The newcomers on the block made quite the first impression last year.
Mattituck fielded an indoor track team for the first time last winter and the results were impressive. The Tuckers had four girls compete at the small school county championship meet.
The winter season helped propel many of the athletes into an even better spring season, where the Tuckers finished as co-league champions with Bishop McGann-Mercy.
Now as the Tuckers enter Year 2 of indoor track, big things are expected once again from a team that has talent across all facets, most notably in the distance events where many of the top runners from cross country slide over to track.
“It’s a lot different,” Mattituck coach Chris Robinson said about the start of this year compared to last year. “Everybody knows what to expect. We have more confidence of where we’re going.”
Senior Melanie Pfennig leads the core of distance runners. Pfennig was the team’s top performer last winter. She was fifth in the 3,000 at the county meet and competed at the individual state qualifier meet.
“I always set high expectations and she always exceeds them,” Robinson said. “It’s bittersweet having her as a senior. I’m excited about what she’s going to do in the winter.”
Pfennig was the Class C county champion in cross country this past fall. She was followed by a pair of young runners who will also carry over into winter. Freshman Payton Maddaloni and eighth-grader Kylie Conroy will both be key in distance events. Maddaloni was fourth in the 1,500 Sunday at a crossover meet at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. She ran 5 minutes 9.93 seconds. Pfennig was second in 5:00.19, an impressive time for this early in the season.
Senior Sascha Rosin is another returning runner who competes in the 1,000.
In the sprints the Tuckers return junior Meg Dinizio and senior Amy Macaluso. Eighth-grader Isabella Masotti is a newcomer to the team.
“We’re good all-around,” Robinson said. “We get a lot of girls coming out. It’s a good sport to have in the winter, because there’s not a lot offered for a lot of these girls. And they’re all athletes and they all want to compete.”
Senior Sam Husak returns in the high jump and senior Alya Ayoub returns in the long and triple jumps.
Robinson said the team has an added bonus of athletes joining the team this year who play lacrosse in the spring.
With Mattituck now in its second year, the Tuckers won’t be the newest team around anymore. That distinction goes to a newly formed Greenport/Southold team.
The Clippers have competed in outdoor track, but now have an indoor season to go with it.
Mike Gunther is coaching both the girls and boys team. Gunther said much of the credit for the new team goes to senior Emelys Villareal and junior Hayley Brigham.
“My two captains from my spring track team, they just begged me to start a winter track program,” Gunther said. “Those two girls and I sat down and spent hours over the summer putting a plan together and a presentation which we brought to [superintendent] David Gamberg,” Gunther said.
The team now practices in Greenport.
Villareal is a distance runner who competes in the 1,500 and 3,000. Brigham can run multiple events as well, specifically the 600.
Sophomore Marie Mullen will be a key contributor in the sprints. She ran 10.6 in the 55-meter hurdles at Sunday’s crossover meet. Sophomore Jillian Golden will compete in the jumps. She ran on the 4 x 1 relay last spring.
Top photo caption: Mattituck junior Meg Dinizio will run the sprints this season. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)