The boys return senior Erik Simonson, who last year was the MHAL 400 hurdles champion, Section 9 400 titlist and anchored the MHAL and Section 9 winning 1600 relay team and ran a leg on the championship 3200 relay team; senior Brian Busby, who was the MHAL and Section 9 1600 and 3200 champion, and ran legs on the winning relay teams; senior Brian Majestic, who was the Section 9 high jump champ; and senior Hunter Bartlett, who was the Section 9 800 champ and ran legs on both relay teams. Add to the list senior Kyle Roberts, who finished second in the shot put in both meets, but won the State qualifier.
And if there isn’t enough in the talent department, the boys also return junior middle-distance runner Matt Hasbrouck; sophomore distance runners David Busby and Alfredo Mazzucca; senior thrower Mason Silverman; senior sprinters Justin Altro and Asher Sells; sophomore hurdler Ben Nadareski; and junior sprinter Mike Fitzpatrick. All contributed lots of points last season.
Add to all this some very promising eighth-graders in John O’Donnell and Lorenzo Mazzucca; freshmen middle-distance runners Hudson Carroll, Jackson Beveridge and Mitchell Rifkind; freshman hurdler/jumper John Heyl de Ortiz; freshman jumpers Anthony Bonilla and Julian MacKinnon; and senior pentathlon runner/thrower/jumper Thomas Covino (his first time out)...and it looks as if New Paltz is the team to beat in both the MHAL and Section 9.
“We have 53 athletes out and they are very young and strong, so we should win it all,” said assistant boys coach Mike Vance. “We also have strong leadership, with good character, so if we realize all of our potential, not get big-headed, only Ellenville will give us some stiff competition. This should be a very big year for a lot of the guys.”
The girls suffered a couple of key losses in MHAL and Section 9 triple jump champ Sarah Cook, middle and long distance runner Jordan Stern, 400 and 400 hurdles Vienna Yee and middle distance runner Britta Januskiewicz, but return MHAL and Section 9 pentathlon champion, junior Naomi Bouchard, and Section 9 3000 and 2000 steeplechase champ senior Gabby Mancuso. Also back to challenge for titles are senior high/long/triple jumper and 110 hurdler Mikie O’Donnell, senior Gina Abrams in the hurdles and pole vault, sophomore Cora Butler in the sprints and jumps, junior Emily Takacs in the throws, junior Ella Mackinnon in middle-distance and freshman Camila Ferguson in middle-and-long distance.
“Out of the 41 girls on the team, 22 are freshmen,” said long-time girls’ coach Ann Gregory. “We lost a lot of point-getters with the graduation of Sarah, Jordan, Britta and Vienna, as well as Jessica Robb, Lauren Butler and Machele Clark. We still have some depth, but not the depth in certain events that we did last year. Our depth in the jumps helped us through some of the events where we didn’t score. We’ll just have to see how much our freshmen grow by the end of the year.”
Those very promising freshmen are Honour Butler, Marcelina Martynek, Maddy Carroll, Maggie Pankowski, Deja Clement, Doaa Khalifa and Mia Potthast.
The track season begins this Tuesday at home against Marlboro (too late for this edition of the New Paltz Times), then the Rondout Valley Invitational (girls only) this Saturday, April 9 at 9 a.m. And Rondout is at New Paltz on Tuesday, April 12 for a dual meet at 4 p.m.