All-State Track: Frontier’s Jack Vecellio sets state pole vault record; Greenfield’s Liviu Mihailicenco takes high jump title (PHOTOS)

  • Frontier Regional’s Jack Vecellio embraces his father Andy Vecellio after setting a state record in the pole vault at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional’s Jack Vecellio, right, hugs South Hadley’s Jonas Clarke after Clarke’s victory in the 100-meter dash at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. Vecellio captured the pole vault state record and championship. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional’s Jack Vecellio celebrates setting a state pole vault record at 17 feet, 1.5 inches at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Greenfield’s Liviu Mihailicenco won the high jump at the MIAA Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University, clearing 6 feet, 6 inches. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional’s Jack Vecellio embraces his father Andy Vecellio after setting a state record in the pole vault at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional senior Jack Vecellio won his second straight All-State pole vault title at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. He eventually set a state record at 17 feet, 1.5 inches. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional’s Jack Vecellio looks up at the bar after clearing 17 feet, 1.5 inat the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional senior Jack Vecellio won his second straight All-State pole vault title at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. He eventually set a state record at 17 feet, 1.5 inches. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Greenfield senior Tess Rancourt watches her attempt during the girls shot put at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. She placed fourth with a toss of 38 feet, 7 inches. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Mahar’s Max Gilmore competes in the para 100-meter dash at the Massachusetts Track & Field Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2022 10:16:15 PM
Modified: 6/5/2022 12:13:23 AM

WESTFIELD – Jack Vecellio stared at the bar as he descended.

The Frontier Regional senior clipped it with his right knee on his way over attempting to break the state pole vault record he’s chased since seventh grade.

“I touched it a little bit, so I was scared on my way down,” Vecellio said.

That fear transformed to ecstasy when he hit the mat and it remained suspended at the MIAA Meet of Champions on Saturday at Westfield State University. He opened his arms wide, celebrating a 17-foot, 1.5-inch vault. No one in Massachusetts had ever jumped higher. Vecellio had won the meet several attempts earlier, but he entered Saturday’s event with only one goal: that state record. That previous mark was 17-1, set by North Andover’s Eric Duffy at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 2017.

“That was my target. I couldn’t even sleep last night thinking about it,” Vecellio said. “I knew it was gonna happen.”

He turned immediately to his father Andy Vecellio, who dropped everything he was holding and ran to the pit, tackling his son to the foam. Jack Vecellio rolled him over and held his father’s hands, a smile as wide as his face.

“That’s always the best moments of any track meet is being with him in that moment of overjoyed excitement,” Jack Vecellio said.

He also set a meet record and captured the pole vault All-State championship for the second year in a row.

“It was a monster accomplishment. Every year there’s only a handful of kids in the United States that make that bar,” Andy Vecellio said. “This is the time of the season these things are supposed to happen.”

His top-six placement also qualified him for the New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championship next weekend in New Britain, Conn.

Greenfield senior Theo Popusoi just missed out on joining him, finishing seventh at 13-0. Had he matched his seed height of 13-6, he would have advanced.

“Sometimes you have good days, sometimes bad days,” Popusoi said. “I popped off last meet and not so much this one.”

While Vecellio’s All-State title was clinched early and comfortably on one of his first attempts, Greenfield’s Liviu Mihailicenco sweated out the end of the boys high jump. He and Acton-Boxborough’s John Lung both cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, but Mihailicenco did it on his first attempt. The Greenfield senior missed all three tries at 6-8, but so did Lung.

The shock hit Mihailicenco when the bar fell on Lung’s last attempt.

“At first I thought it was really cool that I was Division 6 champion, but the fact that in all of Massachusetts I am number one, I can’t even believe that,” Mihailicenco said. “Seeing him hit [the bar], I held my breath.”

Frontier’s Erich Brown tied for ninth (6-0).

Green Wave senior Tess Rancourt extended her season with a shot put of 38-7 to finish fourth overall on Saturday. She was an inch away from third, while Newton North’s Skye Petrie-Cameron took first place (41-4.5).

“I just did what I needed to do. I have a lot of work to do,” Rancourt said. “I just want to get it all together. I have some pieces, and I’m missing others. I want it to all be a flowing motion instead of stop, go, stop, go. I need to get that pop and acceleration.”

Frontier’s Abigail Howard cleared 5-0 and placed 12th in the girls high jump.

Frontier junior Caroline Crocker took 14th in the girls 100-meter hurdles (15.71).

Mahar’s Max Gilmore was the All-State winner in the para 100 (19.62).


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