The Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School boys track and field team has a lot more than two future college athletes in Alex Frabizio and Dale Kelly. That duo also serves as de facto assistant coaches and recruiters.
Even more impressive yet may be the words their coach had to say about them.
“They might be the two best kids I ever had the opportunity to work with,” said Les Williams, who has been coaching in the sport since 1975.
Frabizio and Kelly, both senior co-captains, recruited athletes in the school to come out for the team, giving the Monarchs more depth. They also work with younger athletes in their areas of specialization, the hurdles and 100 meters for Frabizio and the 200 and 400 for Kelly.
On the track, they lead by example.
“I told them last spring, I said, ‘Guys, you’re going to the state meet,’ and they looked at me [like I was] crazy,” Williams recalled. “I said, ‘No, no, you guys are going to the state meet.’ ”
And then they did.
Frabizio was the Suffolk County small schools champion in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles last year. His personal-best time is 57.72 seconds, which he ran in the state meet.
Williams remembers being at the state meet at the University of Albany when Frabizio looked at him before a preliminary heat and asked, “Do you think I could do this?”
“I said, ‘Yeah, you could do this,’ ” Williams said. “And I said, ‘If you don’t win this, it’s going to be a long ride home.’ ”
Frabizio won his heat and went on to finish seventh in Division II.
Like Frabizio, Kelly also made his first appearance in the state outdoor meet, setting a personal record of 22.62 in the 200-meter finals for a sixth-place showing.
Both Monarchs turned in impressive showings in the first dual meet of their final high school season on Monday, a 73 1/2-39 1/2 loss to Mattituck at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field in Riverhead.
As expected, Kelly, the county champion in the 400 last year, blazed to victories in the 400 (51.9) and the 200 (23.6). Frabizio triumphed in the 400 intermediate hurdles in 1:00.9. His 100 time of 12.3 was second to the 11.9 clocked by Mattituck’s Darius Brew.
“It’s bittersweet,” Kelly, who is in his fifth year on the team, said of the start of his final season with the Monarchs. “I remember first coming here, all the guys that would teach me stuff, and now it’s my turn to pass on.”
Both seniors are headed to college track, with Fabrizio going to NCAA Division II East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and Kelly bound for Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
As for their leadership roles on the team, Kelly said: “I think we’re [two] of the people on the team that keeps the team close. We like to encourage each other and, you know, knowing that we’re there for each other really makes a difference.”
Williams said: “I think it all comes down to their heart, their hard work, their commitment. They care.”
Perhaps it’s fitting that McGann-Mercy has mirrors in the school weight room. Williams said he tells Fabrizio and Kelly, “Look in the mirror because that’s what it’s all about.”
Photo caption: Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Dale Kelly at the start of the 400-meter race, which he won in 51.9 seconds on Monday in a dual meet against Mattituck. (Credit: Garret Meade)