Ben Turnbull takes over the coaching reigns of not one, but two indoor track teams at Bishop McGann-Mercy this year, guiding both the boys and girls sides.
The teams are young, but Turnbull sees great room for potential and improvement.
“We will need a little time to get the young core of athletes to understand the sport of track and field,” he said. “I believe we have some athletes who will make states in the winter and spring and will go along to compete in college.”
Saying that, Turnbull felt the Monarchs will be “very good” in the distance and middle-distance races, hurdles and jumping.
“We might not have quantity, but we have quality,” he said.
The Monarchs have a number of promising runners on the girls team.
Start with junior Delina Auciello, an all-county cross country runner who will focus on the 1,000-meter run and one of several athletes who has “a very good shot” at reaching the state qualifying meet, Turnbull said.
Auciello will be joined by freshman Meg Tuthill, “a promising young distance runner,” who competed at the state cross country meet. She will concentrate on the 1,500 this winter.
Turnbull said he also has high hopes for sophomore Katrina Thomson, to whom he looks to set school records and run at the states in the 300.
A pair of seniors — Courtney and Caitlyn Walsh — round out the top competitors on the girls team.
Courtney is experienced in the 55-meter high hurdles and is “looking to really make a name for herself in her final season,” Turnbull said.
Caitlyn looks to have a busy season. Turnbull called her “a strong middle-distance runner.” She will run in the 300, 600 and 1,000 meters this season.
Four athletes are expected to anchor the boys team.
Senior Patrick Derenze, who will lead the distance events, “looks to have a breakout season,” Turnbull said. “He will be a strong runner who will be running in the state qualifying meet.”
Turnbull said he has high hopes for junior Luis Cintron and senior Robert Folkes in reaching the state qualifiers. Cintron will compete in the hurdles and the long jump, while Folkes will be the Monarchs’ lead shot putter.
Senior Thomas Kent will compete in the 55-meter dash and the long jump.
Turnbull brings some impressive credentials to Mercy. He was a nationally ranked runner for East Hampton High School. After running track at La Salle University, he was head cross country coach at Southampton College and assistant track coach for four seasons before the college shut down.