2022-23 Gazette Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year: David Pinero-Jacome, Amherst
|Published: 04-13-2023 12:19 PM
Winning a state title isn’t just about talent and hard work – though that certainly plays a large part of it.
For Amherst junior David Pinero-Jacome and his coach Bob Rosen, it was also about planning.
The two spent the season experimenting with different racing styles during meets, working to craft the perfect plan that would set Pinero-Jacome up for success in the postseason. Though he’s known for his endurance running, Pinero-Jacome’s torrid speed shines best on the track in the mid-distance events. After running a lot of 600 meter races last year, this year he focused on the 1,000.
“He has a lethal kick, his kick is ferocious,” Rosen said on Pinero-Jacome. “So we said OK, the best case scenario is if the race gets out pretty quickly, you can get right behind the leader – the pace is fast enough and then you bide your time and when the race needs to be won, you outkick everyone.”
Hurtling into the final lap at the MIAA Division 3 Indoor Track & Field Championships, Pinero-Jacome was seated firmly in third, tucked behind Oliver Ames’ Aidan Dupill and Walpole’s Sean Kerin. With about a lap to go, Pinero-Jacome turned on the jets, chasing down Kerpin along the back stretch and then flying around Dupill in the final turn. He crossed the finish line far ahead of his competitors, his goal finally achieved – his first state title.
“It was a special feeling,” Pinero-Jacome said on winning his first state title. “It was a lot of hard work throughout the months put in by me and my coach Bob. We’ve been planning on this since the beginning of the season.”
Pinero-Jacome was the only boys’ track competitor in the Gazette’s coverage area to win an indoor state title, and for that and his consistent top finishes all year, he was selected as the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
Pinero-Jacome is fiercely competitive, and after not getting the results he wanted in cross-country season, he came into his indoor track season with one main goal – a state title.
“There's been a few runners (I’ve known) that have been as competitive as him, but not many,” Rosen said. “He’s special in his competitive zeal, and he’s hard on himself when things don't go perfectly well. But he bounces back and he's ready to figure out how to get better still even when the result wasn’t what he wanted.”
Pinero-Jacome used this season as a giant experiment, figuring out what did and didn’t work for him in different races. Some competitions he used as a workout, others were against faster runners that gave him a better idea of what states would be like. But besides focusing on winning a championship, Pinero-Jacome also came into this season looking for a different mindset.
“I wanted to be able to control what I can control. I know sometimes in life there's just nothing you can do. There's external variables that you just have to deal with,” Pinero-Jacome said. “I think part of running really gives you this patience in life so you can deal with things even if they don't go the way you want them to.”
While Pinero-Jacome was focusing on his individual goals, he also recognized that he was a key part of the Amherst track team as a whole. Besides his personal races, he ran in the team’s relays as well, competing in both the 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays.
“He also was great for the team because he often ran his open race and then he ran the 4x800 and then the 4x400 with almost no rest, because he's so good,” Rosen said. “We needed him.”
As hard as it can be to compete in multiple events, especially relays that are run so closely together, Pinero-Jacome enjoyed the different style of running that comes with a relay. Usually, his twin brother Miguel would lead off the relays and he would anchor, but injuries kept Miguel on the sideline at the end of the year. Instead, Pinero-Jacome ran with Amherst mainstays Kyle Yanko and Diego Lopez and freshmen Nico Lisle and Owen Platt throughout the season.
“Running with a relay, it's more of a connection to your teammates. You're running not just for yourself, you're running for other people and I think that really helps,” Pinero-Jacome said. “It’s a lot more fun. It's more passionate… I think we all really push each other to be the best we can.”
Heading into outdoor season, Pinero-Jacome will keep learning from his races, crafting more plans as he continues to improve. Wherever he goes from here, Pinero-Jacome will keep working on controlling what he can control, and bouncing back from whatever setbacks might come his way.
Juan Jose Adams Causton, junior, Northampton
Ryland Breen, sophomore, Northampton
Nick Brisson, junior, Hampshire
Ben Cachiguango, sophomore, Frontier
Tim Cahill, junior, Hampshire
Gavin DaFonte, junior, Hampshire
Evan Hedlund, eighth grade, Frontier
Rowan Hodgson, senior, Northampton
Jack Kamins, sophomore, Northampton
Theodore King-Pollet, junior, Northampton
Diego Lopez, senior, Amherst
Jude Mourad, senior, Northampton
Davis Wheat, junior, Northampton
Kyle Yanko, junior, Amherst
Nicholas Elias-Gillette, junior, Hampshire
Jake Fein, senior, Northampton
Zach Jones, junior, Hampshire
Jaiden Kudelka, junior, Hampshire
Jack Laliberte, sophomore, Hampshire
Nico Lisle, freshman, Amherst
Miguel Pinero-Jacome, junior, Amherst
Owen Platt, freshman, Amherst
Elijah Quinn, junior, Holyoke
Will Reading, sophomore, Frontier
Spencer Reese, senior, Hampshire
Aidan Valderrama, junior, Frontier