By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Magnificat High School track and field team is coming off another successful season, in which the Blue Streaks finished in third place at the Division I district meet. Even though there are key members of last year’s squad who are lost to graduation, there will be plenty of girls to fill their shoes.
“We will miss Macey Walker and Katie Kerr as they graduated last year and are both running for Canisus College,” first-year head coach Kendra Mooney said. “Macey was a steady 3200 meter runner.
“A healthy Katie Kerr was huge asset to the program in the 4×800, 800 and 4×400. Katie was also a leader and motivated her team mates to think big. I think coaching is in Katie’s future.”
Key returning runners include seniors Maria DeCaris, Dana Vazquez, Alicia Russo, Shannon Hollis, Ellie McCabe, Julia Young, Gretchen Horning, Sam Ketterer and Danielle Vetrano; juniors Tori Meyer, Avery Pacella, Katie Whitmore, Nadia Vovk, Breanne Loelliker, Molly Sullivan, Paige Hepner and Maddie Baker; and sophomores Annie Ubbing, Kaeley Bush, Bina Frost, Annie Harter, Lily Kramer, Mary Stepanek, Jane Platek, Erin McCaffrey and Mara Bedell.
Those returners will be bolstered by freshmen Adeaide Aquilla, Madelyn Brindza, Cat Crespo, Maggie Malley, Claire Plageman, Kate Dunleavy, Bridget Bodnar, Erin Sullivan, Anna Marshall, Kendall Willard, Stephanie Magvas and Katie Kuemerle.
Our age is our biggest strength,” Mooney said. “We are young. We have a lot of motivated and hard-working freshmen and sophomores who are enjoying track and field this season. We also have a lot of depth with 95 girls on the squad.
“I don’t see any weaknesses except teaching our athletes to train properly and take the proper preventative measures with training to ensure that we remain healthy so that we can continue to get stronger and build our team.”
Even with an almost totally revamped coaching staff this year, the overall goals for the Blue Streaks have not changed.
“Since the program was started by Coach Shirley Doyle in the 80s, the end goal for Magnificat track and field athletes has always been to qualify to the state meet,” Mooney explained. “Our goal is to improve our place as individuals and as a team at districts and regionals.
“Last year, we qualified the 4×800, 4×400, 4×200, 1600, 800, 400, 3200, 300 hurdles and shot put to regionals. No one went on to compete at the state meet. We hope to improve all of those finishes and times from last year, and see what we can do with our young squad.”