Holy Child Athletes Look to Make Their Mark This Season

The Gryphons’ softball and track and field teams headline what appears to be a promising batch of spring programs.

Track and Field

Declan Foley, head coach of cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and field for five years, has his biggest team to date, with 33 athletes on the roster. They’ll be hard put to equal the 2010 season, when school records were broken in every individual event from 100 meters to 800 meters, as well as the shot put and numerous relays.


Senior captain Brianna McLoughlin leads a young group that’s looking to fill some big shoes left by eight graduating seniors, including three school record holders: Katelyn Racanelli, Katie Amodio, and Chidera Amilo.

Racanelli’s loss will be the toughest. “In her senior year she placed fifth in the N.Y. State meet in the 400-meter dash, qualified for the National Championships in the 400 as well, and helped us to a seventh-place finish at our league championships,” said Foley.

In her absence, juniors Isabelle Despins and Torie Regan look to head a large, eager group of sprinters, which includes freshmen Morgan Bryant, Maeve McGowan, and Imani Sherrill. Good news: they all ran very well during the indoor season. Fellow classmates Jada Williams and Chioma Nwana have looked good, too, in early season workouts.

McLoughlin heads a quality distance group strengthened by the return of junior Kendra McNulty and sophomore Ellen Lautenbach from cross-country, as well as junior Georgia Crane, who returns from injury, and freshman Tanya Slipsager from indoor track. All five are similar in capabilities and should see tremendous benefit from training together throughout the season.

Foley’s goals for his team include, “a top-five finish at the AAIS championships, qualifying individuals and relays for the State championships, new school records in the distance medley and 4×800 relays, and perhaps more!”

The team competes in the Nanuet Relays April 9.

Lacrosse

The Gryphons hope to rebound from a 7-10 season and return to the form that led them to the NYSAIS semifinal two years ago. Charles Sliter is in his first season as head coach, having been the assistant coach the past two seasons. He welcomes back core members of both the defense and offense, with an especially warm welcome for senior goalie Rachel Vallarelli. She represented Hudson Valley in the Empire State Games, and has made the U.S. U-19 training team. Vallarelli has already signed a letter of intent to play at UMass next season.

Senior goalkeeper Rachel Valarelli

Captains Julie Duignan and Mary Kate McErlean lead the defense, which lost Honorable Mention All-League D-wing Nell Davis to graduation. The midfield is bolstered by last year’s FAA Honorable Mention, junior Charlotte Elcock. Senior attackers Lucy Flanagan and Mary Ferrara return as well. Ferrara earned all-League Honorable Mention last season, and seeks to fill up the net with Flanagan in 2011.

Sliter is looking for contributions from freshman Maggie Welsh, as well as juniors Helen Brosnan and Molly Fitzwilliam, and senior Kate Hughes.

Softball

Holy Child should have a strong team this season with junior Kathleen Samuelson on the mound, senior catcher Bridget Cooney, and future college-bound shortstop, Chloe Giordano. The roster also includes seniors Lauren Manzino, India Campbell, Noelle Grieco, Sara Ghavidel, and Katie O’Grady.

“My captains – Giordano, Manzino, and Cooney – are outstanding leaders,” said head coach Jennifer Cirillo. “We are thrilled with their enthusiasm heading into the season. I am also fortunate to be coaching alongside Allison Rogers this season. She coached the JV team last year, and is a wonderful and powerful addition.”

Holy Child ace Kathleen Samuelson

The Gryphons’ returning juniors include Liz Poccia, who was hurt last season, and Emily Corelli. There’s fresh blood, too: sophomores Mary Henderson and Bella Mazzola should contribute.

Last year’s team advanced to the FAA final, where they lost to King. Cirillo has them focused on getting back and taking it one step further.

“We have 12 kids who can play,” said Cirillo. “We are extremely excited for the season and the kids feel they have some unfinished business to take care of.”

Golf

It’s great to be a golfer at Holy Child. This year’s group sharpened their golf skills at Orange County National Golf Club in Orlando, while we were still digging out of the snow. Veteran coach Mike Duignan said, “We have 27 golfers, which is a very large number for a high school program. The trip was a great way for the team to bond as friends and teammates.”

The varsity is captained by seniors and four-year players, Christina Bryde and Kristen Hudson. Their coach believes they, and instructors Barry Troiano and Monique Thoresz, will have the team working hard to improve their games. “Our team is very steady in the talent department. I see us improving as a team as the season goes on.”

The team’s opener against Hackley was rained out April 5. Their season-opener is now away at King April 12.

Tennis

Ex-Gryphon player and head coach Jenna Overszat admitted she’s looking forward to the upcoming season. “I am extremely confident in the team. Our No. 1 singles player, sophomore Tori Almeida, is very solid. This summer she attended Tennis Europe and did exceptionally well. Tori’s tournament play has only made her game stronger.”

Overszat went on to laud senior captains Stephanie Taylor and Morgan Muller. “We have a wide variety of talent this year. The best part about coaching these girls is that as intense as I may make practice, in the early morning and afternoons, they always seem to have a smile on their faces and make it fun for all of us.”

The season opener for the team of seven seniors, a junior, and four sophomores was a scrimmage post-press time against King April 6. The balls start flying for real April 8 at home against Marymount School.

Overszat mentioned seniors Mary Millard, the Ali’s (Kohl and Considine), Becky Mulqueen, and Julie Brown as contributors. Sole junior Lizzie Crowley, and sophomores Gianna Ciminello, Claire Holleran, and Mikaela Fitzwilliam are also being counted on.

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