Popusoi breaks meet record
Frontier hurdler Mairead Ferry placed second in the 400-meter event at Saturday's MIAA Central/West Division II Track and Field Championships at Fitchburg State University.
Mohawk sprinter Natasha Olanyk wheels toward her secons-place finish in the 400-meter dash Saturday in Fitchburg.
Mohawk's Josh Rode (6) is out in front early in the 800-meter run Saturday at the MIAA Central/West Division II Track and Field Championships at Fitchburg State University.
FITCHBURG — Vladimir Popusoi let out a yell and said to no one in particular, “Let’s go.” It was the Greenfield High School senior’s way of motivating himself for pole-vault competiton.
Popusoi set a meet record by clearing 15 feet Saturday in the MIAA Central/West Division II Track Championships at Fitchburg State University.
“He cleared 15 feet in practice this week, so we saw this coming,’’ Greenfield coach Stuart Elliot said. “His goals changed as the height went up.’’
Popusoi was hardly satisfied with 15 feet. He set the bar even higher at 15-3, narrowly missing that mark on each of his three attempts.
The next best marks were 12-9 by Frontier Regional School’s Jamie Binder (a career best) and Clinton High School’s Anthony Innamorai.
Popusoi, who immigrated from Moldova a decade ago, explained his ritual as he prepares to jump
“I’ve got to get pumped up,’’ he said. “I need to get a little big angry in order to convince myself it’s all in my mind. Your body can take anything and it’s important to convince your mind to take care of it.’’
Popusoi, who is bound for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the fall, will take his best shot at the state record of 16 feet at Saturday’s All State at Bridgewater State University.
“I thank God for my coaches who worked hard to get me to where I am today ,’’ Popusoi said. “You can’t go anywhere without good coaching.’’
Pioneer Reigonal School’s Darion Sadri also had a goal in the long jump.
“I wanted to go for 22 feet,’’ Sadri said.
He did better than that, winning the event at 22-9 to set a meet record. It was a case of Sadri rising to the occasion on the big stage.
“I do better with a crowd,’’ he said. “When you hear people cheering us on, it just pushes me to go further.’’
To exceed his goal by nine inches was something he never imagined.
“Words can’t describe how I feel,’’ Sadri said. “I knew I had to push myself.’’
This past season, Sadri, who also qualified for All-States in the high and triple jumps, has only reached 22 feet twice.
“Last season, I got 22 a few times, but I have fallen down and got back up,’’ Sadri said.
He has an even bigger goal for the state meet.
“I’m looking forward to pushing myself to 23 feet,’’ he said. “I’ll train hard this week. Hopefully, I’ll get it.”
Sadri finished second in the triple jump at 42-3, and took fourth in the high jump at 6 feet. Teammate Dan Bordner came in third in the high jump at 6-2 and qualified for All State. The Panther boys were the highest-scoring team from the Pioneer Valley with 32 points, good for sixth place. On the girls’ side, Pioneer’s Danielle Devine came in second in the high jump at 5-2 to qualify for next weekend.
It was also a great day for the Frontier girls. The Red Hawks took third place as a team, finishing a half-point behind Sutton. Notre Dame Academy of Worcester won the event with 63 points.
The Frontier boys finished in a four-way tie for 17th place with 16 points.
Frontier’s Saul Soto was third in the javelin with a toss of 153-10, while on the girls’ side Frontier’s Kimmi Logan took second in the pole vault with a jump of 9-9, a personal best.
“It surprised me a lot,’’ Logan said. “I just focused on making corrections like squeezing my legs together.”
The reason for that was because her previous best had been nine feet.
“I will work hard in practice and I hope to do even better next week at states,” Logan said.
Which is no surprise to coach Bob Smith.
“She had an outstanding day and became a big-meet jumper,’’ Smith said.
Katherine Miner of Frontier won the high jump with a leap of 5-4, while teammate Sarah Conlisk tied for fifth at five feet.
Frontier’s Mairead Ferry was fourth in 100-meter hurdles at 16.22 and placed fourth in the pole vault (9-3) to qualify for states.
The Red Hawks took two of the top four javelin spots. Ioana Teutsch placed second with a throw of 107-9 — one of only four girls to exceed 100 feet — and Katherine Conlisk finished fourth with a toss of 102-06.
Mohawk’s Natasha Olanyk secured second in the 400-meter run, setting a school record in 59.31 as the Warrior girls placed 12th overall.
“She had an outstanding day and she keeps getting better,” Mohawk coach Joe Chadwick said. “We had a good day, but there were teams that were better.”
Mohawk’s Josh Rode qualified for All State with a fourth-place finish (2:00.29 in the 800-meter run). The Warrior’s Leroy Page qualified in the discus and javelin. He was second in javelin (155-08) and third in discus (126-11).
“It was a great showing for Franklin County,’’ Chadwick said.
Athol High School’s Emily Casella also qualified for All-States in two events, placing second in the discus at 106-5, and third in the shot put at 36-11/2.
Mahar Regional School’s Ally Parker qualified for next weekend in two events. The sophomore won the girls’ long jump at 17-2, and took third in the pole vault at 9-3.