Holyoke High Girls Indoor Track Team Breaks School Record


Maura Dulude, Herald Staff

Recently, a record was set for the Holyoke High girls indoor track team. The school’s 13 year precedent was broken on Saturday, February 18th at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston. A long and rigorous season of training led the girls team to finally break the record, which was  1:57.67 seconds. The new record is now 1:55.47. 

When the record-breaking student athletes collaborate, they make an excellent team. The group consists of Veronica Colon, a Junior, as the first leg, Francesca Crescentini, a Senior, as the second leg, Siobhan Armstrong, a Sophomore, as the third leg, and Jaylene Moquin, a Junior, as the anchor.

This is Siobhan Armstrong’s first year running indoor track. Last year, she participated in outdoor track, and looks forward to continuing her career throughout high school. She runs the 3rd leg of the 4×2 and 4×1, 100m, 200m, 55m, 300m and long jump for outdoor and indoor. 

Armstrong’s favorite part about track is being with her amazing teammates. She looks forward to completing her section of running, and supporting her fellow team members. Sometimes, she gets nervous on meet day, but now feels more confident than ever. 

“I loved doing the relay because it gave me a chance to get closer with these amazing girls. [Setting] a record with them was just the best,” Armstrong said.

The indoor track coaches are very supportive of their team. Armstrong appreciates the effort of Coach Matt because “he actually cares about what we do. I don’t think we would have been able to do what we did this season without him.” 

The indoor track team helps motivate their peers and encourages each other to work hard.  Armstrong stated that she “looks up to all members, [however], I’ve always looked up to Francesca [Crescentini]. She’s always gone out of her way to help me and everyone she can. We run literally all the same races and she coaches me with them and is always just being very supportive of me. She literally raised me in track, and I love being her mini me.”

Francesca Crescentini, the captain of the team, has been running track since Sophomore year.  Crescentini runs the 55m, throws shot put, high jump, and runs the 4×200 for indoor track. In outdoor track, she runs the 100m, 200m, 4×100 throws javelin, shot put, and high jump. 

Crescentini’s favorite part of track is the community building that comes with the sport. She stated that it is beautiful when everyone around her is going through the same thing, which can contribute to team building and friendships.  

“We’re all suffering through the workout together, anxious for the meets together and celebrating together. It’s amazing, and we are an unbreakable family,” Crescentini said. She reminisced on when the team broke the school record, saying that the team was celebrating, laughing and hugging each other. 

Originally, Crescentini was always scared of going to track meets. It put a lot of pressure on her, and she was terrified about failing. Still, her coaches reminded her that “it’s all in your head, you have the skills and training to accomplish this goal.” That phrase stuck with her, and helped her overcome the fear. 

Head coach Matt has always been on Crescentini’s side, supporting her since the beginning. She stated that he always encourages her to do her best, and she is eternally grateful for him. 

Crescentini will miss this team more than she can even comprehend. It devastates her that this is her last season with the team. She is extremely excited to see where her teammates will end up in the future and wants to thank all the people that have supported her every step of the way.  

This is Jaylene Moquin’s first season running track. She loves the people and environment within the sport. She also likes how track is an individual-based sport and that it is all about self improvement and not necessarily winning a race. 

Moquin has experienced her share of stress as well, saying, “I did have fears where I was embarrassed of my running form and scared to lose a race. But I improved and realized that track isn’t always about winning a race but more for self improvement. I realized where I was competing in fast heats that that was enough of an achievement when not always winning races.”

She has participated in the 300, 4×200, and long jump events for indoor track. Additionally, Moquin looks forward to continuing track in her high school career, and possibly in college as well. 

Moquin’s coaches have helped her improve, and fall in love with track. She said, in part, “I love all of my coaches where they each have their own coaching methods and personalities that I like.” Being on a supportive team is extremely important for growth. 

Moquin looks up to her friends Veronica [Colon] and Francesca [Crescentini] because they push her to work hard and know her limits. All of the girl’s hard work and dedication paid off. Jaylene’s favorite memory from track was the moment she realized she beat the school record for the 4×200 in Boston. Outside of track, Jaylene plays soccer, and is interested in trying outdoor track as well. 

Veronica Colon was a Freshman when she started track. She loves the sport and her team, calling them her family. She looks forward to being with her team, and she always enjoys the meets. During the indoor season, Veronica runs the 55m dash, and sometimes the 300m, 4×2 relay, and long jump. For the outdoor season she runs the 100m, and 200m dash. She also participates in 4×1 relay, and long jump.

Running track for three years comes with many beautiful memories for Colon. She remembers when the team qualified for the last chance qualifiers before breaking the school record. One standout memory for Colon occurred during the Sophomore year season. 

“It was the Western Mass finals and I had a lot going that week. I was preparing to run my second 400m ever as the first time I ever ran it I accidentally qualified for western mass. I really just did it to make my coach happy because I have much love and respect for him. That night as I prepared to take on the track, the lights were on and all that was present to me was the track. Once the gun went off , I just ran, ran, and ran…,” Colon stated.

She said there were many things she was running for during the meet. Colon then stated, “I could faintly hear the cheers as it was just me and the lit track. Once God brought me to the finish line, all I did was cry and jump into Francesca’s arms. She was the first one to come to me. She’s always been my rock and to just be embraced by love made me cry more. I don’t think she’ll ever understand how much that moment meant to me. It’s that moment that is my favorite. That exact moment is what made me appreciate life and her friendship. I ended up getting 6th in Western mass for my 400m which I forever credit my coach for.”

Colon’s team always keeps her inspired. She stated that the drive of the underclassmen motives her. Colon has come a long way since the beginning of her career, overcoming obstacles such as worrying what place she came in during the races, but has come to the realization that placement is not what she cares about. She is now focused on improving her technique. 

This indoor track season is definitely one to remember. Siobhan, Francesca, Jaylene, and Veronica have greatly demonstrated teamwork and success. The 2023 indoor track season started off as fun, but flourished into something more. All the girls on the 4×200 team have bonded over this unreal achievement. This competitive season really exemplified the drive and determination of the Holyoke High School track team. 

The Herald featured the 4×200 team on our Knightrider podcast in which they discussed their record-setting victory. Congratulations to all team members!