“I have had some outstanding individuals willing to sacrifice for the team. Alanna Poretta ran the 600 her entire junior year because we needed her there. Kristin Monaco made it to New England her junior year in the 55-meter dash and her senior year I needed her in the 600 for the team and she went on to make it to New England in that event.
“I can name someone from almost every season that did this. We have established a great culture among our teams — solid work ethic, sportsmanship, team camaraderie and wanting to get better not just for yourself but for your teammates.”
Plenty of coaches say similar things, but Derro seems to really mean it and he can back up his claims. During his tenure, Pentucket has won 15 Cape Ann League team sportsmanship awards, which is remarkable considering how successful the team has been, as well as three Joan Doherty MIAA/MSTCA team sportsmanship awards.
And it’s not by accident. At the beginning of the season, Derro stresses to his team, and the parents, the importance of sportsmanship. And, after each meet, he insists that no one gets on the bus until the entire area is cleaned up and the host team gets any help it needs.
For his part, while demanding hard work and sportsmanship, Derro strives to keep the track experience fun and he goes out of his way to promote his athletes. Over the years, for example, no one has been as reliable in submitting results to the newspapers, usually with comments and information about personal or team records.
Regarding the team’s success on the track and its reputation off it, Derro gives substantial credit to his assistant coaches and captains. That’s commendable, but long-time, consistent success — no matter how you measure it — always starts from the top.