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Winter Track Season Recap

A look back at the season that was for Spring-Ford High School winter track, featuring head coach Danielle Stauffer.

Record: None

Postseason:

Major Injuries: "Honestly, Mikayla Francis was a leg on our 4x200, and she had a hip issue that prevented her from competing at the State Championship," said head coach Danielle Stauffer. "I don't know that that really impacted the relays that much from the start. She's usually our starter, so we had to switch around the order a little bit for the girls. She's a really good long jump and triple jumper for us in spring. She's out for about three weeks, so she's allowed to start practicing again in another week and a half from now. That puts her a little bit behind the eight ball.

"Other than that kind of injury, we had more issues with sicknesses. Audrey Burger right now is out for at least next week. She's not allowed to practice over being sick. We have one of the boys from the 4x800 who was diagnosed with mono[nucleosis]. He didn't have his best run up at the state meet, so that explains it. Eric Miller, who was early in the season one of our better 400-meter runners and definitely our fastest sprinter, was told by a doctor early in the season that he should take some downtime during the season. He ignored it for about a month and finally realized he still hadn't gotten healthy. He was concerned about spring season, so he didn't finish the last three weeks of the season, because he wanted to make sure he was healthy for spring. So, for us we had more sickness issues than injuries."

Graduating Seniors:
Boys: Luyando Chibwe, Fletcher Criswell, Patrick Ditmar, Jim Dong, Nicholas Fitch, Rocco Iannetta, Xavier Ingram, Jesse Magolon, Chris McCague, , Mike Novarina, Tandy Nguyen, Nick Ondo, , William Ramsey, Stephen Tang
Girls: Audrey Burger, Krista Cartacki, Taylor Fry, Martina Gring, , Meagan Loughnane, Kerry Miller, , Lindsay Pawson, Hannah Power, Nicole Rocchio, Katelyn Simpson, Hannah Sutterfield, Shannon Tillman, , Jen Yeakle

Awards/Accomplishments: "It was an accomplishment to have Jesse Magolon and Joe O'Such run as fast as they did in that mile, and to be accepted to run up at the Millrose Trials was a big deal for them. They ended up finishing at the state meet 11th and 15th, running 4:24 and 4:26. We've never had two boys on the team who were running that fast in winter. That was a huge accomplishment for them. Certainly, Joe O'Such's time was the fastest mile to be run indoors for us, and Jesse's would be the fastest if Joe hadn't beaten him to it. That's pretty huge."

Overall Impressions of the Season: "I think overall, we finished the season much like we finished last season with the exception that at the state meet last year, we had two relays that medalled. Toward the end of the season, we had a good number of qualifiers for the state championship. We tied the number we took last year, which was 14.

"We qualified the girls 4x200 and Mikaila White this year, maybe a surprise, or a not-so-surprise. She was definitely one to watch. Our Unsung Hero Brandy Nice qualified in the 400 open and then the boys qualified all three relays. That was a goal they had early in the season. We judge our season on how they finish up at states and how many kids we get to qualify. How many relays, for me, is an important one in particular. It's more important to do a lot of relays in the winter and over train the kids than to concentrate on individual events, which is what we do more in the spring."

Best Outing: "Honestly, I think probably our last meet at Kutztown, because they had a bit of pressure on them. The kids that needed to qualify for states did. We needed a 4x800 to qualify that day and they all ran really well. We weren't sure we were going to get an opportunity to run the 4x200s, but we did and qualified. That was Brandy Nice's last opportunity to qualify in the 400 open and she qualified. Jesse Magolon was attempting to qualify that day in the 800 open - he hadn't hit the time yet. Now, he ended up running the time, but we decided not to run him in the 800 open so we could run him in the mile and the 4x800. But, definitely that day we had a lot of state-qualifying performances and it was the last qualifying opportunity of the season, so they all made good of that opportunity."

Least Favorable Outing: "Probably the one we look back at and say 'Well that was chaos' was when we went up for New Balance Games in New York. I only say it's the worst outing because there were some highs and lows, unfulfilled promise, injury... That morning, they were calling for snow and we were told by Mickey McDaniel that we weren't going to be able to go up in the morning. The school wasn't going to let us go. So, we had to change our plans from going that morning to going up on Friday night and then we drove through a couple of inches of snow to get to the arena. We had misread the schedule in some way and the kids missed their race for the 4x200 in the morning. The girls missed qualifying for states that day by .1. Megan Loughnane in the 4x800 ran an awesome lead-off and then tripped over the rail and ended up breaking her ankle. So, I'd say that was probably one of the worst days, but not necessarily because there were horrible performances, just because it started with a little bit of chaos and it seemed to follow us all the way through. Nothing seemed to go our way that day."

Story of the Year: "When I look at the season, for the boys, it was definitely competition amongst the boys. They've gotten really savvy and they've set really high goals for themselves. So, when they started setting goals early in the season and saw some surprising times, like Eric Miller early in the year or when we were at the time trial there were eight or nine boys at 64 seconds or better. That was early on in the season and it really set the tone for them. They pushed one another to accomplish those types of goals. So, I think that type of camaraderie helped them throughout. They stayed positive about everything.

"On the girls side, I think it was how they dealt with adversity, because I look at things and say, OK, we had Mikaila White who was coming off the hamstring from last spring and we certainly had some ups and downs throughout the season... We had a couple of injuries and a couple of illnesses - new kids that are coming out and trying new things. I think it was a little more experimental for the girls, and their team was smaller. For them, it was about rebuilding in a sense, even though there are upper classmen, there were a lot of youngsters. It's difficult to say something changed the course of the season for them, but they were trying to put together pieces and figure out what kids might be good for come outdoor season, experimenting a little bit for different events for different kids and try to fill needs for kids during the outdoor season."

Unexpected Leader/Performer: "Even though he didn't end up running the kinds of times he maybe wanted, I think Rocco Iannetta. He's a senior this year who has matured and evolved into more of a leadership role. I've definitely seen him take on more responsibility. He's not as goofy as he might have been when he was younger. That was nice to see.

"Nick Ondo, too, who is another prankster and was silly sometimes and he can be silly - he took on more of a leadership role than I anticipated from him last spring season. So that was really nice to see. Kids look up to boys in particular, the boys that are fast. The girls that are fast get respect, but the girls teams leaders...

"This season, when you look at the girls team, Mikaila White and Brandy Nice were those fast girls that the girls see as leaders, but they're also good about encouraging kids and keeping them positive about being fast. On the boys team, there's two different kinds of leaders: the boys that lead on the track and are fast, and the kid who's going to work hard at practices, keep you motivated, loose things up and maintain focus. That's what I saw with Rocco this year. Ondo is one of our faster kids. He traditionally hasn't stepped into that kind of leadership role. Those were the different dynamics between the boys and girls teams."

Thoughts About Spring Season: "Well, the boys are, I'm sure, in for a challenge. There are a bunch of teams around the league that are improving. We definitely have a target on our backs after last year winning the PAC-10 Championship. The boys came out pretty motivated. They've been doing a good job setting goals for themselves and they know what it takes to work hard and achieve those goals. Come spring season, we'll see some very good things for the boys if they keep healthy both sickness and injury-wise, and stay positive.

"The girls team is always in contention for the PAC-10 Championship. The past few years, they've been runner-up in PAC-10s, pretty much since Methacton came into the league. For them to be PAC-10 champs this spring, they have to fill some of those holes, like what we were looking toward through winter and make sure we can score in each event. Generally speaking, that's our goal. You can't have a weakness where there's going to be an event and no one is there to score for you, because the teams that are going to be champions are very well-rounded and have a ton of depth. We have more girls out this season than typically we've had in the past. I'm not sure if numbers will lead to improved status this season, but we'll see if we can fill in the gaps to improve in our standings."

Seniors Next Year:
Boys: Michael Cassidy, David Forcey, Michael Galiardi, Adam Gouveia, William Landis, Jonathan Lui, Yousef Lundi, John Manning, DeMarques McNeill, Adam Musetti, Ryan Pierson, Matthew Quinn, Joseph Rafferty, Sean Weiss
Girls: Alexandra Aquilante, Laura Bonanni, Lauren Buckwalter, Bryn Callan, Oriana Capone, Rachel Connelly, Nicole COrnell, Samantha Flynn, Mikayla Francis, Chandler Jones, Emma Krueger, Rachel Long, Hannah Madary, Cindy Nguyen, Kaila Nogar, Akunna Okere, Catherine Walsh, Kirsten Wong

Final Thoughts: "I just want to thank everyone for their continued support of the winter track program. Two years ago, we were just a club and we are a varsity sport now. There's over 100 kids that participate. I appreciate that their families dedicate themselves and their time. Many parents come out for meets and travel far to do so. I just want to say I appreciate all the support from the community, parents, and the kids who spend four months in the winter running outside."

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