Valentine’s Day was scheduled as the last meet of the year for the winter track teams. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. More snow and ice had coated the tracks, so the season-ending Hampton Bays meet had to be canceled.
Coach Kevin Barry was philosophical about the abrupt end to the season. “We got four of five meets run,” he said. “Some other schools only ended up with 2 meets.”
He added that COVID didn’t stop the team, although Mother Nature did loom large.
Coach Barry reflected on the season and his team. A veteran boys cross country coach at East Hampton, this was the first time he’s coached on Shelter Island, and his first season coaching girls in many years.
“The season was pretty brutal and tough, but the girls met it head on, they never complained about wind and rain, and just did their best,” he said.
The teams posted some good times. Many were not quite as fast as usual since the athletes were encumbered by wind and extra layers of clothing. Normally winter track is an indoor season, which minimizes the external factors.
The team of nine athletes were dedicated and coachable. Captains Ariana Carter and Olivia Overstreet were leaders, acting as assistant coaches when Coach Barry was engaged with helping to run the events at meets. Super freshwomen Sophie Clark and Kaitlyn Gulluscio were willing to try anything. Clark looks likely to hold the school record in the 55-meter hurdles.
Lily Page and Alex Burns showed a lot of ability and along with running veteran Izzy Fonseca were solid performers all season. Madison Springer and Andrea Napoles were called out as the work horses on the team, training hard for the middle-distance events.
Coach Barry gave a shout-out to the entire team for their hard work, noting that eight out of nine girls picked up either basketball or cheerleading as their second sport on Feb. 1.
The coach praised the entire Island athletic team. “Todd Gulluscio, Toby Green and Bryan Gallagher were a great crew to work with. They adapt to anything,” he said.
An example of Island ingenuity is the 200-meter grass track that Coach Green laid out in the field, allowing athletes to get the sense of an oval training track. Also, jumpers would practice by going to the beach, jumping from the parking lot into the sand to simulate the pit.
With no seniors on the team, Coach Barry sees the chance for an even stronger showing next year — hopefully one less impacted by COVID.