Lakes Region Champions!

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

This Shakespeare verse could best describe the 2022 Sant Bani School girls track and field team.  Already a small team with just 16 athletes, only 10 team members boarded the bus bound for the Lakes Region Championship Meet, held on May 24 at Winnisquam Regional High School.

What the team lacked in quantity, they made up for with quality.  Winning four events and scoring points in eight of the 11 events in which a team member competed, the Swans departed the meet as Lakes Region Champions.  Sant Bani School topped the 17-team field with 74 points, 14.5 points in front of runner-up Laconia.

As one team member said, “Not bad for a small school in the woods.”

“Track is a sport in which the depth teams with large rosters have often becomes a difference-maker in championship events, so it’s common for smaller teams to be considered underdogs,” explained assistant coach Nate Yinger. “Going into the meet, we knew that although our team is small, we have a talented group and that everyone would give their very best effort.  To then go out and win the meet with just 10 athletes is a testament to our group’s talent, determination, and desire to compete for each other.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the 2020 season and limiting the 2021 season to a handful of intra-squad meets, this spring marked the first regular track season for most team members.  Many athletes spent the first few meets trying a variety of events before settling into a particular event or event group during the second half of the season. 

Throughout the season, one of the team goals was to improve every day.  Ultimately, the hope is for each athlete’s improvement to culminate with a season-best performance during the final meet of the year.  During Tuesday’s meet, between the boys and girls teams nine SBS athletes and two relays recorded their best performances of the season.

Leading the team’s efforts were first-place finishes from Anna Warzocha ’22 in the shot put and discus; Elli Englund ’22, who remained unbeaten in the 1600-meter run; and the 4×400-meter relay of Casey Pietroniro ’24, Warzocha, Englund, and Ellis Pietroniro ’22.  Other place-winners – the top-eight finishers in an event – include Asa Gilman ’22 (2nd, shot put and 3rd, javelin); Kyra Russell ’23 (3rd, shot put); Ellis Pietroniro (5th, 400-meter dash); Eloise Abbott ’25 (7th, 1600-meter run); Natalie Allen ’25 (7th, 800-meter run); and the 4×100-meter relay of Kyra Felice ’23, Englund, and the Pietroniro sisters.  

Allen and Abbott became just the fourth and fifth, fifth-grade students in program history to qualify for the Lakes Region Championship.  

The boys were led by the 4×400-meter relay team consisting of Chris Boksanske ’22, Landon Jones ’24, Jakai Gage ’22, and Sebastian Jones ’22, who ran a season-best time by six seconds to claim second place.   Sebastian Jones was the team’s highest individual place-winner, finishing fourth in the 400-meter dash.  Other point scorers for the boys team include George Sutherland ’24 (5th, 800-meter run), Boksanske (6th, 1600-meter run), and Gage (8th, 400-meter dash).  The boys team finished 10th overall. 

“The SBS athletes set goals and went after them!” said head coach Wendy Pietroniro. “I am so proud of the effort they put into their events and the support they gave one another this season.”

By virtue of their top-two finishes, Warzocha, Englund, Gilman, and both 4×400 relays qualified for the New Hampshire Meet of Champions, which will be held in Manchester on Tuesday, June 7.  

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