Different? Oh, yes. Running is much different in track and field than in football. For one thing, no one’s trying to hit you.
As a quarterback for the Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School football team, Ryan Razzano was running to avoid being hit by 300-pound linemen. On the track, he is running to beat the clock.
Coming from a track family, running on a track is second nature to Razzano, the youngest of three brothers. His father, John, coached cross country and track at Riverhead as did his brother, Will. Another brother, J.J., ran cross country and track for Riverhead.
Ryan, a sophomore, ran winter track for the Blue Waves as an eighth-grader before taking last winter off. He did run in the spring, however, after transferring to Mercy. Last spring he triple jumped 36 feet and ran 400 meters in 55 seconds.
“He’s talented, yes,” said Les Williams, who coaches Mercy’s indoor and outdoor track teams. “He’s going to be versatile, very helpful to us.”
Right now Razzano’s focus is on the 300, his main indoor event. Along with his teammates, he ran a series of 300s on the Mercy track on an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon. Williams said Razzano was clocking times in the 40s, “which is really good. I want to see him get to 35, 34. If he gets down there, he might have a shot at going upstate.”
Razzano said his personal record in the 300 came when he ran 43 seconds, “which was not great, but it was good for an eighth-grader. This year I expect to run at least 38, maybe even a little faster. The goal is to get to the states and just shed time off my fastest time.”
Williams said Razzano, who will also compete in the triple jump and maybe the 55 meters, has a chance to make it to the state qualifying meet.
“He’s working very hard right now and I expect him to do good,” the coach said. He added: “We’re going to build up his speed and his strength. We do a lot of box jumping, we do a lot of stairs and we keep him in the weight room. He gets to do the weight room every day. We don’t spend like a year and a day on the track, but we do quality stuff.”
The Mercy team is a small one, with only seven athletes. Robert Halversen, a junior, is the only returning team member from last season. Halversen has been running 600 meters in 1:39.
“I want to get him down under the 1:30s, maybe in the 1:20s,” Williams said. “If he gets in the 1:20s, then we have a kid that can go in the qualifying” meet.
Another runner to watch is sophomore Mike Senica, who is fresh off the cross-country state meet. He can run the 1,000 or 3,200 or 1,600. “He eats up miles,” Williams said. “He really does.”
The other team members are senior Griffin Carter, junior Frank O’Brien, sophomore Phil Marino and freshman Michael Ouziounion.
Halversen knows Razzano can turn on the jets.
“Razz, I think he could definitely probably get to states if he really like hoofed it,” Halversen said. “His form is good and he puts in the work. Sprinting is an art.”
Razzano, who was a little banged up from the football season, said he sees a future for himself in track. He said, “I like it because it’s running, but it brings running to a whole another level.”
Without the tackles.
Photo caption: Bishop McGann-Mercy sophomore Ryan Razzano running a 300-meter sprint during Friday’s practice. (Credit: Bob Liepa)