STONY BROOK — Bishop McGann-Mercy is on the cusp.
While only in their second year since re-forming after the team was disbanded, the Monarchs’ boys track and field team is showing its first-year coach, Matthew Perry, that he has some pieces in place already to be competitive in all facets of track as well as some of the jumping events.
The Monarchs seemed almost immediately to follow Bradly Frabizio’s lead. After faulting in his first long-jump attempt to open Tuesday’s Suffolk County League VII meet at The Stony Brook School, Frabizio came back on his second jump, vaulting into the lead at 16 feet 9 1/4 inches.
The next jumper, Stony Brook’s Brian Jeong, beat Frabizio by four inches. Several jumpers later, the Bears’ Neal Hendricks leapt 17-11. Frabizio lined up for his last jump, determined to at least gain second place in the event. But he faulted. Frustrated, he slammed his palm into the infield grass.
Both that type of effort and result would repeat itself, as the Bears took the meet by the final score of 101-31. The Bears improved their overall and league record to 2-2 while dropping the Monarchs to 1-4, 1-4.
“They’ve got a good attitude,” Stony Brook Coach Jake Worley said of the Monarchs. “[Perry] is moving them in the right direction. I think he seemed very encouraging.”
Three events later, Frabizio had had enough time to forget the long jump result as he lined up for the 100-meter dash. He got off to a faster start than Stony Brook’s Justin Richards, but Richards came charging back. They barreled toward the finish line, seeming to hit the tape at the same time, in 12.2 seconds. But the officials awarded the win, barely, to Frabizio.
Frabizio had done, by inches, what his teammate Patrick Direnze had been unable to in the previous event. In the 1,600 meters, Direnze went out immediately ahead of Stony Brook’s best long-distance runner, Carlo Masakayan. After 400 meters, Direnze led by a step. After two laps, it was Direnze who was on Masakayan’s shoulder, drafting into the second half. It was not until the backstretch of lap three that Masakayan was able to put some distance between himself and Direnze.
In the final lap, Direnze faded into third place as James Jenden of Stony Brook overtook him. Masakayan won the race in 4:58.00. Jenden took second in 5:07.70 and Direnze was third in 5:11.70.
“They have some pretty strong runners there,” Masakayan said. “[Direnze] did give me a run for my money.”
A few events later, Direnze took control of the 3,200 meters from the opening gun and never looked back. After running the first of eight laps in 1:14, Direnze had a 10-second lead over Stony Brook’s Josh Kim. Direnze won the race by 29 seconds, with a time of 12:02.
The Monarchs’ final win of the day came from Matt De Landro in the 800 meters. Like Direnze and Frabizio before him, De Landro opted to go out in front. That worked for the first lap, but by the time De Landro hit the last backstretch, Stony Brook’s Jeffrey Fung had overtaken him and looked to be pulling away.
Just as quickly, though, De Landro reeled him in, and as they came down the homestretch, De Landro used his longer stride to his advantage. He outsprinted Fung to the finish line, beating him by seven steps with a time of 2:16.90.
“They’re good kids who are competing hard,” Perry said. “I don’t think they’re satisfied with just the win. I think it’s something that’s very commendable for them. They’re looking at their time and how to get better and what would happen if someone was a little better. And I think that’s really good.”
The Monarchs are still only halfway into the second year of their spring track program, but they have already given Perry one win after defeating Babylon, 82-49, last week.
“They don’t know how good they’re doing,” Perry said before the meet. “We’re not world-beaters, but we have some very talented athletes.”
Said Masakayan, “As a whole, considering Mercy is just starting, it’s pretty impressive.”