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Calhoun Girls Track & Field Wins Fifth Consecutive Conference Title

Photos courtesy of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District

Bellmore-Merrick’s Sanford H. Calhoun High School girls track team clinched their fifth consecutive conference title on Jan. 18.

“The girls knew this year was going to be tougher than average coming into their conference championship,” said coach Joseph Migliano. “All the pressure and eyes around Nassau were on the girls as they looked to extend their current Long Island record for consecutive conference titles to five. The team graduated some serious points last year and were down multiple girls coming into this meet; but like the true champions they are, they battled and fought each step of the way to claim their fifth consecutive title.”

The meet was off to a slow start for the girls, as they didn’t score a single point in the first two events.

“I always prep the girls for this meet to never listen to the point totals during the night,” Migliano said. “I know most of our points come later in the meet and I just want them focused on their events.”

This changed in the 1,000-meter race. Sofia Zampella lead Kaitlyn Stibritz and Annie Fitzpatrick into the race, and she didn’t disappoint.

“I have never been more nervous competing in my life; this was my first time ever having to triple in a meet,” said Zampella. “Once I got passed the initial fear, I knew that my coaches and team mates always had my back. I trusted my coaches and training to run a 5 second personal record and score 13 points for the team.”

Zampella ran a personal best of 3:15 and Kaitlyn 3:18, taking second and third place scoring 14 points for the team.

Next up was the 55m hurdles and this is where Calhoun would begin to extend their lead. Sara Manson and Brooke Cancellarich took first and third place, respectively earning the team 16 points. Sara would set a season personal best running 8.87 and qualifying for the national championships; Sara has won this event for the last four years in a row.

“Preparing for this meet was different than any other year,” Baguiao said. “I had to do three events in a night for the first time in my career. I was scared going into the triple, but I knew my team needed me and I would never let my family down. I went out, trusted my coaches and ran a PR in the 600 and 300-meter race. This year, we knew would be tough, but I’m proud of the way we all competed and fought for the win. Counties isn’t ready for a team with our heart and motivation.”

Baguiao is a two-year captain and leads the mid-distance team. While all other girls had good competition in their events, she ran against the best girl in New York State and top five nationally. She not only took second in the 300m race, but re-broke her own school record running 43.96.

The team scored 60 points in fielding events. Sara Manson claimed her second conference title of the night in the long jump and Yolina Bastien took third place for the team.

Sophia Hines became the conference champion in the high jump; on her first try of the season. She jumped 4’8,” followed by Aleyna Ozay and Yolina Bastien earning 20 points in total for the team.

Omana Phillips led younger athletes Taylor Halvorsen and Jamie Menninger-Low in the Racewalk, earning 16 points for the team.

The girls put the meet away with the triple jump. Led again by Sara Manson’s third win of the night. Yolina Bastien and Sophia Hines swept the event taking first, second and third place; scoring 24 points and taking all south sides hope of a comeback away.

“This meet wasn’t like the four conference championships,” Manson said. “We lost major point scorers to other sports and graduation. I am proud to see how far this team has come in the last five years. I would be remiss if I said this wasn’t the biggest win yet. I scored the max of 30 points for the team, and every single girl had to come out and put on a show for us to win.”

Manson is currently the best triple jumper in all of Nassau County and one of the top girls in New York State.

“The team wanted to make a statement and they certainly did,” said Migliano. “They heard all the talk about how all good things come to an end, and how they graduated too much, but that talk just fueled them more and more. They went out and earned another conference title, solidifying them as one of the best teams on Long Island and a true dynasty.”

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