The Port Chester Track and Field (T&F) team warmed up for the prestigious Mamaroneck Relays Saturday (4/27) with a tune-up across "The Mario" Cuomo Bridge in Rockland County.
Both the Rams and Lady Rams showed they were getting ready to roll with impressive performances in the Red Raiders Relays last Thursday (4/19) at North Rockland High School.
They strutted their stuff with solid showings in events ranging from the sprints to the middle distances to the field events.
While senior George Tsoukalas was the only medal winner, taking a bronze with a fifth-place finish in the triple jump with a leap of 40:01.5, the team showed no lingering effects after losing their outdoor track training ground last Monday (4/15) due to construction starting at the high school.
The Rams’ outstanding middle-distance one-two punch of junior Joe Tapia and sophomore Tommy Perrone ran some of their fastest times of the year in the 1,600 meters with Tapia racing the metric equivalent of the mile in 4:38.39 while the ever-improving Perrone finished in 4:47.51.
Close sprint finish
The finish was a lot closer in the sprints with senior Brandon Mejia hitting the tape in 12:74 for the 100 meters with fellow senior Ari Johnson-Goodman right on his heels in 12:81. Edzani Kelapile raced the punishing all-out sprint that is the 200 meters in 26:73, a fast time for that event.
The Rams also showed gains in two events they don't usually do well in: Nelson Contreras hit 22:98 while skimming over the hurdles in the 110 meters and came back to run the 400-meter hurdles in 1:24.74. And Brandon Molano hurled the javelin 60:05.
Strong 1-2 punch
The Lady Rams’ performance unveiled some intriguing new developments: Senior training best buddies Ayenaliz (Nani) Velasquez and Amanda Andreoli have been working out together since the seventh grade and their closeness is mirrored in their closest finish ever in dual events.
Velasquez, an All-Section long jumper indoors and out, edged Andreoli, the league indoor long jump champion, in that event with Velasquez leaping 14:05 to Andreoli's 14:03.21.
Velasquez, also the team's fastest sprinter, finished just ahead of Andreoli in the 100-meter dash. Nani was clocked in 13:43, Amanda hit 14:10.
Ups and downs
Arianna Carlucci and Moyah Cameron, outstanding volleyball teammates as well as the other two senior members of the Lady Rams’ outstanding 4x100-meter relay along with Andreoli and Velasquez, couldn't have finished any closer in the high jump with both clearing 4:6. Carlucci also long jumped 13:04.75, just a foot or so behind Velasquez and Andreoli.
The closeness of those finishes indicates there should be more of the same with the possibility of upsets in both the team as well as league competition Tuesday (4/30) and Wednesday (May 1) at 4:30 p.m. when the league championships take place at Fox Lane and White Plains respectively.
Feeling at home
The P.C. T&F squad should be especially familiar with the White Plains T&F facility because that's where they have been practicing and will continue to practice while their home track is being used as a staging area for the high school construction, an ongoing expansion project that could take up to three years.
Along with hopefully warmer weather, more conducive to better times and field event performances, May will bring still more T&F challenges with the Somers Relays next Saturday (5/4) at 10 a.m.
Rams head coach Nick Mancuso is especially intrigued with the possibility of Tsoukalas, Tapia and Perrone coming on strong during the season's home stretch as is Lady Rams mentor Danny Alvarado who will be counting on Velasquez, Andreoli, Carlucci and Cameron to wind down their careers on an upbeat note.