Last season, things seemed pretty straightforward for Hopkinton High School boys indoor track and field coach Michael Donahue. He could fill out the winter meet lineup almost any way he saw fit, and the depth of talent in his senior class would take care of the rest.
“The seniors were so good last year, we never really worried about winning or losing,” Donahue said. “I tried to convince them it was going to be closer than it was, but at a certain point, the kids can run the numbers themselves and read the writing on the wall.”
This season, the scores have been closer, but the results remain the same. Hopkinton has won every meet, including a one-point thriller over Holliston and a close victory over Medfield. The Hillers have done it with a group that features numerous underclassmen and a stronger team-first identity.
“We have to plan how we are going to match up our guys against their guys,” Donahue said. “I think you build a better team because they really care about how each and every event goes and how everybody else is doing.
“It’s kind of a fun ride here so far,” the coach added.
Hopkinton still has strong seniors who have scored points and helped to mentor their younger teammates. Ben Scott is the team’s top distance runner, and Russell Perryman returns as a star shot put athlete. In addition to the shot, Scott is learning the weight throw, a new event in Massachusetts winter track.
“He is already one of the top four or five guys in the state,” Donahue said. “And he is just learning it.”
Twin brothers Will and Andrew Bialobrzeski are skilled multi-event athletes who can score in the hurdles, long jump and high jump in any given meet.
Sophomore Harry Millar is perhaps Hopkinton’s most promising young athlete, and his dash and hurdle times are on pace to be among the best the program has seen. Junior Logan Sullivan is an outstanding high jumper who is capable of clearing 6 feet, 4 inches.
“He comes into the meet at 5-[foot]-10; most kids are out by then,” Donahue said.
Sophomore Mason Barros is a top long jumper, with distances approaching 20 feet, and fellow sophomores Ryan Morin and Joshua Jones are just behind Perryman in the shot put. Sean Finnegan, yet another sophomore, has posted some of the fastest times in the 2-mile run.
“Our sophomore group is super, super strong,” Donahue said. “They are really deep and they are into it. They are so much fun to coach; they want to compete in every race.”
Donahue said Darian Leo is coming into his own as a middle distance runner, a pack that also includes Lean Augusto Burg and Mohit Vallurupalli along with junior Cam Arnold.
The Hillers are not only the favorites to win the league this year, but could be a powerhouse for the next couple as well.
“If everyone comes back and continues to mature athletically, this is going to be a tough team to beat for a little while,” Donahue said.