Weekly Feature



2012-04-18 / Sports

Small, talented roster returns for Thunder

by MIKE MIGLIORE
Reporter


Mount St. Mary’s Malayah White runs at the All-Catholic Track and Field Championships last May. White, who was in the top five in two events at the State Federation meet last June, returns this season for her senior year. 
File photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Mount St. Mary’s Malayah White runs at the All-Catholic Track and Field Championships last May. White, who was in the top five in two events at the State Federation meet last June, returns this season for her senior year. File photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Mount St. Mary Thunder field one of the most talented girls track and field teams in Western New York in 2012. The Thunder finished second overall last season at the All Catholic Girls Track and Field Championships with 91 total points. The team’s 1600-meter relay finished in first place at the event and also sent its 4x400 meter relay team to the New York State Federation meet.

The team accomplished quite a bit last season, but most of the attention went to Malayah White. As a junior last year, White took first in the 100- and 200-meter dash at All Catholics and helped the 1600-meter relay also finish first. She later went on to the Federation meet and finished in the top five in the 100- and 200-meter dash, breaking a Monsignor Martin Association record in the process.

Though White is the star, Mount St. Mary head coach Chris Monaco wanted it known that his entire team deserves some recognition for its talents and accomplishments. White wasn’t the only girl to compete at the Federation meet last season as Emma Sullivan finished 26th in the 3000-meter run. She was also second at All Catholics in the 1500- and 3000-meter run. Meanwhile, Hailey Gattuso ran with the 4x400 relay team and helped them finish 15th overall at the Federation meet.

White, Sullivan and Gattuso are the top-three girls for a small Mount St. Mary team that has just 14 girls on the roster. Despite lacking numbers, the Thunder make up for it with their ability.

“We’re talented for such a small team,” Monaco said. “We took second at All Catholics last year. Malayah has all the league records, while Emma was one of the league’s strongest distance runners a year ago and

Hailey ran distance at states.”

White is one of two captains for the Thunder along with Sullivan. The senior holds league records in the 100- and 200-meter dash and is looking to add the record in the 400-meter dash to her resume in her final season. The current record is 60.5 and Monaco believes White is capable of breaking that record this year.

“She has some unfinished business,” Monaco said of White. “She has some times to drop. She’ll look to break her own records and get the 400 record.”

White has signed on to join the University at

Buffalo’s women’s track and field team next year.

Gattuso, a sophomore, is battling a knee injury at the start of the season, but is not expected to miss significant time. After running with the 4x400 team in the Federation meet a year ago, Gattuso is hoping to head back this year individually in distances events like the 1500 and 3000. Monaco admires Gattuso’s attitude.

“She’s a great kid with a great work ethic,”

Monaco said of Gattuso. “Last year was her first year and everyday after practice, she would always say ‘thank you’ to the coaches. She still does that.”

Sullivan, a junior this season, finished three seconds off the school record in the 3000 last year at the Federation meet. Last year was her first season of track as she did not compete as a freshman. Monaco was impressed by how quickly Sullivan was able to learn how to race in her first season. He expect her to continue to get better as a junior and a senior.

“I would expect big things from her in a year,” Monaco said. “She’s maturing and working hard. She’s a lot more seasoned.”

Monaco said Sullivan’s goals this season are to get back to the Federation meet and break league records in the process. He likes her chances of meeting that goal in the 3000.

“Emma has a shot at it,” Monaco said. “She’s super competitive and has a great work ethic.”

The Thunder have a handful of new girls on the squad this year, several of whom will also play softball this spring. Senior Kelly Barrett will join the team for the first time along with junior Jasmine Hinaman and freshmen Maria Pedini as they will split their time between track and softball.

“They will work around the competitions,” Monaco said. “Softball will make things hard for them, but they’re doing a good job of managing it so far.”

In the jumps, Mount St. Mary’s best competitor is senior Paige Kelschenbach, who had a strong junior campaign and will look to set more personal records this year.

Mount St. Mary’s first league meet will be at 4:30 Wednesday at Adams Field against Immaculata and St. Mary’s. Monaco expects his talented girls to set several new individual records and has high hopes for top finishes overall as a team. Monaco expects his small squad to make a lot of big noise this year.

“We’re small, but talented,” Monaco said. “They need to work hard and stay humble. We also need to keep everyone healthy and peak at the right time.”

Mount St. Mary’s 2012 Schedule
4-18 Immaculata/St. Mary’s .... 4:30
p.m.
4-24 @ Nardin/O’Hara .... 4:30 p.m.
5-2 Sacred Heart ............ 4:30 p.m.
5-8 Holy Angels/Mount Mercy 4:30
p.m.
5-14 All Catholics @ Canisius TBA
5-16 All Catholics @ Canisius TBA

email: mmigliore@beenews.com

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