In track and field, success can come in various shapes and sizes.
For the Riverhead High School girls winter track team, that meant some impressive finishes at the Stanner Games on Saturday.
For Bishop McGann-Mercy, that did not necessarily mean wins, but personal career bests at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.
“It couldn’t have gotten a whole lot better,” McGann-Mercy Coach Gregg Cantwell said. “Every girl that came and ran had the best times of her career.”
The same thing could be said of Riverhead, which also had the bonus of second- and third-place honors in a pair of races.
Blue Waves Coach Becky Winkel felt the competitive atmosphere brought out the best in her team as Riverhead rose to the occasion. More than 120 schools — from Long Island and upstate — competed in the annual meet.
“They loved being there and it showed,” she said. “You get to see all your athletes in a different light in a more competitive venue. You also can see other competitors out there. You can see the best of the best.”
“It was very different than what they’re used to in the crossovers at Brentwood,” said Winkel, referring to Suffolk County Community College West.
As it turned out, some of the best came from Riverhead.
Juliana Marcucci earned second place in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5 minutes 22.22 seconds. St. Anthony’s Victoria Ciotti finished ahead of her by less than two seconds in 5:20.87.
Winkel said Marcucci had run the mile at the Armory two days earlier. “She’s definitely consistent now,” said the coach.
The Blue Waves’ freshman sprint medley relay team of Carolyn Carrera, Sidney Kito, Danielle Thomas and Rachel Conti cut 10 seconds off their best time en route to a third-place finish in 4:41.54. They were a little less than three seconds off the pace set by first-place Longwood.
While the 4 x 200-meter relay time did not place, the quartet of Fatima Brown, Wynisha Hatcher, Christie Brewer and Tyesha Harrel took the 20th spot in 1:56.61, pleasing Winkel. “They ran really well together,” she said.
Individually, Brown finished 28th overall in the long jump (15 feet 8 inches) and Hatcher was 37th in the triple jump at 30-0.
“It wasn’t her best, but it was substantial,” Winkel said of Brown.
While McGann-Mercy did not place among the leaders, Cantwell was encouraged by the improving performances. He cited the performances of three girls who recorded personal bests:
o Senior Lauren Woodhull, who took one-quarter of a second off her 55-meter dash for a 7.97 clocking.
o Seventh-grader Meg Tuthill, who turned 13 a day prior to the games, sliced 11 seconds off her 600-meter best at 1:52.
o And senior Kayleigh Macchirole, who was timed in 43.86 in the 300-meter run, taking a second off her previous best time.
They certainly weren’t the only McGann-Mercy athletes to excel.
Other personal bests were recorded by senior Olivia Schumann (44.35 in the 300), junior Tori Tremble (46.76 in the 300), freshman Delina Auciello (1:47.4 in the 600), junior Emily Venisina, who is back from an injury (1:53 in the 600), sophomores Cassidy Lessard and Isabella Franz (3:26.9 and 3:24.9, respectively, in the 1,000), junior Lauren Valley (6:23 in the mile) and eighth-grade Delany Macchirole (8.33 in the 55).
“It’s really rewarding. It’s more of a sense of satisfaction,” Cantwell said. “It’s more of a snowball affect. They see it’s not mindless running at practice. It’s paying off.
“Every girl found themselves in a heat where they were challenged. The meet is pretty deep. What we were looking for is everyone getting personal bests so they would get better seeds later in the season.”
Later in the season is right around the corner . The Suffolk County championships are set for Suffolk West on Feb. 5, followed with the state qualifiers at the same venue a week later on Feb. 12.
Shoreham-Wading River senior Shannon McDonnell earned third place in the 600 in 1:39.08, almost five seconds behind the winner, Olicia Williams of St. Anthony’s (1:34.12). Sophomore Laura Lee was 17th in 1:42.90. On Sunday, McDonnell captured first place in the Rockland Invitational in a school-record 1:29.7.
In the 1,600, three Wildcats finished within seconds of one another. Senior Danielle Opatovsky was 52nd (5:53.91), junior Audrey Kelly was 54th (5:54.03) and eighth-grader Rose Andrew was 58th (5:56.17).