It’s hard to imagine a cross country team that’s not hard-working. But Somers has to be near the top in effort.
New head coaches John Vegliante (girls) and Mike Lacko (boys), who were on recently retired coach Roy Arnesen’s 2004 state championship squad, challenged their teams to run 500 miles in 75 days, a span starting June 30 and extending to next Tuesday, the first day of school. Not all will make the 500, but many will surpass 400.
“We all just love (running) so much,” senior Charley Comparetto said of her team’s dedication. “We all enjoy getting out there together. I know it will help us improve for the season.”
Comparetto will lead the girls team, which also includes promising sophomores Lily Rezai, Maya Watt and Katie Melly.
The Somers boys team will be led by seniors Jack Fozard, Alex Court and Stephen Herbst.
Seniors switching sports: Patrick Watts has played three years of soccer for Pleasantville, the last on varsity.
Soccer meant so much to him that he trained for six weeks this summer in Uruguay. But, returning home, he got a reality check. His mother, Marielise, reminded him that he wants to run for a Division I college.
So the senior, who was third at states in the 800 meters in track last season, has traded his cleats for running shoes. He may race for Buffalo, Manhattan or the University of Rhode Island. “I was looking forward to soccer, but ultimately, this is the best decision,” Watts said.
Hackley senior Ross Hock has also switched from soccer to cross country.
If Martinez is healthy, watch out: Last year, Fox Lane’s Vicky Martinez qualified for states, then qualified for the Federation meet, despite a fractured foot. At Federations, she finished 44th, four places from a medal.
Gaining that medal is one of the junior’s goals. Another is helping her team better its third-place Class A sectional finish.
Both Martinez and fellow junior Allison Moky, who finished 2-3 at the county meet, “look as good or better than where they left off,” said coach Steve Petrillo, who’s also counting on junior Anna-Sophia Boguraev and sophomore Emma McCormick.
On the boys side, coach Chris Dossena points to senior Jonah Avidon and juniors Ben Coleman, Austin Morretta and Sean Sacks as key performers for the defending league champs, who are switching leagues.
Hehir back for Tappan Zee: Patrick Hehir, a key runner behind fellow seniors Luke Gavigan and Liam Burke for powerful Tappan Zee, is returning after missing last season with a torn ACL and a broken foot.
“I think it’s made me mentally stronger as a runner,” he said. “I’m just excited to be able to contribute to the team the way I know I’m able to.”
Gavigan has narrowed his list of Division I colleges to American, Villanova and the University of North Carolina.
The freshman-heavy girls squad, missing among others Erin Jaskot (now running for Villanova), will rely on senior Kassidy Ayers and junior Caitlin Hartnett, who have logged many miles together this summer.
Hackley girls look for repeat: With Claire Gomba, Julia Stevenson, Callye Bolster and Greer Levin back from last year’s first-ever NYSAIS title team, things look positive for Hackley’s girls squad.
“Individually, we all want to get as far as we did last year,” Bolster said.
The squad also includes promising eighth-grader Olivia Curran.
Hackley boys young: Hornets boys coach Seth Karpinski said he is looking for seniors Tristan Jung, Frank Medici and Henry Brooks to provide leadership to his young team, which Karpinski hopes can finish in the top five in the Ivy League.
“It’s a lot about making the team stronger in the years that follow,” Medici said. “Working hard and keeping everyone on the team is the most immediate goal.”
Hackley has a forested trail area on campus. “It’s so hard to train on,” Karpinski said. “The kids don’t love it, but when they get on other courses, they don’t seem as bad.”
Adrian Szkolar contributed to this notebook.