The Greens Farms Academy track and field program is only four years old. And, technically, it doesn’t even have a track to practice on.
Still, those who proudly represent themselves as Dragons shine once they get on a track, and some have risen to the top of their class on a New England regional level.
“I’m definitely happy,” varsity track coach Glen Colello said.
“We've got some athletic kids and having a track might bring in some more interest, but not having a track hasn’t slowed down the kids who are part of the program.”
While the GFA program does train at area facilities on certain days, much of the training happens right on campus.
This past spring, Kyra Inston ’18, who has established school records in her three events (discus, javelin, shot put), finished as New England runner-up in the discus.
This effort comes on the heels of GFA having Olivia Sullivan ’17 winning back-to-back New England championships in the high jump.
“I think [GFA athletic director Tauni Butterfield] is open to adding some things; a long jump strip, the high jump pit,” Colello said. “There will be additions as we go.”
Considering four years ago the program was nothing but an idea, the Dragons have come a long way in a short time.
In the fall of 2014, a group of student-athletes approached Butterfield with an idea: starting a track team. The athletic director, in turn, approached her cross-country coach, Colello, to take the reins.
“The school year had already started and there was no talk of a track team,” Colello recalled. “I think as the pressure mounted from the kids, she asked me to coach. Selfishly, I thought it would be a great pre-season for the cross-country team, but it was nothing like that.”
Instead, Colello found his program would draw a mish-mash of athletes who didn’t have a spring sport.
“Track is a sport where if you get an athlete, you’re halfway there,” the coach said.
This season, Colello took 20 athletes, half of whom went to the New England championships, a percentage and effort that impresses Butterfield.
“I’m very proud of what the student-athletes of GFA have done in building our track program,” Butterfield said. “The future looks bright and we’re going to do what we can to help them get better in the future.”
That might include some new equipment and training facilities on campus to help the program grow and succeed, she added.
“For now, the kids are having a great time and are doing well,” Colello said. “It’s a young group, but again they’re all athletes. We didn’t get the cross-country kids — they were playing tennis, baseball, lacrosse — but it’s turned into a sport of its own and it’s been fun.”
The future is looking bright, as well. Two of GFA’s top performers this past spring season — Samantha Freeman and Tim Northrop — were just freshmen.
“I’d love to have some more bodies and I’d love to be able to get to New Englands and maybe get the team into the mix,” he said. “It’s an exciting, fun sport to watch and it’s only at its inception. We’ll continue to grow.”