Opinion: Little Recognition for Big Feats

by Jeremy Yeung
Class of 2015

When Bob Chute first became the head coach of Braintree’s Indoor Track team in the 2012-2013 season, it was in shambles. Most of the runners were unmotivated and lazy, not caring for the sport. And every meet, they were greeted by another loss in the record books. This all changed when Coach Chute came and took the reins.

Discipline was an important part of Chute’s new coaching method and it was quickly adopted by the students. Runners improved in a short amount of time and many set new personal records for themselves. However, Chute’s goal was not for that season; it was for the seasons to come. He wanted to establish a program that was successful, unlike the years previous to his employment.

Now, three years after his arrival, the fruits of his labor have begun to bloom. This past season, sixteen Braintree student-athletes qualified for the MIAA Division 2 Indoor Track and Field State Championship with some even participating in multiple events. However, with track being an unpopular sport. none of these students have been recognized by the school for their athletic achievements. There were a total of eight boys and eight girls who qualified for states from Braintree.

The boys who qualified were seniors Ryan Connolly (Long Jump), Ben Keefe (1000m Run), Zach Marhamo (Shot Put), Nick Martin (4 x 200m Relay), Alonzo Mitchell (4 x 200m Relay), John Newcomb (4 x 200m Relay), and Brendan Smyth (Long Jump, 4 x 200m Relay), as well as junior Justin Doherty (1000m Run).

The girls who qualified were seniors Asia Dixon (55m Dash, 4 x 200m Relay), Lindsay Mahoney (4 x 400m Relay), Adriana McDevitt (4 x 200m Relay), Jenna Murray (55m Dash, 4 x 200m Relay), and Brooke Yuen (300m Dash, 4 x 200m Relay, 4 x 400m Relay) with Erin Leonard (300m Dash, 600m Run, 4 x 400m Relay), Ally O’Rourke (1000m Run, 1 Mile Run, 4 x 400m Relay), and Emily Walsh (Shot Put) representing the Class of 2016.

During the MIAA Division Two State Championship, held on February 12, Braintree took home medals in 4 events. Coming in 8th place was the boy’s 4 x 200m Relay team. Erin Leonard finished in 7th place, grabbing a medal in the 300m Dash. With outstanding performances, both Brendan Smyth in the Long Jump and the girl’s 4 x 400m team finished with 4th at the meet. In each event, the top four move on to the MIAA All State Championship Meet. This was surely a significant feat. However, even with five Braintree students proving themselves worthy of this meet, nothing has been said about them at school. No announcements have been made; not about the students who moved on to the All States Championships, nor the others who qualified for the Division Two State Meet in the first place.

Yes, Braintree is not the best at track. Yes, we usually lose our meets. But there are those who excel at their events; they work hard and deserve credit for the effort they make every day to improve themselves. Where is the recognition they deserve? When these athletes joined the team, they were not lazy. Instead, they practiced every year, determined to get better with each coming race. Their efforts, along with the help of this year’s coaching staff (Bob Chute, Arlene DiLorenzo, Jared Griffin, Chip Mitchell), brought them to the State Meet. These 16 athletes demonstrated exceptional abilities during the season and competed with the very best in Massachusetts. What else do they need to do to get recognition?

Edit: Athletic Director Mr. Denise’s response to this article can be found here.

This article represents the opinion of Jeremy Yeung, a student is Advanced Placement Language and Composition.