The FDR winter track and field team has already completed over half of its season, and many of the athletes are growing stronger with each meet.
“The kids are doing really well for a young team,” head coach Brian Halling told the Observer. “We have placed high in our meets, which we didn’t do last year. It’s great to see.”
With a brand-new outdoor track ready for the spring, excitement over the track and field program has grown. As a result, the winter team has doubled in size, with many students seizing the opportunity to prepare for spring.
The winter team has practiced on the new surface when the weather has been friendly. However, with all of the recent snow that has hit Hyde Park, FDR usually has to practice indoors, either in the school’s gymnasium or weight room, where students can work on their physical strength.
FDR travels to West Point for its indoor competitions, because the military academy has the only indoor track facility in the area.
So far this season, the Presidents have competed in two meets at the facility: a developmental meet on Dec. 13, and a relay meet on Jan. 4. In both meets, FDR athletes place in the top eight in several events.
That’s impressed the head coach.
“The best word to describe our team is growth; we are trying to give them confident and experience,” Halling said. “Right now, we are competing, and our meet scores show that.”
Sophomore Keymero King, a running back on the school’s football team, has been a top track performer for the Presidents. King finished fifth in the 55-meter dash at the Dec. 13 meet with a time of 6.8 seconds.
Regina Mun set a new school record in the 1500-meter racewalk at the same meet, completing the event in 9:04.9. In racewalking, which has been an Olympic event for more than a century, a runner’s foot must be in contact with the ground at all times.
One of the strengths of the FDR team has been the relay groups. The boys 800-meter relay team of Evan Quatani, Joe Mckuin, John Campanela, and Xavier Christie placed third on Dec. 13, finishing with a time of 1:40.7. The same group came in fifth (1:44.6) at the Jan. 4 meet.
Other top relay performances for the Presidents came from the boys 3200-meter team on Dec. 13 (9:13.4, second place), the girls 3200-meter team on Dec. 13 (12:04.8, fourth place), and the boys sprint medley team on Jan. 4 (3:57.7, second place).
“Relays are always strong because we have a lot of depth,” Halling noted.
The Presidents compete in Class A, Division II for Section 9, against Minisink Valley, Valley Central, Washingtonville, and Warwick. The division championship meet will take place on Jan. 31, and on Feb. 14, the teams compete in the Section 9 meet. Both take place at West Point.