When it came to putting together a 4×100-meter relay team, eighth-grader Bella Masotti seemed like a natural fit with veterans Alya Ayoub, Amy Macaluso and Meg Dinizio. For one thing, Masotti brought one quality that cannot be coached or bought: pure speed.
“She’s a speedy Gonzalez,” Macaluso, a senior, said. “Meg and Alya and I have been on the team together for a while now, but Bella just kind of fit right in like a little sister.”
The Mattituck foursome joined forces Tuesday to run a season-best time of 52.02 in the Division III preliminaries of the Section XI Division Championships at Ward Melville High School. Mattituck finished second in its heat to Amityville (51.77). The Tuckers had to wait until they heard the public-address announcement that they had qualified along with five other teams for Thursday’s final. They turned in the fourth-fastest time.
“Yes! That’s awesome,” Macaluso said upon hearing the announcement.
Dinizio, a junior, said: “It’s a confirmation of all the hard work we’ve been doing to be able to really compete against the best teams. Everything has to be perfection from here on out, nothing less.”
Ayoub, a senior, is the leadoff runner. From there, the baton goes to Masotti, who hands off to Macaluso. Dinizio runs the final 100 meters.
“I knew we had the pieces,” coach Chris Robinson said. “You can have the pieces, but it’s really about practicing and handoffs and making sure the timing is right. I thought we could be good, but I didn’t think we would be this good. We’re in a good position right now.”
Ayoub said: “All the girls run about 13 flat or in the 12s for the 100, so I knew if we came altogether, it would be a good race.” She added, “I think from here on out, it’s just going to get better.”
Liz Dwyer is representing Mattituck in the pentathlon. Three of the pentathlon’s five events were held Tuesday. Dwyer was second in the shot put at 25 feet, 4 inches, tied for seventh in the high jump at 4-4 and 10th in the 100-meter hurdles in 18.97. The junior will do the long jump and 800 on Thursday.
In the discus, Mattituck junior Sarah Santacroce threw a personal-best 89-2 for seventh place.
Mattituck is coming off a perfect dual-meet season that saw the Tuckers go 6-0 to claim the League VIII championship. It is Mattituck’s second straight league title and seventh overall. Last year the Tuckers shared the league crown with Bishop McGann-Mercy.
“It’s great to be a league champion, but you never want to share it,” said Robinson.
Team members readily agreed.
“Of course it’s better this way,” Dinizio said. “No one wants to share that. We had a really good chance of leagues. Everybody knew that and we really wanted it.”
Robinson said Mattituck’s 10 seniors, including Melanie Pfennig, played a major role in the league championship. “We had a senior in every event, and I think that helps everybody out when you have some girls with experience,” he said. “If I’m not standing there, there’s some leadership that gets carried over to each event. I think that’s a huge piece of it.”
Photo caption: Meg Dinizio carries the baton to the finish line for Mattituck’s 4×100-meter relay team, which qualified for the Division III final. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)