Class of 1980
Maggie Rinaldi was one of the most dominant runners in Green Wave history. Slight of stature yet giant of heart, Maggie ran four seasons of track & field and helped a foundling girls’ cross country program to an auspicious start during her junior and senior years.
Beginning her fall season career as a field hockey player, Maggie made her mark as a sophomore for legendary coach Fran Zaloski’s Green Wave team by scoring the game-winning goal vs. previously unbeaten Weston.
Her heart was in running, however, so Maggie moved to the brand-new cross country team as a junior and made it clear immediately she had made the right decision.
For two seasons, she was unbeaten in regular-season meets, setting numerous course records. As a senior, she romped to victory in the inaugural Western Connecticut Conference meet, slashing 30 seconds off her own course record at Newtown High School along the way. She earned Top Ten finishes in state class and state open meets both years to claim all-state laurels and her team’s MVP awards.
Maggie displayed remarkable versatility in track & field, complementing her distance prowess with ability to excel in shorter distances, even distinguishing herself as anchor in 4 x 400-meter and 4 x 200-meter relays.
Her exploits included a sweep of the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 to spark a narrow dual-meet victory over Weston and a share of the 1980 WCC team championship. Maggie captured WCC meet gold medals in the two-mile as a freshman and sophomore, won the WCC mile and ran legs on the Green Wave’s victorious sprint relay and medley relays as a junior, and won the WCC 800 and 1,500 as a senior.
Maggie capped her Green Wave career at the state class meet with runnerup finishes in the 800 and 1,500 and then by anchoring the NMHS 4 x 400 relay to fourth place.
Among her best career performances was a quick-silver 56.9 anchor leg in the 4 x 400 at a 1980 state qualifying meet. She peaked as a distance runner with a superb 4:41.5 in the state 1,500, a clocking that would be competitive with the very best for many decades to come.
Maggie won numerous individual WCC titles, contended often for state honors and, perhaps most notably, she finished her NMHS career without ever losing an individual race to a WCC rival. In the process, she set a high standard for future Green Wave runners.