Kayleigh Macchirole will, in effect, be trading in one green uniform for another, but still, it’s a big move.
The Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School senior signed a national letter of intent on Friday to accept a full track and field scholarship from Wagner College that is valued at $22,000 per year.
“It’s a little scary, but I’m also like really excited because I really like track, and knowing that I’m going to be able to go to a college and be able to do something that I really love doing is a really good feeling,” she said.
Macchirole is undoubtedly a winner. She has known little else during her time at McGann-Mercy.
The signing ceremony at the school’s renovated chapel came two days after the undefeated Monarchs (6-0) sealed their third straight Suffolk County League VIII dual-meet championship with a 95-54 victory over the Port Jefferson Royals. “It’s been a really exciting week because Port Jeff is such a big thing and now I’m signing with Wagner,” said Macchirole, who had also considered Sacred Heart College (Conn.), Assumption College (Mass.) and Bryant University (R.I.).
Macchirole, a Greenport resident, has never seen the Monarchs lose a dual meet in her three years on the team,. During that time the Monarchs went 21-0. An accomplished tennis player as well, she has never experienced a losing season at the school in any sport.
“Mercy is very, very proud of Kayleigh,” McGann-Mercy’s athletic director, Paula Nickerson, said. “She’s definitely competitive and you can see that she means business when she’s out there on the track, and that’s what I like about her.”
Macchirole, who was a member of McGann-Mercy’s all-state 4×400-meter relay team last year, has been enjoying quite a season. She has recorded personal records in the 100 meters (12.9 seconds), 200 (26.6), 400 (1:00.4), 800 (2:29), discus (86 feet) and the shot put (29-11 1/2). It hasn’t been by accident, either.
“Kayleigh comes to practice every day and really wants to get better,” Gregg Cantwell, the team’s assistant coach, said. “She has goals. She sets them high enough where they don’t come real easy, and she knows she’s not going to get there without any hard work.”
Macchirole has come a long way since first taking up track and field as a sophomore.
“I like how competitive it is,” she said. “After my race, it’s really a nice feeling to know that you did your best. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of really hard work. Even when you don’t want to do it, you still always have to.”
A team leader who leads the team in warmups along with fellow captain Olivia Schumann, Macchirole sets an example for younger athletes. Even though the race will mean nothing to her personally, she will run in the 4×800 relay at the Loucks Games in White Plains on Saturday in order to help four teammates who are trying to reach a qualifying time for the state qualifying meet.
“She’s running another hard race that she doesn’t want to do because it’s not her favorite, just to help the team,” Cantwell said. “That’s what kind of a leader she is.”
Macchirole, whose younger sister Delaney is an eighth-grader on the team, has more work ahead of her. She said she wants to run in a national meet and break 1:00 in the 400.
Cantwell said he knew Macchirole is capable of running at the NCAA Division I level for the Seahawks.
“She’s going to fit right in, and hopefully she just takes off and hits the ground running,” he said. He added: “Unfortunately, we have to lose Kayleigh, but that’s how it works. It’s tough losing a senior, one of your top point scorers and one of the most well-rounded, nice kids on the team. You can’t really replace a kid like that.”