When Danisha Carter joined the track & field team at McGann-Mercy last year for the first time, she found the perfect mentor in Sasa Vann.
As an all-state sprinter, Vann finished her career last spring with multiple school records, including in the 100, 200 and 400 for the outdoor season.
“She was always the one to go to for anything,” Carter said. “I’ve always looked up to her and wanted to be, if not as good as her, just match up to her time wise.”
Now a junior, Carter has become the go-to runner for the Monarchs in sprinting events. And it didn’t take her long to match her former teammate in one event.
At the Suffolk Coaches’ Meet Saturday in Bay Shore, Carter ran 26.4 seconds in the 200-meter dash to break the school record previously held by Vann.
“It was a big thing for me,” Carter said.
It’s not often records fall so early in the season. Carter’s ability to run a personal best time at this point in the season speaks volumes on her potential.
Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said Carter has a good chance of making it to states later this spring. Babylon junior Ashley Lucas would be the toughest challenger to Carter in Division II, Turnbull said.
“Next year she could probably be top-three [overall] in the county,” Turnbull said.
There were no record runs for Carter Thursday, but she still did her part in helping the Monarchs roll past Ross School in a dual meet at Mercy. Carter won the 100 and 200 and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4 x 100 relay team.
The Monarchs cruised to a 105-27 victory against the short-handed Cosmos, who had only seven girls at the meet.
In a meet that didn’t feature much drama — several races had runners competing unopposed or only against a teammate — Carter and three teammates delivered the highlight.
In the 4 x 100 relay, Ross raced out to about a seven-meter lead after the first two legs. But Lindsey Woodhull quickly closed that gap after grabbing the baton on the third leg. By the time Carter received the baton, she had only a few strides to make up.
Carter surged into first and cruised down the final straightaway for the victory in :57.3.
“When we started I was like, ‘Oh God, we’re so far behind,’ ” Carter said. “But [Lindsey] picked it up.”
It was a mishmash group running the relay. For Carter it was her first time running the 4 x 1 after running the 4 x 4 in previous meets. Carter and Woodhull had never exchanged the baton before in the event.
“It was pretty good,” Carter said. “I’m glad [Lindsey] picked it up. We switched up positions in the beginning a couple times and then we got it down.”
In the 100 Carter ran 13.2 and in the 200 she ran 27.8.
Junior Delina Auciello won a pair of events Thursday for Mercy. She ran the 400-hurdles in 1:14.4 and the 1,500 in 5:36.8. Freshman Meg Tuthill won the 3,000 in 11:56 and was second in the 400-hurdles in 1:18.3.
Auciello finished third in the 3,000 at the Suffolk Coaches Meet in 11:22.1. Tuthill ran a 5:03.7 in the 1,500 at the same meet.
Against Ross, Adafih Blackburn won the 100-hurdles in :20.7 and Dayna Young won the 800 in 2:52.4. Maddie Joinnides won the 400 in 1:03.3.
The Mercy boys competed against Ross at the same meet Thursday and won in similarly dominant fashion. Ross had only seven boys competing and the Monarchs won 101-19.
Junior Matt Abazis won the 1,600 (5:10) and the 800 (2:11.7).
Junior Luis Cintron ran uncontested in the 110-hurdles and posted a time of 18.4. He also won the 400-hurdles in 1:03.2.
Riley Joinnides won the 400 in :57.1 and the 3,200 in a race all by himself in 11:41.9. Alex Fabrizio won the 100 in 12.3.