Girls Track and Field: Three Mercy seniors pick prom over finals

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Bishop McGann-Mercy's Delina Auciello, Miller Place's Kate Pouder and Mount Sinai's Nina Volino during an 800-meter heat.

Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School seniors Kayleigh Macchirole, Olivia Schumann and Lauren Woodhull qualified for the finals in their respective races at the Suffolk County girls track and field championships, but there is no way they can win a title on Thursday, the final day of the meet.

Instead, they have decided to attend their senior prom, which is scheduled for the same day. That decision wasn’t made lightly by the athletes.

“It was probably one of the toughest decisions that these kids have had to make so far in their young lives,” said McGann-Mercy coach Tricia Nunez, who added that she understood her athletes’ plight.

“It was a tough decision, but you only get one prom,” Macchirole said.

They might be athletes — top-flight athletes — but they also are teenagers who want to be, well, teenagers and like everyone else.

“I’m looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun,” Macchirole said. “I’m bummed that I can’t be there.”

Woodhull said that “it’s a little upsetting” that she won’t be able to compete on Thursday.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead pole vaulter Nicole Mielnicki wore a determined look on her face as she cleared a personal-best height of 8 feet.

The Monarchs, undefeated League VIII champions, had a strong showing at Connetquot High School in Bohemia on Tuesday. But any McGann-Mercy competitor who was not going to compete Thursday was not awarded a place or points by track officials in the semifinals.

So, the official records won’t show Macchirole finishing second in the 400-meter run (59.51 seconds) or third in the 200 (26.75).

It won’t state that Schumann took second in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 1:06.05.

It also won’t show that Woodhull qualified by finishing sixth in the 400 in 1:02.12.

And it also won’t show that the 4×100 relay team of junior Sasa Vann, sophomore Tori Cataldo, Woodhull and Macchirole qualified with a first-place performance of 52.53.

“That’s why the girls were in such bad lanes today because [officials knew] they wouldn’t run” on Thursday, assistant coach Gregg Cantwell said. “They were put in exhibition lanes, the outside lanes. Unfortunately, some of their seed times got them in some of the best. They had to run in the worst ones.”

Still the girls acquitted themselves quite well.

“We were really just working for [personal records] today because we knew we weren’t able to come back,” Woodhull said. “We knew that today was the day to make something happen to really go out there and put what we’ve done and worked for the whole season on the track and do our best.”

The Monarchs will have several athletes competing in the finals, including Vann, who finished first in the 400 in 58.26 and third in the 800 in 2:26.33 in heat runs. Meghan Donnelly, a junior, had accrued 966 points in the first five events of the pentathlon. She finished 12th in the 100-meter high hurdles (21.39), fifth in the high jump (4 feet 2 inches) and fourth in the shot put (24-3 1/2).

For them and their teammates, there will be at least one other day for the seniors to run — in the state qualifiers at Port Jefferson High School on June 3 and 4.

“That was the saving grace in the whole division thing,” Nunez said.

“We still have time to improve,” Woodhull said. “We still have time to show what we’ve been working for.”

In Division II, Riverhead found itself atop the team rankings with 27 points after the first day of the two-day meet, followed by Smithtown East with 22.

Junior Melodee Riley won one event and reached the finals of two others. She topped the triple jump with at 12.23 meters. She also qualified for the 400 final by winning her heat in 1:07.04. Ninth-grader Destiny McElroy also reached the finals with a strong third-place showing in 1:08.78.

Freshman Kyra Braunskill was third in the triple jump at 10.92 meters.

Both Blue Waves relay teams reached the finals. The 4×100 relay quartet of Christy Brewer, Denise Brunskill, Braunskill and Tyesha Harrell clinched a spot as it finished third in 52.17. Likewise for the 4×400 squad, which was second in 4:07.78 behind Riley, Rachel Conti, Wynisha Hatcher and McElroy.

Riverhead freshman Madison Blom took third place in the discus (29 meters), earning six points, followed by junior Kerrysha Pittman in fourth (28.90). Alexandra Ingram recorded a point in the pole vault with a sixth-place finish at 2.59 meters.

Mattituck freshman Shannon Dwyer enjoyed a strong showing in the first three events of the pentathlon. She finished fifth in the 100 (20.27), sixth in the high jump (4 meters) and third in the shot put (25-9 1/4 meters). She accrued 901 points entering Thursday’s final two events.