2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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By John Addyman

Jeremy Hassett, Ben McCormack, coach Joe Contario, Kevin Zappia, Alex Wysocki
   NEWARK (Jan 24 11) – Friday afternoon, Joe Contario got a surprise.
   A Newark high school staff member brought him a storage chest that had been in another teacher’s room for no less than 15 years.
   Inside the chest were track uniforms that dated to the 1980s.
   “Throwbacks,” thought Contario.
   But neat throwbacks. The longtime track coach showed the uniforms to his boys’ team that afternoon. “The boys wanted to wear them that night, at the Rochester Institute of Technology meet.”


   Their mothers might have had a thing to say about putting on clothing that had been sitting in a dark, warm trunk for a coupe of decades, but when the guys got to the meet, they were dressed as no Newark athlete has been since Ronald Reagan was president.
   Jeremy Hassett, Ben McCormack, Kevin Zappia and Alex Wysocki must have known something. The four members of Newark’s 4-by-800 Relay team, they were the ones who had the throwback uniforms on.
   And, it turned out, they had something to prove.
   When they ran the 4-by-800 that night, an effort demonstrating great sprints and textbook baton passes, they were being measured by a four-year old record of 8:36.86.
   The race ended, and four guys in old duds were all smiles: an 8:34.04 time.
   “I guess those uniforms were lucky,” said Contario.
   And later that night, he had to ask himself a question…did he wash the uniforms or fold them up carefully, keeping the magic intact, to see the light of day again at a state meet?

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