Rye Country Day Qualifies for Penn Relays


In their first-ever track and field season, the Wildcats have come up with some stunning results. Led by coaches Charles Ogbonna and Ethan White, select members of the co-ed team traveled to Philadelphia April 28 to run against the top schools in the U.S. and the Caribbean at the Penn Relays.

Chibueze Nwakeze, Julie Shanus, Taylor Washington, and Thomas Galluccio

Brianna Morris, Victoria Montgomery, Sophie Cohen, Julie Shanus, and Rashi Narayan competed in front of more than 20,000 fans in the 4×100-meter relay, Small Schools Division. The boys’ team of Chibueze Nwakeze, Thomas Galluccio, Darren Douglas, Taylor Washington, and Jay Kurahashi-Sofue finished the 4×100 in the top half of the 270 schools entered.

The following day, at the Gold Rush Invitational held at Clarkstown South High School, Julie Shanus set two meet records, winning the 200 meters in 25.3 seconds, and the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 5 inches. Brianna Morris and Victoria Montgomery also had good showings in the 200, finishing in ninth (28.2) and 19th (30.2) places, respectively.

Julie Shanus races to another win

On the boys’ side, Galluccio finished tied for eighth in the 200 with another fast time of 23.9 seconds.

In the distances, Rashi Narayan had a huge personal record in the 800, dropping seven seconds off her time, as did Sarah Abreu in the mile. The 4×100 relay of Morris, Montgomery, Shanus, and Narayan took silver in a brisk 54 flat.

Barely pausing for breath, the Wildcats met Hackley, the two-time New York State champions (Private School Division). Shanus topped herself with a personal-best 11.9 to take the 100 meters, thereby qualifying for Nationals. Only a sophomore, she’s on pace to own every record at RCDS in the sprints and jumps.

Washington kept pace by winning the boys’ dash with his own best-ever time of 11.416 seconds. Taylor, who’ll be kicking soccer balls for Boston University in the fall and typically trains for soccer after track practice or a meet, added a second in the long jump with a strong of 20 feet, 1 inch.

Meanwhile, the boys’ 4×100 relay team has taken a medal in every race this spring against the likes of Horace Mann, Collegiate, Riverdale, Dalton, Poly Prep, Fieldston. and Hackley. Gallucio, a nationally ranked senior in squash, is Columbia-bound in the fall. Nwakeze, who keeps his hand in playing football and wrestling, is nearly as fast as Washington in the 100 meters, while fellow junior Douglas  (basketball and soccer) is one of the most versatile runners on the team, competing in the 400, 4×100 relay, 4×400 relay, and 800 meters.

Rye Country Day met Hackley and Collegiate again, and Washington had a monster jump, flying 20 feet and 10 inches to win the event. Nwakeze came in fourth, going over 19 feet. Sophomore Ruben Conn took fifth place in the 400 intermediate hurdles, the first time he’d run the event, in 78.8 seconds.

Ashley Wolitzer won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:45, and came back to take silver in the 1600-meter. Eighth-grader Caroline Kimmel gave a strong effort with a third-place finish in the 400-meter in 65 seconds from the unseeded heat.

Kudos to Scott Nelson, Wendy Haft, Steve Norman, and the other RCDS supporters who made a Wildcat track team happen. (Imagine how good they’d be with their own track to train on.)

Coming up this weekend are both the Westchester and New England championships, followed by the NYSAIS Championship Meet Wednesday, May 25.

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One Response to “Rye Country Day Qualifies for Penn Relays”

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