FITCHBURG — It would be interesting to ask the members of the Ayer boys track team if they know what the significance of Hickory High School is.
On Saturday at Fitchburg State College, the Panthers did their best rendition of “Hoosiers” as tiny Ayer High School left all the schools in the District in its wake by rolling to a MIAA Central Massachusetts Track & Field Championship.
The Panthers did it with style, building up an early lead on dominant efforts in the field events from D.J. Trinque and Garrett Lockard. They never looked back, winning easily with 76 points. Oakmont was second with 64. Rounding out the top five were St. John’s (44), Shrewsbury (41), and Wachusett (37), three of the largest schools in Central Massachusetts.
Ayer captured four first-place finishes on the day, and added two seconds, two thirds and two fourths.
“We thought we had a shot coming in,” said Ayer coach Jamie Lamoreaux. “I thought we could score 68 points and we ended up with 76. The kids were talking about this and they believed they could win it. They were ready and got the job done.”
The Panthers got off to a flying start in the first event of the day when D.J. Trinque won the shot put with a toss of 47-11.5, with teammate Garrett Lockard right behind in second (47-8.5).
“It was big to come right out and score 18 points in the opening event,” said Lamoreaux. “I was confident in that event, but D.J. and Garrett set the tone by going out and doing what we thought they would.”
But Oakmont battled back and took a 30-22 lead over the Panthers, setting the stage for possibly the biggest event of the day.
“The triple jump was huge for us,” said Lamoreaux. “Isiah Connor was second (44-11.75) and Antoine Payne third (44-0.75). I thought the triple jump would either make or break us and I was ecstatic with the efforts of Isiah and Antoine and the 14 points they scored were crucial.”
Trinque struck gold for a second time, capturing the javelin with a toss of 164-8. Lockard came big and finished off a productive day by winning the discus (151-6).
The other Ayer first-place finish was a meet record performance from the 4 X 100 relay team of Charlie Jones, Isiah Connor, Avery Campbell and Mike Iasevoli, who blazed a 43.95.
“They have been improving all season and worked really hard last week,” said Lamoreaux. “Isiah ran a great leg and pulled away. That event was the highlight of the day, because it was then I thought we were going to win it.”
Connor was outstanding and was instrumental in the championship, adding a fourth-place finish in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a clocking of 41.27.
“Isiah is an X-factor for us,” said Lamoreaux. “He ran a personal best in the hurdles and enjoyed a big day.”
Other Panthers points came from Jones’ third-place finish in the high jump (6-2), and a fourth from Iasevoli in the 200 meters (23.44).
“I said I wouldn’t be nervous today, but after 20 minutes I was pacing,” said Lamoreaux. “This might be as big a win as I’ve ever had as a coach, but a lot of credit goes to coaches Joe Scunziano, Peter McCarron and Mike Seguin. It is a group effort with us and everyone coaches each other’s kids.
“This is a tough competition with a lot of talent,” added Lamoreaux. “I’m sure that we are the smallest school ever to win it.”