jean said. “It’s going to take a little bit of work but I think he can get his mark down where he can qualify.”

Barrieau is eager to rewrite Athol’s records in his senior season, according to St. Jean. Barrieau also excels at the long jump, 55-meter hurdles and in relay events.

Dennis St. Jean is only a couple seconds off from breaking a school record in the 1,000 meters, which will be a goal for this season. He also runs the mile for the Red Raiders and should be a postseason participant.

With state champion thrower Kris Selanis now at Assumption, the Red Raiders have some new additions in throwing events.

The powerful Connor Arpide joined the team this season along with Colby Hume. Both Hume and Arpide had participated in track and field during the spring.

“Those two will try to replicate some of the points we lost,” David St. Jean said.

Jumping is a weak point for the Red Raiders. After Barrieau, there isn’t a lot of experience in the long jump.

“Over the last couple years we haven’t been exceedingly strong in those areas and still been OK,” David St. Jean said. “We just need to find some people who are serviceable.”

The first meet of the season is against Baystate Academy at 3:45 p.m. at Smith College in Northampton on Dec. 7.

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