As the celebrity among those at the Reggie Lewis Track on Friday night bent down to scratch some sand out of her cleat, the girls around her watched.
Whatever Amy Piccolo did on or inside the track, somebody seemed to be watching, perhaps trying to mimic her form, which, in the long jump, was far from perfect. Her all-out sprint connected to a stumbling leap is the opposite of what coaches tend to preach.
But those who win are often copied. And Friday night, Piccolo was again a winner.
The 5-foot-3-inch sophomore captured titles in the 300-meter and 600-meter race, adding a second-place in the long jump, to lead Ursuline Academy to a first-place finish at the Division 4 Indoor Track and Field Championship.
Ursuline finished with 62 points, followed by Narragansett (38) and Old Rochester (35).
“I don’t think we’ve seen Amy’s best yet,” said Ursuline coach Thomas Shaw.
Shaw’s satisfaction came in Piccolo’s performance, a 28-point effort that had the scorekeepers shaking their heads at the results table.
In the 600, which she won in 1 minute 36.16 seconds, Piccolo said she was trying to conserve energy. The last time she entered a race with that mentality, she set a personal record.
In the 300, in which she won in 41.30 seconds, she was trailed closely by her teammate, junior Merissa Wright, who finished in second, 1.13 seconds behind.
“Neither of those races were a piece of cake,” Shaw said. “There was some hustling and bustling, elbows, congestion — she had challenges in both races and hung tight.’’
Piccolo has passed each test she’s taken in her young career, with Friday night proving she can handle it on the biggest stage.
With girls yelling behind her, and fans from the stands calling her name, Piccolo is already dealing with some of the challenges that come with being an underclassman whose name keeps popping up in headlines.
“When I’m running, I’ll hear someone say something about me, but it makes me smile,” she said. “It’s all so exciting. I know I’m only going to get better, so if I keep working at it, I’ll keep improving.”
Manchester Essex sophomore Olivia Lantz became the first girl to post a sub-5-minute mile in meet history, finishing at 4:58.39.
On the boys’ side, Newburyport finished with 46 points, thanks to a winning time of 4:25.03 in the mile by sophomore Nick Carleo. Old Rochester was second (44), followed by Weston (42).
Old Rochester appeared in line for the overall title after junior Mike Wyman won the 1,000 (2:36.97), but he was injured during the race and dropped out of the 2 mile.
Despite losing two of its top runners to injury less than a week ago, Old Rochester cruised in the boys’ 4 x 200 relay.
“It was a scratch team,” said Old Rochester senior Kevin Noone of his team’s 1:34.54 winning time. “But we said we were just going to think, ‘You only live once,’ and see how it goes and put our best effort in. We beat the school record.”