STVM boys track finishes second at state
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) High School boys track team won both the district and regional titles, and finished in second place at the state meet.
“At the state championship, it came down to the 4x400, and we lost to Dayton Dunbar by three,” head coach Dan Lancianese said.
During the regular season, the team finished with an 8-1 record in dual meets.
“Our highest place in an invitational was second at the Billy Barry Invitational in Tallmadge on April 7,” the coach stated.
In the postseason, Lancianese said, the STVM boys track team began to hit its stride.
“Because we don’t have a track at the school, my regular season record probably isn’t as good as it could be. I use dual meets and invitationals as dress rehearsals to try out different people in different places, because I can’t get a real read from running around the football field,” he said. “Along the way, we’re determining what our postseason team is going to look like. The guys team responded well. We came out of the districts qualifying 12 out of 17 events to the regionals, and in the regionals we qualified nine out of 17 events. Then, when you get down to Columbus, you want to try to get to the podium as many times as possible, and we did that in seven of the nine events. So I was happy with the young men.”
Lancianese said he could see improvement in his squad as the season went along.
“You could see a progression both on an individual basis and among each one of the departments,” he said. “And we got a nice find midway through the season when even our jump department increased with the addition of a basketball player named Travonte Junius. He was a sophomore who was completely raw when he started, but he was a real nice find by the end of the year.”
According to Lancianese, the “lead seniors” on this year’s team were Sean Poholski, Patrick O’Brien, Michael Hurley, Sae’Von Fitzgerald, Matt Matuska and Tyler Bischof.
“They were a different group than last year’s seniors,” Lancianese said. “There wasn’t the real proactive leadership that I’ve had in past senior groups with regards to the sprinters. My distance seniors took care of the distance department really easily, though, and they really groomed a lot of the younger runners. So that was a real plus.”
Two other key performers, the coach said, were junior Franshon Bickley and sophomore Parris Campbell.
“Those two sprinters came up really big at the end,” Lancianese said. “It’s pretty apparent that in track in field, if you want to rank high in the state championships, you can throw out the regular season. In the postseason, if you have a strong sprint corps, you’re going to score a lot of points, and those two guys really solidified us.”
The coach said this year’s roster required some finessing on the part of the coaching staff.
“We weren’t really a deep team, per se, when it came to competition and invitationals. We played around a lot with the schedule this year as far as the roster goes,” he said. “I knew on paper that in terms of raw talent, especially in the speed categories, we have an awful lot of depth. But, also, this was the first time in eight years that I didn’t have a first-class hurdler. But other than the hurdles category, which I had to rebuild, we were incredibly deep in sprint. And the distance team, which carried over from cross country, remained strong. My problem was that I couldn’t get all of the sprinters on a regular basis due to other commitments. So I couldn’t use them in everything I wanted to, so I was constantly shuffling around the roster.”
This year, 85 athletes went out for the team. With most of them slated to return next year, Lancianese said he foresees another successful season for the program.
“We have more than 70 coming back, and I know several incoming freshmen that I’m already looking forward to getting,” he said. “Plus, there are some other people walking the hallways that I plan on nabbing as well.”
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