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Girls Track and Field Preview: Pfennig’s farewell season

The Mattituck High School girls track and field team has fond memories of 2016. After all, it was the year that brought the Tuckers their first league championship in 16 years.

A remarkable 73-73 tie against Bishop McGann-Mercy ended up having huge implications. Both teams finished with identical 4-0-1 records and a share of the Suffolk County League VII title. Does that make the Tuckers driven to repeat?

“Absolutely, and if they are not, I will make sure that they are because at the end of the day, this is a varsity sport,” coach Chris Robinson said. “You want to compete and you want to win.”

That is what Melanie Pfennig has been doing for Mattituck for the past five years. Now the senior is embarking on her final run with the Tuckers.

“Her final show,” Robinson said. “She’s been a huge piece of this program.”

Pfennig closed out her 2016 season in style, clocking a personal-record time of 10 minutes, 33.09 seconds, leaving her 14th among Division II runners in the 3,000 meters at the state meet. She will also run the 1,500 this year.

Another Mattituck girl who made it to Cicero-North Syracuse High School for the state meet last year was Meg Dinizio, who ranked 15th in the Division II preliminaries in the 200 in 27.75. The junior also runs the 100 and is being pushed in practices by eighth-grader Isabella Masotti.

Seniors Sascha Rosin (long distance), Amy Macaluso (100-meter high hurdles, 100, 4×100 relay), Samantha Husak (high jump) and Alya Ayoub (long jump, 4×100) are also athletes to look out for. Leading the team’s junior class along with Dinizio are pentathlete Liz Dwyer and triple jumper Jordyn Maichin.

“We got high expectations for this team,” said Robinson, who has 48 athletes on the roster. “We have a lot of senior leadership, a lot of young girls coming up. I think we’re well-rounded. We had a great season last year. We kind of want to carry that over and we expect the same kind of results.”

Greenport/Southold (2-3) takes many unknowns into the new season. That comes with the territory when nine of the 19 team members are new to the squad.

“It’s an adventure this year because last year the kids were predictable,” coach Mike Gunther said. “This year it could be better, it could be worse. I don’t know. There are so many unknowns because there are so many first-timers.”

The Clippers are led by co-captains Hayley Brigham, a junior, and Marie Mullen, a sophomore. Brigham, who qualified for the division meet in the 2,000-meter steeplechase last year, can run a variety of events, as can Mullen. They both competed in last year’s division meet along with teammates Kathryn Kilcommons, a freshman, and Emelys Villareal, a senior.

Also returning are: junior Blayr Corazzini, sophomore Andrea Skrezec, junior Cynthia Gonzalez, junior Leslie Perez, senior Nina Aurichio and senior Paige Asimenios, a high jumper who missed her junior season with severe shin splints.

New to the mix are: Jordan Marshall, Zoe Medina, Andrea Ocheo, Briann Suskevich, Jessica Villareal, Irene Papamichael, Sophia Wacthel, Olivia Lynch and Lila Schott.

Gunther, who is in his third year running the team, said expectations have been ramped up. “Practices are much more demanding,” he said. “Expectations are much higher, but then again, you have a whole bunch of new athletes.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck senior Melanie Pfennig embarks on her fifth and final season with the Tuckers. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)