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Indoor Track: Our Lady of Mercy 2011 Preview

Experience guides Mustangs through tough Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA.

As one of the smaller schools in the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA, indoor track team already has an uphill battle. But that doesn't get coach Mike Gleason down.

"We have a pretty good-sized team," Gleason said. "They're willing to try different events. They're very positive and enthusiastic."  

That enthusiasm - as well as a senior laden team - should go a long way for the Mustangs this season.

Last Season: Fifth in the NSCHSAA.

Coach: Mike Gleason (seventh season).

Key Athletes:

  • Meaghan Walsh
  • Brooke Rozea
  • Kami Saracino
  • Debbie Johnson
  • Katherine McCarthy
  • Michaela Gianfrancesco
  • Tara Walsh

Events Breakdown: Gleason isn't shy about what the school size means in the throes of competition. It will be hard for the Mustangs to compete with the likes of St. John the Baptist, Holy Trinity and St. Anthony's.

"We don't have a lot of sprinters," Gleason said. "We're pretty decent at the distance and middle distance, but our weaknesses are the sprints and the jumps."  

That sprinting deficiency should be aided by new assistant coach Marie Griffiths.

Griffiths, who is entering her first season coaching high school track, spent her college years sprinting for St. Johns University. Gleason thinks his new assistant will help the program in sprinting events.

The major goals for OLMA are more school-record driven than anything else.

"I expect to continue lowering our own school records in a lot of events," Gleason said of what he expects from his team.

One of the current OLMA record holders, Debbie Johnson, is still competing for the Mustangs. Johnson holds the school record in shot-put.

Expectations: What Mercy lacks in overall size, they make up for in experience. The goal of young teams is to get to a point where seniors are running the program. Mercy has finally hit that point.

"The seniors having to step up and take leadership positions has been one of the biggest adjustments," Gleason said of his wealth of experience.

That experience may be what carries the Mustangs through the CHSAA. That has been the case so far. OLMA preformed very well in the first meet of the season, a Dec. 4 tilt at St. Anthony's.

 "I was happy," Gleason said about the opening competition, "It was a good starting point."

Key Meets:

  • Dec. 22: OLMA @ St. Anthony's, 4:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 15: OLMA @ the Armory, 9 a.m.
  • Jan. 21: OLMA @ St. Anthony's, 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 19: OLMA @ The Armory, 9 a.m.  

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