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St. Francis girls track team takes fourth

St. Francis Prep girls track coach Jim May has a pre-meet routine. He likes to sit down and examine each event, penciling in where he feels the Terriers can score points. But on Saturday at the CHSAA city championships at Mount St. Michael in the Bronx, May broke with tradition.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said the 20-year coach. “I really didn’t think we had a shot at anything.”

May was pleasantly surprised as a young St. Francis Prep team finished fourth behind Holy Trinity, Sacred Heart Academy and St. Joseph by the Sea, which surpassed the Terriers into third place thanks to a third place finish in the day’s final race, the 4x400 relay.

“The girls are all new and just about all are coming back next year, which is a good thing,” May said. “Things are looking better for next year.”

What was one of the biggest surprises for May was the work of his field athletes, specifically the throwers, who accounted for 16 of Prep’s 32 total points.

Leading the charge was sophomore Caitlin Kennedy, who won the javelin with a throw of 96'01. She also placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 28'09.

“She is new to [javelin] and I’m shocked at how well she did,” said Prep's throwing coach Dave Daly. “The grass wasn’t conducive to a long throw.”

Overnight rain made the grass very wet and Kennedy wasn’t initially prepared. But thanks to teammate Dana Kirchoff, who donated a pair of cleats, Kennedy was set to throw.

“As it went on, I got better," said Kennedy, from Baldwin, L.I. who won the Brooklyn/Queens title in the shot put. “I usually throw better in the shot though.”

St. Francis Prep junior Susie O'Connell placed second in the javelin with a throw of 94'03.

“As long as someone on my team beat me, its OK,” said the Bayside resident. “It was my best throw of the year and I couldn’t ask for any better than that.”

O’Connell, like the other members of the throwing team, plays another sport at St. Francis Prep. While Kennedy, Kirchoff, Kristina Elrose are on the basketball team, O’Connell plays soccer at Prep in the fall.

“We’re a very close group,” said Elrose, who finished second in the discus with a throw of 95'06. “The closeness of this team and the work ethic definitely comes from basketball. We all played summer league basketball and we’ve known each other a long time.”

Despite qualifying for the State Championships, to be held at Mitchel Field in Uniondale June 8 and 9, Elrose wasn’t happy with her second place finish.

“I didn’t throw my best,” said the junior from Ozone Park, who is only in her second year of throwing the discus. “I was really nervous coming in and I fouled my first throw.”

Other finishers for Prep were Angela Crawford, who took fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 32'03, Megan Edwards, who was fourth in the 3,000-meter in 11:16.98, Camille Cameron, who placed fourth in the 100-meter in 13.16 and the 4x800 relay team, which took third behind Bishop Loughlin and St. Anthony’s in 9:59.65.

In its first outing in the city championships, the Molloy girls track team finished 11th with four points, as Valerie Maignan was fourth in the 100-meter high hurdles in 17.43, Jackie Singnelli took fifth in the high jump with a mark of 4'06 and Natalie Lebron placed fifth in the 1,500-meter in 5:03.95.

The Mary Louis Academy was 12th with 3.5 points as the 4x100 relay team finished third in 52.06 and the 4x400 relay team finished tied for fifth with Sacred Heart Academy in 4:19.19. Valerie Mellow garnered St. John's Prep’s lone point with a fifth place finish in the 800-meter in 2:25.14.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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