WHS boys and girls track teams find success at Twilight Meet


Nicolas Barbieri, Editor

   The Weston Twilight Invitational meet is an annual track and field event hosted by WHS and Regis College. Though teams that competed at the Twilight meet were not trying to win a title as no points are awarded for races, the competition at Twilight means that many runners can break personal records. 

   Both the girls and boys WHS track teams were expecting lots of success going into this year’s Twilight meet because of their various earlier accomplishments this year. In February, the WHS girls track team won the state indoor track and field championship, repeating their title from last year, and the boys continued their streak of strong performances in the outdoor season with a Division 5 state relay win. 

   The Twilight meet, one of the larger meets in the Massachusetts area, has always been hosted by WHS since its founding.

   “We began the meet in 1998 when Weston first put lights on Proctor Field,” head coach John Monz said. “There were no other meets under the lights anywhere in Massachusetts at the time, and we thought it would be great fun. The only other major meets were the MSTCA Invitational and the State Relays, so there was an opportunity [to host one of our own].”

   There was a string of strong performances on both the boys and girls sides during the Twilight meet. In the long jump, senior JoJo Uga cleared the 22-foot barrier, jumping 22’1”, only three inches off of the school record. Another long jumper, freshman Oscar Torres, broke the previous freshman record that had stood for 31 years at WHS with a jump of 20’3.5”. 

   On the girls side, junior Sloan Hinton ran a personal best of 1:05.17 in the 400m hurdles, the second fastest recorded time in Massachusetts this season at the time of the Twilight meet. Senior Olivia Jackson took sixth place in the two-mile run, with a personal best time of 11:23.53.

   Another positive of a meet as large as the Twilight meet is that it allows for competition in less common relays. For example, the Weston mixed 4×4 relay team, which does not get to compete often and consists of two girls and two boys, took gold at the meet.

   For many new runners, the Twilight meet was the first time they experienced a large, state-wide competition. 

   “The Twilight meet was a really cool and unique experience that I hadn’t had before,” said sophomore Claudia Morzano, who competed in the 400 hurdles and the mixed 4×4. “It was dark and there was a huge turnout with a lot of competitors, which made the atmosphere super fun and just overall very different than other meets.”

  The success many WHS track members experienced at the Twilight meet matches the overall high level of performance the team has experienced all season.

   “I think I’m not the only one who sees the very high potential that we have this year, and many other kids on the team think we can win [the DCL],” Palmer said. “With that being said, we are all very energetic and are competing at 110% every meet. There is lots of energy and [the team is] always positive.”

     Senior Davis Palmer, a critical member of the 4×100 team that set a meet record at State Relays earlier in the season, believes it to be one of his best races in the 2023 season.

   “My favorite race so far was the 4×100 at the state relay meet,” Palmer said. “The handoffs were all solid so it felt like a good win.”

The track team’s success on both the girls and boys fronts have been featured in the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. Much of the team’s success is credited to their highly acclaimed coaching staff and team atmosphere.

   “The track team has been off to a great start thus far,” sprint coach Danielle Mitchell said. “I’m hopeful the team will end up in the top ten for the season.” 

   Under the management of a quality coaching staff, many athletes who performed well at the Twilight meet, new and old, have improved greatly during the 2023 season. 

   “There are a few members of the team that I coach directly that I’d like to highlight who have been having a great season since the start and those athletes are Solana Varela and Jojo Uga,” Mitchell said. “[They] have made tremendous improvements and showed great leadership.”

   The success of individual athletes during the 2023 season contributed to the team’s overall success. 

   “Contributing to the team felt good. [Track] is a very social sport,” said senior and track captain Gauthier Bodet, who qualified for New Balance nationals in javelin. “You get to hang out with friends and talk to the other team before competition.” 

   Competitors such as Bodet are critical for winning the track team important points in meets such as the State Relays. The importance of individual events brings the team together despite the individualistic aspect of the sport. 

   “The team built off of each other’s energy [at the Twilight meet] and were very supportive and encouraging,” said Morzano.  “It was a really great mix of fun competition and teamwork, and as a team we all worked together.”