STVM boys track team takes home Division II state title
WEST AKRON — The St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) High School boys track team won the Division II state title June 8, and head coach Dan Lancianese said the best way to describe this year’s squad is “courageous.”
“They stepped up in a very big way this season,” he stated. “Looking at it on paper, I never would have expected this. This team won on pure heart and determination. I’m incredibly proud of their courage.”
Overall, the boys track team finished 9-0 in dual meets, and Lancianese said the highlight of the regular season was a win over Walsh Jesuit High School.
“At that point in time is when I finally felt we had the pieces put together,” he said. “That was a major upset win for us. They are a very powerful program, and they’re deeper than us. We put it all together for that race, and that’s when I knew these boys were on the right path for the postseason.”
One thing that made this year’s success surprising, Lancianese said, was that the team didn’t have a lot of experience “on the sprinters/hurdlers/jumpers side of things.”
“Parris Campbell and Franshon Bickley were the only true sprinters that I’ve had on the team in the past several years,” the coach stated. “The rest of them were brand new to the varsity track and field circuit, such as Vince Lockett and Jordan Sensabaugh. And the biggest surprise diamond in the rough was Jarel Woolridge. Those guys were the nucleus of the sprint core that I had. They weren’t very experienced; they were just talented and fast.”
STVM’s distance team played a key role in the team’s success this season, Lancianese said.
“The key to going 9-0 was our distance team, which also was very young with the exception of two seniors, Nick Iacofano and Matt Oswald,” the coach said. “They’ve been the anchor for the entire program this whole spring season and made us competitive.”
In addition to the team’s overall success at the state meet, Lancianese noted, STVM also scored several individual triumphs.
“While I was really satisfied to win the team title, we also had medal-winners in three different departments,” he said. “We had Nick Iacofano placing in distance races and we had the sprinters placing in the sprints and relays. But the biggest surprise of all was a kid who just started long jumping for me three weeks ago, a junior named Travente Junius. He ended up really putting us over the top. He took second in the long jump down at Columbus.”
Lancianese said he saw improvement from his team as the season progressed, and it all culminated with a win at the end.
“I use personal growth points for everybody on the team, and the growth was absolutely showing throughout the year,” he said. “I could see the improvement by the clock. They were peaking at just the right time.”
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