For veteran St. Bede Academy track and field coach Mike Skolfanc and his coaching staff, it’s a numbers game. SBA has 15 athletes out for the boys team along with only nine girls.
On the girls side, Skolfanc has a roster with no seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.
Sophomore Zoe Postula will look to lead the charge for the Lady Bruins in the hurdle events and high jump who will look to replace discus thrower Lauren Urbanowski.
“Last year, she showed the potential to hit the qualifying standard in the high jump on occasion,” said Skolfanc of his sophomore jumper. “She is looking to be more consistent this year, and her goal would be to qualify for the state meet in the high jump.”
Juniors Holly Gregorich and Maddy Ellis will be the most experienced sprinters while Maddy Pearson and Courtney Cook will handle the throwing events. Freshmen Annie Needs will look to continue on her growth during the cross country season while Katy Kennamer, Lauren Silfies and Teresa Sujaun round out the track and field roster.
“I have a group of girls, although it is a small group, that up to this point has shown that they are willing to work hard and as a coach that is all I can ask for,” Skolfanc said.
“The coaching staff and athletes are looking for a productive and fun season,” Skolfanc said. “As coaches we are in the teaching business, so our goal is to teach all of the girls about the sport and how to train in a safe way. By doing so they can be productive, injury free and also have a rewarding experience in the sport.”
Despite the low numbers, Skolfanc knows his team will meet a challenge with the quality programs and coaches in the conference and in the area that each meet will be a challenge for his young kids.
The boys team has balance throughout the four classes but will face the daunting task of replacing state medalist Steve Gualandri.
“He meant so much to our program last year,” said Skolfanc of the state medalist along with the number of seniors that they lost to graduation.
Leading the way for the Bruins will be senior Leo Lopez who will be running the 400 and 800 most of the year. Senior Michael Slingsby and sophomore John Barnes will lead the shot put and discus corps along with sophomore hurdler and triple jumper Baylee Hopps.
“I am hoping Leo can reach his potential in the half mile and maybe by the end of the year will have put himself in a position to make a serious run at qualifying for the state meet in that event,” said Skolfanc of the LaMoille product.
According to Skolfanc, Hopps, another LaMoille product, came on very strong at the end of last year in the two events and is positive he will continue to progress in both events.
“Baylee has set some lofty goals for both, and I believe he can obtain those goals,” said Skolfanc.
The team is short on milers and two milers but will have three middle distance runners including senior Connor MacDavitt, junior Jeff Barnes and Lopez.
As with the girls, Skolfanc’s boy’s team will face a tough schedule with being in a great part of the state for track and field.
“It’s a young team but they are all working hard and are ready to get the season started,” said Skolfanc. “I have some individuals who will be in contention to qualify for the state meet if they all stay healthy and train hard. They are a very hard working group and are eager to compete. Hopefully,everyone will be running and jumping their best at the end of the year.”
The boys track and field roster is rounded out by seniors Fermin Sajuan and Chris Sampson; juniors Spencer Barnes and Justin Shaw; sophomore Gavin Julian; freshmen Joe Marenda, Carter Funfsinn, Jose Acosta and Derrick Scarpaci.
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