A big factor in how far the Mattituck girls track and field team progresses this year will depend on SLANK.
SLANK stands for Shannon (Dwyer), Lyndsie (Taylor), Amanda (Gatz), Nicole (Murphy) and Kyle (Freudenberg). The five friends, who came up with the acronym, are seen as an essential part of the team. They will run in relays, sprints and middle-distance races.
“It really is a unity thing,” coach Jean Mahoney said. “It’s neat. They have enthusiasm, they have talent, and they’re willing to work hard.”
Dwyer, a sophomore, will once again compete in the pentathlon. Last year she was sixth in the Suffolk County Division III Championships with 1,737 points.
Another sophomore, Desirae Hubbard, was an all-league performer in the 200 meters. She is recovering from a pulled leg muscle.
Mattituck, which went 3-3 in League VII last year, also has a promising junior in Morgan Wilsberg, who can run sprints, hurdles and high jump. “She has one of the most beautiful forms on hurdles I’ve seen since Rosie Allen,” Mahoney said. “Amazing.”
The team’s sole senior is Savanna Campbell.
Mahoney said the enthusiasm the new Greenport team has brought to practices it shares with the Tuckers has been contagious.
“I love this team,” she said. “They’re a lot of fun.”
Track and field is like a smorgasbord. With a variety of events, there is a little bit of something for everyone, it seems.
That is the gist of what Jack Martilotta, the coach of the newly formed Greenport team, is telling his athletes, who are new to the sport.
“I’m telling them all now: ‘Keep an open mind. Try everything that’s out here,’ ” Martilotta said. “Track’s great like that. There’s something for everybody.”
Martilotta said some of his athletes are taking to the sport “like a fish to water and other kids, you know, are still trying to figure out where they belong.”
The Porters shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out where Kerri Hands belongs. The versatile senior can seemingly fill a place in any part of the lineup. She is penned in to compete in the pentathlon.
“She’s quite an athlete, she really is,” Martilotta said. “She’s a special athlete.”
Among others who should help out are freshman jumper Megan Murray, senior middle-distance runner Emily King, sophomore hurdler Lauren Smith and eighth-grade jumper Marina De Luca.
“We’ve got some solid middle-distance runners,” Martilotta said. “It looks like we’re going to have some good sprinters. We seem to have some promise in the hurdles, but again, I have 20 young ladies out here who have never done this before, so somebody just might step into something and really surprise me.”