Trackside with Coach Lanner

Optimism for the future with young team


GWG Staff

The author (Megan Reid) with Coach Lanner. Megan is a member of the girl’s track team.

Megan Reid, Contributor

Mr. Lanner is well known as a history teacher in the halls of Abington High, but you might not know that he has been involved in track a lot longer than he has been teaching history. Coach Lanner has been a teacher for 13 years and coaching track and field for 22 years. But before that, Coach Lanner was a track athlete himself having excelled in events like the 50-yard dash (5.48 seconds record at Stoughton High), 200-meter (21.4 seconds record at SHS), 400-meter, and various relays at Stoughton High School and Northeastern University, and at the 1987 Pan-American Maccabiah games in Caracas, Venezuela where he won two gold medals in relay events. He had an opportunity to try out for the Maccabiah Olympics as a representative of Canada (his birthplace), but decided it was time to return to Northeastern, focus on his studies and his future as a teacher and coach.

Prior to coaching at AHS, Lanner coached at Sharon High School and West Bridgewater High School.  He says, “(When it comes to coaching) I am confident in my abilities, but not afraid to take advice from others.  And, he thinks being in the building gives him an advantage as a coach because he can to talk to the team members during the day and get a feel for how they are doing what’s going on. He says his favorite part of coaching is “seeing athletes progress throughout a season, and also getting them to enjoy the sport of track and field.”

It’s not a concern whether we win or lose; the focus is on the learning curve.

— Coach Brian Lanner

Boys Track

Lanner has many goals for the track and field season, especially for the team “to improve and stay healthy” because the team is small in numbers and can’t afford any injuries.  There are only 16 boys on the team this year, a harsh contrast to the usual number in the low thirties. “It will be hard to compete with the teams with numbers in the forties and fifties, but I believe we can hang in there,” said Lanner.

“The school population going down has hurt our numbers, and there are only a few upperclassmen.” said Lanner. This is true indeed; over 50 percent are underclassmen meaning they are much less experienced in the sport. However, he says he is excited about this because he believes this will cause the program to grow if the younger population takes an interest in it. He wants everybody to make improvements this season, and for the freshmen to find what they’re good at.

He especially wants a good year for the two captains John Lalli and Alex Nacopoulos. “I expect John and Alex will make it to states; anyone else will be a bonus,” said Lanner. John Lalli will run anything from the 400-meter to the 2-mile, and Alex Nacopoulos is traditionally a mid-distance runner. They are expected to be Abington’s two top performers.

“We have a decent amount of home meets,” said Lanner. The reason there are fewer meets is due to tri-school meets. The Abington team will face two schools at one meet as opposed to just one. There are still some dual meets, but the addition of tri-meets shortens the season, while they still face all of the schools needed.


People to watch

“I’m really excited about the underclassmen,” says Lanner. “Many are doing really well and I’m excited to see how they perform.” Freshman Brice Tolan is one to watch out for in the the 2-mile. Another freshman to look out for is Mike Broomstein at javelin and discus. Alex Freeman, Joe Fratalone and Cole McMahon are also expected to excel in field events. Lanner says that there are hurdlers being developed and “the one that is really impressing me is definitely Xavier Curney.” Another developing hurdler, is freshman Mohammad Zaidan. Some impressive sprinters are Bobby Carey, Jason Kinniburgh, Al Freeman and Cole McMahon.

Main focuses

With this group being so young, Lanner is going to focus on getting used to competition, excelling in events and training properly. “It’s not a concern whether we win or lose; the focus is on the learning curve.” He says this year they are battling the elements. “The weather conditions have led to several indoor practices and we have two new assistant coaches we are still trying to get to know.” The two new coaches are Mr. Campbell, who teaches history at the Frolio Middle School, and Ms. Montanez, an Abington resident and former track athlete. Despite this, Lanner wishes for a good 2016 track season.

2016 Roster

Freshmen: Mike Broomstein, Jason Kinniburgh, Justin Maskell, Holden Nilsen, Brice Tolan and Mohammad Zaidan

Sophomores: Bobby Carey, Xavier Curney, Joe Fratalone and Henry Johnson

Juniors: Alex Freeman, Cole McMahon, Abderahmane Naidjate and Sean Spencer

Seniors: Griffen Frye, John Lalli (C) and Alex Nacopoulos (C)