Gazette Girls Track & Field Player of the Year: Northampton senior Lauren McGrath
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Northampton senior Lauren McGrath has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »
When Lauren McGrath first came out for the Northampton girls track & field team, she had no idea what she was doing.
Fast forward a year and a half, and she had no idea just how much she meant to the team.
“I never thought I had that big of a contribution to the team,” McGrath said. “It feels great to be apart of a great team that’s had such a great track record and been a strong team the past couple years.”
McGrath finished undefeated in the shot put and discus during the regular season en route to scoring over 70 points for the undefeated Blue Devils.
“It was a hands down 10 points every meet,” Hamp coach Brandon Palmer said. “When you have points you can rely on it makes the competition a little easier.”
McGrath’s success extended into the postseason and for her accomplishments she was named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Player of the Year.
“I remember the first week my junior year, I just joined the (indoor) track team to keep in shape and I thought I’d just do the sprint workouts because it will keep me in shape. After a week I looked at everyone else and said I don’t think I really belong,” McGrath said. “Our (throwing) coach (Molly Brooks) didn’t let us pick up a shot the first week. My first throw was pretty terrible.”
McGrath threw 23 feet during a mock meet, then qualified for the postseason championship with a throw of 28 feet during the first regular season meet.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said. “I stayed consistent at 28 and 29 then I started gliding and jumped out to 32 and that’s when I started understanding the movement and what positions I needed to hit and the technique of the throw.”
McGrath played softball her first two years of high school, but stayed with track following her indoor experience. She was introduced to the discus during the spring of her junior year and that event proved more difficult.
“That was really challenging,” she said. “I had no idea what a discus was and never saw anyone throw it. My first day I was thinking, ‘Wow. I’m really terrible with this.’ It took me a little longer.”
A pair of 2010 Northampton graduates helped McGrath. Brooks was there from the start of her career.
“She has been an amazing coach,” McGrath said. “She is young herself so it wasn’t that long ago that she was doing it so she can relate to everything I was going through. Everything was fresh in her mind. ... She taught me everything I know. She has been a huge part in what I was able to accomplish.”
Angus Fisher, who throws for Keene State, helped the final three weeks this past season and offered some tips.
“When he was working with me everything clicked,” McGrath said. “I progressed tremendously. I got my technique down and my throws were increasing.”
At the District F&G championship meet, McGrath won the discus with a throw of 116 feet, 8 inches. She was also second in the shot put at 33-31/2.
At the West/Central championship, McGrath unleashed a school-record toss of 123-4 to win the discus. She was runner-up in the shot put (35-6) as well.
“I never thought that would happen,” McGrath said. “Going into my junior year I never thought about throwing 123 feet and breaking the school record.”
Her run ended at All-States. She was 16th in the discus at 99-9 and 19th in the shot put at 33-21/4.
“It was one of those days,” Palmer said. “With track and field you have more bad days than good days. You take a long ride out there, stand around in the sun and take some time between throws. It was a challenge.”
McGrath is headed to Siena College in Loudonville, New York, where she will major in business. The Saints do not have a track & field program.
Mike Moran can be reached at email@example.com.
Ariel Christie, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Katherine Conlisk, sophomore, Frontier Regional
Christina Delude, senior, Belchertown
Alexandra Dibrindisi, junior, Northampton
Mairead Ferry, senior, Frontier Regional
Catherine Lamond, senior, Northampton
Kimmi Logan, sophomore, Frontier Regional
Sierra Loomis, sophomore, Northampton
Mariel Lutz, junior, Northampton
Lauren McGrath, senior, Northampton
Kat Minor, sophomore, Frontier Regional
Khaila Ramirez, senior, Northampton
Ioana Teutsch, junior, Frontier Regional
Hope Werenski, senior, South Hadley
Grace Bailly, senior, South Hadley
Caitlin Burnett, sophomore, Frontier
Juliana Brissette, junior, Amherst Regional
Kanya Brown, junior, Amherst Regional
Sarah Conlisk, sophomore, Frontier Regional
Frances Duncan, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Savannah Emery, sophomore, Frontier
Eva Feyre Febonio, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Valdimira Fernandes, junior, Amherst Regional
Melissa Gagnon, freshman, Hampshire Regional
Rachel Harrington, senior, South Hadley
Allison Hoschtetler, sophomore, South Hadley
Maggie Mahoney, junior, Northampton
Taryn Marquis, senior, Frontier
Meg Rhodes, junior, Amherst Regional
Jessemie Rietkerk, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Ally Ruessling, sophomore, Hampshire Regional
Gretchen Savenson, freshman, Northampton
Serena Sarage, junior, South Hadley
Lydia Sawyer, freshman, Amherst Regional
Sophie Sharp, junior, Northampton
Abby Springfield, sophomore, Northampton
Angela Thibault, junior, South Hadley