Tanners alum Vieira aims long at Worcester State

Peabody native Marcus Vieira is in his junior season with the indoor track team at Worcester State. (COURTESY PHOTO BY FRANK POULIN )

WORCESTER — The Peabody High track and field program has plenty to be proud of in Tanners alum Marcus Vieira.

A 2015 Peabody graduate, Vieira took his talents to the indoor and outdoor track teams at Division III Worcester State University and has found himself a home, and a key role, as a thrower for the Lancers.

In fact, this winter season has been a year of records for Vieira as he broke Worcester State’s record in the weight throw at the Tufts Invite #1 on Jan. 13. Vieira, who also held the previous record, threw for a distance of 18.71 meters to earn the school’s top mark.

“I broke it last year and then a week later one of my teammates (Sam Weeks) broke that,” Vieira, a junior, said. “Breaking it this season was great because it gives me a base to work off of for the rest of the season. My goal is to break that record every meet. It’s a great mark, but there’s still a lot more to accomplish.”

He set the previous record, 18.42 meters, at the Husky Indoor Invitational on Dec. 9. Two days later, Vieira was named MASCAC Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week.

Most recently, Vieira earned a sixth-place finish at the All New England Championships on Feb. 3 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. His mark of 17.61 meters helped the Lancers to a 14th place finish in an event that included Division I, II and III programs.

“I set goals high because last year I missed indoor and outdoor nationals by one slot,” Vieira said. “That was something that really burned a hole in my head. I put in a lot of work throughout the offseason, lifting weights with my teammates. It feels good to have opened the season so well.”

Prior to the start of each season, Vieira sets a pair of benchmark goals for himself. His “reach” goal is to break the Division III throwing record, which currently stands at 21.75 meters. His “realistic” goal is to continue to break his school record and increase his throwing distance on a meet by meet basis.

“There’s reach goals and realistic goals,” Vieira said. “My reach goal is to break the throwing record in Division III. I wake up every morning looking at that. It’s a little far from my PR (personal record) but I’m motivated to reach it. My realistic goal is to get to 20 meters. I’m right around 18.70 meters right now.”

In his days as a student-athlete at Peabody High, Vieira kept a busy schedule year-round as he played football in the fall as an offensive/defensive lineman and threw for the indoor and outdoor track teams in the winter and spring, respectively. During this past offseason, Vieira returned to his alma mater to train with former and current Tanners.

“I practiced at home in Peabody with some of my former teammates and current Peabody High athletes,” Vieira said. “We all try to stay connected to help out. It felt great to be back home.

“I’d throw the hammer three times a week,” Vieira added. “We go to the gym regularly on campus at Worcester. We play basketball pretty often. We’re a great group of people.”

Vieira isn’t the only star athlete representing the North Shore on the Lancers roster. In fact, Worcester State carries five other locals in sprinter Michael Butten (Marblehead), thrower Anthony Christo (Peabody), multi Anthony Em (Revere), sprinter/jumper Giovanny Guzman (Salem), and jumper/hurdler Justin Lewis (Lynn). Lewis, a sophomore and Lynn Tech alum, has been named the MASCAC Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week for the past two weeks.

“It’s huge because we always joke around and say ‘the North Shore’s taking over,'” Vieira said.  “Justin Lewis is an amazing jumper. Over the summer, we all meet up to practice, we’ll play basketball or go swimming. It’s a close-knit team. For a small school, we’re really close.”

On the academic side, Vieira’s a criminal justice major with an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement.

“Balancing school and track was tough my first two years,” Vieira said. “The last two semesters, I’ve started to figure things out. I pulled off a 3.2 and a 3.4 GPA. Things are going well. It’s tough but at the same time, you’re teammates are always there to help. We’ll all sit down and have study halls. We all help each other out.”

Vieira added that the success he’s earning at Worcester State wouldn’t have been possible without a strong support system in his corner. That includes coaches, teammates and family members.

“Our coaches take a lot of interest in how you’re doing,” Vieira said. “That includes school and your spare time. Their goal is to make sure you do well in school and make friends on the team. Every year, it’s the same thing. Our coaches do a great job making sure we have a great time.

“My family has given me a ton of support,” Vieira added. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them and I’m really thankful for all their support.”

Vieira and the Lancers are back in action Saturday when they troop to Providence for the MASCAC Championships.

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