By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO Wednesday turned out to an historic day for the Monticello Central School boys’ and girls’ track and field teams.
With their victories over visiting John S. Burke Catholic High School and Liberty Central School, the Panthers and Lady Panthers both won Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III titles.
For the Panthers, it was a “three-peat” as they also claimed the Div. III crown in 2010 and 2011. In earning the Div. III title, the Lady Panthers ended a long championship drought. Prior to Wednesday, the last time a Monticello girls’ track and field team had won a title of any kind was back in 1984 then the team won the Section IX championship.
Both the Panthers and Lady Panthers finished with perfect 4-0 Div. III records.
Naturally, boys’ team Coach Joe Seidl and girls’ team Coach Matt Daly were both very happy following the meet.
“We knew the division was going to be tough this year,” Seidl said. “With Port Jervis, Liberty and [James I.] O’Neill moving into the division, we knew it would be a challenge to face those teams. Cornwall moved out of the division, but two good teams moved in.
“We had a close meet with Port Jervis and I thought that today’s meet would be closer,” Seidl added.
Winning a third consecutive division title was something Seidl, Assistant Coach Matt Buddenhagen and the team members began thinking about at the beginning of the season.
“It was definitely a goal of ours to win the division again,” Seidl commented. “We knew we had the kids to do it. We had a game plan and the boys did a great job.”
Seidl noted that capturing another division title also bodes well for the future of the program.
“It’s good for our program,” he said. “Winning will help our numbers. We should have a good-sized team the next couple of years because kids will want to come out for the team.”
Daly and the Lady Panthers were excited to end a nearly 30-year championship drought.
“As the season went along, we thought this would be possible,” Daly said. “We have a great group of girls and they work very hard.”
Like Seidl, Daly noted that winning this year should pay dividends in future seasons.
“It sets a new standard for our girls’ program,” Daly explained. “It will help keep our numbers up as girls will want to compete for the team.”
In addition to praising all of the Lady Panthers for their performance in Wednesday’s meet, Daly also noted the invaluable help of Assistant Coach Charlie Delmonico. Delmonico was a track and field coach for 38 years at Washingtonville High School and is the grandfather of Monticello team members and twin sisters Camryn Johnson and Sydney Johnson.
Monticello boys set personal records in victory
In defeating Liberty, 94-47 and Burke 134-1, Monticello was led by many team members who set a personal record (PR) in their events.
Tino Taylor achieved a PR of 11.0 seconds in winning the 100-meter dash and a PR of 22.1 seconds in winning the 200-meters. His 200-meter time was a tenth of a second off the school record.
Talon Watson won the triple jump with a PR of 41 feet, 2 1/2 inches. He also had a PR time of 23.1 seconds in the 200.
While taking first place in the 4x100-meter relay, the team of Terry Duncan, Mistah Alli, Austin Colon and Rahjel Smith set a PR of 44.2 seconds, which is just one-tenth of a second off the school record.
In addition, Mike Rogers set a PR of 10 feet in the pole vault.
One of Monticello’s other top performers was Joe Klein, who won the 1,600 in 5:08 and the 3,200 in 11.20.3.
Liberty’s Kane Sauchuk won two individual events, the 110 hurdles (16.3 seconds) and the 400 hurdles (60.2 seconds).
Those victories by Kane as well as other good performances by his teammates helped the Indians defeat Burke, 119-15.
Several girls lead Monticello to the win
The Lady Panthers defeated Liberty, 95-46, and Burke 108-33. (Liberty also defeated Burke, 92-47.)
Camryn Johnson and Tania Walker each won two events for the Lady Panthers. Johnson placed first in the 800 (2:37.3) and the 1,500 (5:38.7). Walker prevailed in the 200 (27.3 seconds) and the 400 (64.2 seconds).
In addition, Walker was a part of the winning 1,600-relay team and Johnson ran on the winning 3,200 relay team.
Brittany Rupp, who was also on the 3,200 relay team, won the 3,000 in 11:58.3.
Erica Concors was on both first-place relay teams and won the triple jump (31-2 1/2).
Leading Liberty were Rebeccah Harman and Nikole Snyder. Harman won the 100 hurdles (17.3 seconds) and the 400 hurdles (69.7 seconds). She was also part of the Lady Indians’ winning 4x100 relay team. Snyder was also part of the relay team and won the long jump (15-6).
In praising the team members for their performances in Wednesday’s meet, Daly explained that several of the Lady Panthers have been making big improvements as the season has unfolded. Among those he noted for doing so are:
• Laura Doherty (freshman) “She has made improvements in long, triple and high jump and is becoming a force in the 400 intermediate hurdles.
• Alexis Watkins (senior) “She is continually improving on her distances in the shot put and discus and continued to perform consistently in a variety of running events.
• Kristen McEneaney (junior) “She ist he most versatile member of our team. Whatever she was asked to compete in, it was done at 110 percent with no questions asked. Look for her to make some noise in the pentathlon during the OCIAA Meet next week.
“And the promising production by eighth-graders Camryn and Sydney Johnson, Julie Kane and Riley Lindholm make the success this season a preview of many more successful seasons to come in the near future.”
Prior to Wednesday’s meet, the seniors on the Monticello boys’ and girls’ teams and their parents were honored in a brief ceremony. The seniors on the boys’ team are Earl Allen, Connor Alvarez, Dan Braunstein, Jose Cruz, Ian Kolaitis, Garrett LaPolt, Gabriel Ramos, Shatei Reynolds, Onique Taylor, Brendan Thomas and Talon Watson. The seniors on the girls’ team are Erica Concors, Katie Fisher, Bryana Sewell, Tania Walker and Alexis Watkins.