Girls Track and Field: Unbeaten Monarchs take third straight league title
Three consecutive years as the Suffolk County League VIII girls track and field champions.
Make that three successive years as unbeaten champions.
Yet, it never gets old for the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs.
“You can’t ever say that it gets tired because every season you get new kids in,” Coach Tricia Nunez said. “It’s a great accomplishment for any coach to be able to get a team to that point. It’s all them. All we do at this point is cheer. We’ve given them the workouts. We’ve given them the training. And when they come to the meets, we’re here to cheer them on and support them.”
Nunez and her assistant coach, Gregg Cantwell, had plenty of reasons to cheer and be cheerful as the Monarchs (6-0, 6-0) clinched the title in their last dual meet of the season, a 95-54 win over previously unbeaten and host Port Jefferson Royals (5-1, 5-1) last Wednesday.
“Its really exciting,” said senior Olivia Schumann, who won three individual events and was part of a winning relay team. “We work so hard. We train in the rain and snow. It’s so exciting especially [since] it’s my senior year because we just really wanted this.”
Another senior, Kayleigh Macchirole, who captured three events and finished second in another, admitted she entered the meet with some trepidation because she knew how good the Royals were.
“Well, for the team, I was really nervous because I know Port Jefferson is the team to beat,” she said “They are our biggest competition in the league. We all kind of brought our ‘A’ game today.”
Many of the Monarchs did on a sunny and warm afternoon, although Schumann and Macchirole were not at full strength.
Macchirole fought a cold and slept on the team bus on the way to the field. “I was a little tired,” she said.
But not tired enough to slow her down en route to wins in the 200-meter run (26.6 seconds), shot put (29 feet 11 1/2 inches) and discus (86-2), Macchirole took second to teammate Sasa Vann in the 400, who won in 59.4.
“I’m satisfied,” said Macchirole, who noted that she achieved three personal records. “I cut off a lot of time in my 200. I was close to the my goal in the shot put and I threw a lot over my PR in discus.”
Schumann said she had “really bad shin splints.” Yet, she emerged victorious in the 100 (13.0), 400-meter intermediate hurdles (1:09.9), the high jump (4-10) and anchored the winning 4×100 relay team (53.1).
“I kind of coasted,” she said. “They told me not to kill myself. I’m running this weekend, so they wanted me to try to take it easy if I could.”
It’s not an easy balancing act when you’re trying not to overdo it while striving to win.
“A lot of it is knowing what the other team has,” Schumann said. “If you don’t, then you kind of suck it up and run. I don’t feel the pain when I’m running. I just feel it after the fact. I’ll worry about that when the race is over.”
Nunez said that having talented competitors and role models such as Schumann and Macchirole has been an absolute joy.
“They’re [the] kind of athletes that a coach dreams of having,” she said. “And having two of them on one team, you feel like you’ve hit the Lotto. On top of their extremely talented abilities on the track, they’re super people that work for the team.”
Other Monarchs who won included Meg Tuthill in the 800, Isabella Franz in the 1,500 and Lindsay Gelling in the 1,500 racewalk. McGann also finished first in the 4×400 relay (4:32) and 4×800 relay (11:10.2).
But the biggest surprises came in the 400 intermediate hurdles and the 800. Tori Cataldo, running the 400 intermediate hurdles for the first time, finished second in 1:13.8.
Fiona Nunez took 20 seconds off her time in the 800 for a personal record.
“You usually don’t see something like that,” the coach said. “She ran the 800 at the beginning of the season and really struggled with it.”