Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams capped off another strong season last weekend at the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association division III finals.
The girls finished 14th overall at the division meet held at Franklin Park in Boston, while the boys finished 15th. Only the top five teams advance to the all-state meet held tomorrow, also at Franklin Park.
Although the team failed to qualify, the Vineyarders’ Mark Reppert and Megan Dreyer individually qualified for the state meet tomorrow.
Reppert, a senior who joined the team only this year, finished 20th overall with a time of 17:18. Dreyer, only a sophomore and already one of the team’s best runners, finished 23rd with a time of 20:19.
For coach Joe Schroeder’s Vineyarders, the strong finish to the season continues a legacy of excellence that now dates back a decade. Both the boys and girls cross-country teams repeated as Mayflower League champions again this year; the eighth year-in-a-row for the boys and third year-in-a-row for the girls.
Coach Schroeder humbly deferred credit for the success from himself to the athletes.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a constant stream of dedicated athletes — and dedication has been key to this team’s success . . . every year we have kids committed to winning, which makes my job easier,” he said.
Mr. Schroeder said respect is another key to the team’s success. He noted that underclassmen practice and compete alongside upperclassmen, which goes a long way towards team-building.
“We treat everyone in our program as a varsity athlete. Everyone gets the same amount of respect, and in turn we expect the same level of commitment from everyone,” he said.
Coach Schroeder also lauded his two runners who qualified for the all-state meet.
“This is only Mark [Reppert’s] first year on the team. He moved here during his sophomore year and only started running track his junior year . . . but he has a passion for running you can’t teach. If you stop and think about what he has accomplished this year — in only his first year on the team — it’s amazing,” he said, adding:
“And Megan [Dreyer] also amazes me. Her specialty in track is the mile, but only after a year of cross-country as a freshman she qualifies for the states . . . she is a big part of this team and will continue to be for the next few years.”
After a five year absence, the Vineyard football team will return to the playoffs this year on the strength of a convincing 28-12 victory over Blue Hills Regional in Canton last Friday.
The win must be especially rewarding for the Vineyarders. In addition to securing a Mayflower Large League title and earning a spot in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 3A playoffs, the win also knocked out a Warriors team that squeezed out a grueling 8-6 win over the Vineyarders last year which knocked them out of the post-season hunt.
Following the game — and the Vineyarders’ celebration on the Warriors’ home turf — coach Donald Herman said the win provided a measure of revenge after last year’s tough loss at home.
“These guys remembered it. It was a little payback,” the coach said.
The Vineyarders’ (8-1 overall, 5-0 in the Mayflower Large) next game is under the home lights tonight against South Shore Vocational. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are available at the gate. The outcome of the game is effectively moot, as the Vineyarders have already wrapped up the league title and a spot in the playoffs.
Next week’s match-up against Nantucket (0-7 on the season) also has no postseason implications.
Last Friday, the Warriors (7-2 overall and 3-2 in the Mayflower Large) did an effective job of slowing down the Vineyarders’ option offense run by senior quarterback Mike McCarthy. But they were unable to stop it entirely, as McCarthy ran the ball 17 times for an impressive 91 yards and two touchdowns.
The Vineyarders opened the game with a 55-yard, seven play touchdown drive ending when Erik Dolliver ran 12-yards into the Warrior’s end-zone. The next Vineyarders’ score was set up by the special teams when Patrick Hart partially blocked a Riley Melo punt, giving them the ball at Blue Hills’ 41-yard-line.
McCarthy went back to work and engineered a 41-yard scoring drive that took nearly four minutes off the clock. The drive ended when he scored from four-yards out with just over a minute left in the half, giving the Vineyard a 13-0 lead at the break.
The Warriors’ Jordan Reed returned the second-half kickoff 69 yards to the Vineyarders’s 10-yard-line; and the home team finally got on the board when standout runningback Kevin Murphy pushed through the right side for a two-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 13-6.
But the Vineyarders answered right back with a 53-yard drive ending when McCarthy pushed his way into the end-zone from two yards out. McCarthy ran in the two-point conversion to make it 21-6. Blue Hills would add a late touchdown to make things interesting, but the Vineyarders recovered a fumble and four plays later Cody Brewer put the game on ice with a show-stopping 51-yard touchdown run.
Tonight’s game against South Shore Vocational is the final home game of the season and is also senior recognition night; senior players and their parents will be introduced before the game. Tickets will be on sale during the game for the Island Cup game next week.
A full preview of the Island Cup game will appear in next week’s edition of the Gazette.
The high school sailing team will compete in the Great Oaks Regatta in New Orleans this weekend, a well-known and celebrated regatta that attracts the top high school sailing programs from around the country. The Vineyarders qualified for the Great Oaks Regatta by winning the recent Arnold Brown Memorial regatta held here on the Island.
In that event, the Vineyarders bested a field of seven teams to earn a berth in the Great Oaks Regatta.
Brock Callen of Sail MV said yesterday that the team was honored and excited to compete in the national regatta. He said a successful fund-raiser was held last weekend to raise funds to underwrite the trip to New Orleans, and that Cape Air has generously agreed to provide round-trip travel to the regatta.
“I am proud of these kids and their coach . . . everyone affiliated with Sail MV is proud of them,” Mr. Callen said. “We have a strong program with some up-and-coming sailors. We look forward to hearing some good news out of New Orleans.”