By Brigid Clifford, Sports Editor
Over the course of the spring season, the track & field team competed in more than a dozen meets, earning more than two dozen medals. Composed of 10 juniors, 16 sophomores, and 11 freshmen, the team had a successful season under the guidance of head coach Tony Avallone and assistant coach Maria Crowley, celebrating countless personal bests as well as school records and qualifications for impressive meets.
An early highlight for the team was qualifying for and competing in the Penn Relay
Carnival, the first and oldest relay meet in the world that attracts 22,000 runners, including some of the best from around the world, and even more spectators annually. The 4×400 relay team of sophomores Gina Rienzo and Cate Toomey, and freshmen Hannah Reynolds and Catherine Stolbof, and the 4×100 team of junior Alexa Alverio, Reynolds, Rienzo and Stolbof had the honor of racing at this prestigious meet on April 28 in front of 12,000 spectators at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The 4×100 teamran 54.6 and placed 236 out of 339 teams, while the 4×400 team ran 4:26, placing 13th in their section.
Two days later, on April 30, the team competed in the Lion Invitational at Middletown North High School, where the freshman runners placed first in the freshman competition. They were led by a 1-2 finish in the 400-meter run by Stolbof (1:02.88) and Reynolds (1:03.17), who were joined by Gillian Thorp and Katie Venezia to earn second place in the 4×400 relay.
The team ended the season on a high note by qualifying eight individuals and three relay teams for the Non-Public B State Championship meet on June 3-4 at North Burlington High School. At the state competition, junior Erica O’Kelly placed 6th in the 1600 meter-run, qualifying her for the Meet of Champions (MOCs), while the 4×400 (fifth place) and the 4×800 (third place) relays also advanced to the MOCs at Central Regional High School on June 8.
Although the Monarchs didn’t place at the MOCs, the 4×400 relay of Stolbof, Reynolds, Toomey and Rienzo set a new school record, and the 4×800 relay of Toomey, Rienzo, and sophomores Anna Barnett and Bridget Andree ran one of their best times of the season.
“I’m really proud of how we did at Meet of Champions,” Toomey said. “When we’ve gone to the meet in the past, we were just happy to qualify, but this time we were right up there competing with other teams, and we plan to continue moving up the rankings next year.”
What Avallone considered to be the most significant accomplishment for the team was the amount of personal bests and school records that have been set this year, claiming that these achievements are a testament to the amount of work that the athletes have put in, logging hundreds of miles since the beginning of March.
“This season has been outstanding and fun for both Coach Crowley and myself,” said Avallone. “I look forward to more success to come in the future.”
The team has also begun practicing at the track at the future campus at Fort Monmouth. “It is exciting to be practicing and to get a feel for what it will be like next year,” Rienzo said. “It’s really cool to have our own track to practice on!”