To be a top-seeded relay team is one thing; to be a first-place relay team is quite another.
So many things can go wrong in a relay. A botched exchange or a dropped baton can mean the end of the meet for a team.
That understanding only made what the Bishop McGann-Mercy High School girls track and field team’s 4×400-meter relay team achieved last Wednesday all the more satisfying.
Victoria Cataldo, Sasa Vann, Kayleigh Macchirole and Olivia Schumann turned in a season-best time of 4 minutes 5.98 seconds to finish first among Division III teams on the second and final day of the Suffolk County Division Championships at Connetquot High School. That time crushed the 4:11 that the foursome posted earlier this season in the Penn Relays. The Monarchs have been chipping away at that time ever since.
“They were so ready to throw down a performance like that,” said McGann-Mercy Coach Tricia Nunez. “It was great.”
Vann called it “a great accomplishment.” She said, “I thought we had a good chance … but you never know what’s going to happen.”
What may be even greater yet is that the relay team, which will compete in the Section XI Individual Championships state qualifying meet on Friday and Saturday at Port Jefferson High School, doesn’t have a senior on it. Cataldo is a freshman, Vann is a sophomore and Macchirole and Schumann are both juniors. They could be together for another school year.
Mattituck senior Emily Ianno won the Division III pentathlon for the second year in a row, compiling 2,364 points, only 45 more than the runner-up, Bayport-Blue Point freshman Bailey Walker.
Ianno held a 61-point lead over Walker going into the last of the pentathlon’s five events, the 800 meters. She knew she needed to stay within five or six seconds of Walker in order to secure first place.
“That’s all I thought about, just [stay] close to her,” said Ianno.
Walker was second in the 800 in 2:45.48, and Ianno was third, a little over one second behind her at 2:46.95.
In the pentathlon’s other events, Ianno was first in the 100-meter hurdles in 17.22 seconds, first in the shot put at 29 feet 1 3/4 inches, third in the long jump at 14-6 1/2 and tied for fourth in the high jump at 4-4.
“Honestly, I thought that she could do it,” Mattituck Coach Jean Mahoney said. “I was excited, but it’s like when you take a test … you don’t want to be too overconfident.”
Vann apparently competed with confidence. She had quite a productive meet. In addition to her relay performance, she took second place in the 400-meter dash in 58.67. “That’s an amazing performance,” said Nunez. Nicole Hamilton, an Elwood/John Glenn freshman, won in 58.54.
But that wasn’t all the versatile Vann did. She was also fourth in the 100 in 12.86 and fifth in the 200 in 26.76.
Schumann did quite well for herself, too. She posted a personal-best time of 1:06.41 in the 400-meter hurdles, bringing her second place behind Sayville freshman Amanda Famularo, who clocked a time of 1:05.50. In addition, Schumann’s high jump of 4-10 put her in a tie for third place with Elwood/John Glenn freshman Jackie Malusa. Behind them, tied for fifth, were Mattituck senior Chelsea Ficner and Babylon senior Antoinette Negron at 4-8.
Macchirole was eighth in the shot put with a throw of 28-8 1/4.
All in all, it was a good meet for the Monarchs, who finished sixth in the Division III team scoring with 39 points. Mount Sinai was first with 130 1/2. Mattituck was 13th with 11 1/2.
“You couldn’t ask for more,” Nunez said. “The kids came out there, they dug down deep inside and gave everything they had. They didn’t leave anything in the tank.”
Riverhead finished fourth in Division II with 68 points, well below the 101 posted by first-place Kings Park. Still, it was a good showing by the Blue Waves.
Katie Skinner, a Riverhead senior who had won the 3,000 meters two days earlier, followed that up last Wednesday with a second-place showing in the 1,500. Skinner (4:51.24) was edged out at the finish line by Smithtown East eighth-grader Deirdre Connor (4:50.98).
Riverhead sophomore Melodee Riley, who had won the triple jump with a school-record distance of 39-3 on the first day of the meet on May 24, picked up a pair of second-place finishes last Wednesday. She was second in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:06.20, behind Eastport/South Manor senior Brittany Mailander (1:04.66). Riley’s long jump of 17-10 3/4 was second only to the 18-6 1/4 recorded by North Babylon senior Natalie Gadsden.
Riverhead’s 4×400 relay team was second in 4:05.94 to Eastport/South Manor (4:03.37).
Riverheaders Maria Schafer and Alexandra Ingram took third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault. They both cleared 8-6.
Alex Budd of Riverhead tied for third in the high jump with a height of 4-10. Another Riverheader, Samantha Di Resta, finished in seventh place, one place out of the scoring, in the pentathlon. In the five-event competition, the senior ran the 100-meter hurdles in 18.21 seconds, cleared the high jump at 4-4, threw the shot put 23-2 1/2, long jumped 14-1 3/4 and clocked a time of 2:49.96 in the 800.
In the shot put, Riverhead sophomore Savannah Smith was seventh with a throw of 83-3.
On a 90-plus-degree day, athletes tried to cool off by wrapping cold, wet towels around their necks, walking under sprinklers and wading into the water in the steeplechase pit.
Mahoney said, “It was rough.”