St. Mary’s Outdoor T&F Team Blog #1

Here’s the first of several team blogs that we will be featuring here on Bay State Running. Thanks to head coach Tristan Smith and his St. Mary’s track & field squad for getting things started .

TUESDAY: On your mark.

Get set.


Outdoor track is here with a bang. St. Mary’s is a small, co-ed, Catholic school in the heart of downtown Lynn, MA. The school goes from Kindergarten to grade 12, and next year will even offer pre-K. There are about 720 students enrolled from 6th through 12th grade, and MIAA rules allow middle schoolers to participate on any Varsity sports team that they can make.

This year, a record-breaking 72 boys and 58 girls signed up for the team, for a total of 130 athletes. This number will likely go down a bit as the season gets into full swing and everyone learns what a big commitment being a part of the track team is, which is why Coach Smith really emphasized that at the first team meeting of the year on Tuesday, March 19.

“There is no such thing as JV Track. If you are here, you are on the Varsity track team, and will be expected to participate as such,” Coach said.

It was on a slide called “things we are doing differently this year.” The St. Mary’s team has undergone a significant increase in participation and success in the past few years. Coach Tristan Smith (7th year at St. Mary’s) serves as head coach, alongside Assistant Head Coach Themo Liakopoulos (6th year), who coaches the throws. Coach Mark D’Amico, who has over 23 years of coaching experience and is in his third year at St. Mary’s, coaches the distance events. Coach Calie Bridges, who began as an intern in her senior year of college three years ago, helps with the sprinters, throwers, and the strength and conditioning portion, as Coach Calie is a certified personal trainer. Alongside these returners are two new coaches: Coach Beth Mooney, who is an avid runner and very active in the local Lynn running scene, and Coach Brett O’Brien, who graduated from St. Mary’s last year and was a multi-event athlete.

Since 2018, the St. Mary’s track team has more than tripled in size and has several accolades to its name, including the boys team first ever indoor track and field Catholic Central League Conference Championship last season (Coach Smith was named Coach of the Year that season). However, everyone knows that past success does not guarantee future success, which is why the team meeting emphasized that they would continue to change things to ensure that the team would continue to be successful.

WEDNESDAY: The first day of practice was a cloudy day at Manning Field.

Over 100 athletes poured out of school vans and the overcrowded cars of the seniors who drove them to make the trek to the track. It isn’t far for a track athlete, but transportation is key when you’re carrying several pounds of books and homework on your back.

We started with going over our dynamic warmup routine, which we do every day, and then broke into stations just to get a feel and appreciation for the sport. Each group did about 20 minutes of shot put, high jump, long/triple jump, and turbo javelin. For some, it was their first time experiencing track. For others, it was a chance to get the cobwebs off. Either way, it was a light first day focusing on the “field” aspect of the sport, which was a stark contrast to…

THURSDAY: There is a real element of camaraderie when everyone is suffering together.

Coach Calie and Coach D took charge leading the team to their first hill workout, and in a fashion that does not happen much during a track season, the whole team did the workout together – distance, sprints, jumps, throws, hurdles, and everyone in between. EVERYONE can get better from hills. And, for the first workout of the year, things went extremely well, especially as Coach D suited up and chased kids down. “Don’t let me be faster than you, Thomas!” Coach D called at one point to Thomas Hooks, a Division 1 High Jump commit whose PR is 6’3”. Thomas accepted the challenge and, with a burst of speed, avoided Coach D.

It wasn’t only Coach D and Thomas racing each other; everyone on the team got into the competitive spirit. Many did extra reps of hills (though they only had to do 5-10), like thrower Tyler Desmond (who did over 10) and sprinter Mia DeLeon (over 15). Some of the sprinters even joined Coach D at the end of the workout to do a distance workout after completing their own set of hills. Throughout the workout, a lot of friendly racing was encouraged and cheered on by their fellow athletes and Coaches. Competition within the team set the tone for the season and allowed the team to push each other to put effort into becoming a better athlete. 

Again, the teambuilding aspect of today has to be mentioned. As good as the workout was, the team bonding may have been an even more important aspect, as everyone got to appreciate the hard work that each of their teammates put in. 

While the weather cut week one short, we are already looking forward to next week and continuing to build on what we’ve worked on.

Share Your Thoughts