By Staff Writers Bridget Andree (Swimming), Mairead Mark (Track) and Grace Kenney (Basketball)
The varsity swim team, coached by Alyssa Morreale and assistants Tracey Andrejko and Erin Chiaravalloti, is 4-0 in their division and 5-1 overall. Their only loss was to Peddie School, a nationally renowned high school swim team, by only two points on Dec. 3.
The team’s most significant accomplishment so far this season came at the Monmouth County Championships on Jan. 6, where the Monarchs tied for first place with Middletown South after a back and forth battle from beginning to end. Many swimmers contributed to this win, a first county championship for Trinity Hall, that came down to the very last event – the 400 Freestyle Relay.
Senior Caroline Gmelich was named co-Most Outstanding Swimmer for not only winning two individual events but also setting new county records in both the 200 Individual Medley (2:06.34) and 100 Backstroke (54.99). Along with these two County-bests, Gmelich swam on both of the winning relays of the night: the 200 Medley Relay (Gmelich, junior Lauren Joyce, senior Malia Wolf and senior Lily Scott) and the 400 Free Relay (Wolf, freshman Katie Wright, senior Isabelle Pabon and Gmelich).
Another successful relay was the 200 Free Relay of Scott, Joyce, Pabon and Wright, which took second place. Wolf won the 100 Butterfly and collected a silver medal in the 500 Freestyle, while Scott received second place in the 50 Free and 7th place in the 100 Free. In addition to these senior accomplishments, freshman Wright racked up second place in the 200 Free and 4th place in the 100 Free. Each of these individual swims and relays qualified for the prestigious Meet of Champions, which will take place on March 4 and 5.
Other top scorers of the night included Joyce (3rd in both 200 Individual Medley and 100 Breaststroke), Pabon (5th place in the 200 Free and 6th place in the 500 Free), and Ava Lynch (8th place in 100 Fly).
The Monarch swimmers followed this achievement with an important 92-78 win against public school powerhouse Westfield on Jan. 11, which moved them up in state rankings to 15th. They hope to finish out the regular season with wins against Rumson-Fair Haven, Ranney and Saint Rose before setting their sights on the Shore Conference, Prep States and Non-Public B State titles in February.
The winter track team is off to an energetic start. The team of returning runners and newcomers, who started practicing in early December, is already nearing the end of the relay meets and looking ahead to championship season. The Monarchs opened their competition season with a trip down to the Bennett Bubble Complex in Toms River, participating in the STCA Season Opener #2. Sophomore Hannah Reynolds advanced to the girls 55 meter dash finals, placing fourth with a time of 7.8, and the varsity 4×800 team of freshman Olivia Almeida, senior Erica O’Kelly and juniors Lexi Salerno and Cate Toomey earned third place with a time of 10:40.70. The varsity 4×200 team of senior Alexa Alverio, O’Kelly, Reynolds and junior Gina Rienzo earned fifth place with a time of 1:57.81.
While most of their classmates were enjoying winter break, the runners traveled to the prestigious New York Armory on Dec. 28 to compete in the NJCTC Relays. The distance medley relay of Almeida, senior Pallavi Kawatra, Salerno and Toomey earned medals by placing fifth with a time of 14:18.20. The sprint medley relay team of freshman Ryen Miller, Reynolds, Rienzo and Toomey set a new school record with a time of 4:45.3, while the 4×200 relay team of Alverio, Reynolds, Rienzo and senior Katie Valsamedis also recorded a new school record of 1:57.0.
On Jan. 6, the track team returned to the Bennett Bubble to compete in the Monmouth County Relays, where the 4×400 relay ran a time of 4:34.29, and the 4×800 relay improved their time from the Season Opener by almost 20 seconds, running a time of 10:21.03.
Captains Alverio and Salerno are very excited for what is in store for the rest of the season. “The winter track team has done exceptionally well so far,” Salerno said. “We work hard and have already set new school records…I’m excited for more success to come later in the season.”
The Monarchs hope that success will come in the Shore Conference Championship on Jan. 27 and Group B Championship on Feb. 18.
With an impressive varsity season last year, the basketball team welcomed eight new freshmen and a junior varsity team to the program this year. Throughout the summer, both teams practiced to improve skills and build camaraderie.
Although this is the junior varsity team’s first year together, they have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with. Coached by Lauren Pappa, the JV squad has a strong 2-2 record, beating Asbury Park in the season opener by a 40-point margin and earning a 10-point win over Keyport despite their shallow bench.
The varsity team, coached by Pat Grier and Dana Lenneper, continues to prove its growing talents on the court, currently maintaining a 9-2 record. In the season opener against Asbury Park, the Monarchs won by 33 points, and they’ve continued to beat many of their opponents by double-digit margins. So far, the Monarchs have only suffered a three-point loss to Long Branch early in the season and a more recent loss to St. Rose, one of the best teams in the state. Although the final score was 32-88, the Monarchs kept the game tight for the first five minutes of play then managed to outscore St. Rose 15-14 in the third quarter.
With the bulk of the season remaining, junior Kathryn Kwapniewski has high hopes for the second half. “As we play new challenging teams like Saint Rose and Point Pleasant Boro, we aim to have a .500 record to enter the Shore Conference as a leading competitor,” Kwapniewski said.