A Year to Remember

Camryn Knowlton

From the outside, it might seem like Ipswich’s indoor track team makes effortless wins year after year. For the past few years, the track team has won boys JV CALS, and have won 3rd and 5th at State Relays. While it may seem that they always come out on top, it hasn’t been an easy battle. After seniors graduate, it can be hard for any team to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, in this case, the track team had an even harder setback. Last spring, the track family lost one of their beloved coaches, coach Ken Spellman. This hit the track team in a way that words cannot describe, but their resilience to rise up and win has shown the strength they are capable of. 

Coach Spell, a member of the Massachusetts State Track Association, coached at Ipswich for over 50 years. While he assisted other IHS teams, he seemed to find a home within the track community. Coach Spellman will always be remembered, not only for his work but also for his charisma. Spell fought a hard battle, as he continued to coach through his fight with cancer. Upperclassmen honor him and continue his legacy by reminding the team to work hard for themselves, the seniors, and Spell. 

One of the team’s first major victories was the hurdling team coming in first place at CALS. In an emotional video, senior Grace DeBoer talked about how important this achievement was. This was the first major competition the girls had competed in since the passing of Coach Spell. When asked if the passing of Spell pushed the team to do better, Grace answered, “Yeah definitely, I know it has at least for me. I know I’m not the fastest runner but I always told myself that even if I didn’t do well, Coach Spell would be proud.” In an emotional interview after their win, other members of the team, Isabelle Harper, Faith DeBoer, and Olivia Novello, explained how they knew Coach Spell was watching after them and extremely proud of this accomplishment. It was an incredible way to kick off the competition.

The track team’s next stop is the state championship. There, the hurdling team and the team’s best competitors will be giving it their all, and for some, it will be their last chance. The following seniors will be competing for their final competition: Annika Brink, Grace DeBoer, Heather Milano, Casey Nordburg, Pierce DeBoer, Alphonso Lopez, Jack Demarco, and Ethan Driscoll. As the seniors graduate, new juniors and underclassmen will have to step up and teach newcomers. 

After every season, sports teams come full circle. The seniors who became leaders at the beginning of the season will eventually leave the team. Every year seems to feel the same until it’s your turn to step on the track/field for one last time. Most seniors will be remembered for years on end, whether that is because of their skill or attitude while others’ legacies will last a lifetime. 

Coach Spell’s memory will go down in history, as it is honored in the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Hall of Fame. We wish the competitors the best of luck at the State Championship on February 16th and encourage all to come to support the team, the seniors, and Coach Spell.