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Coach calls STVM girls track team ‘courageous’

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

DOWNTOWN AKRON — St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) High School’s girls track head coach Dan Lancianese said his team gave a “courageous” performance this season.

In dual meets, the team finished 8-0, continuing its multi-year winning streak.

“Our girls track team hasn’t lost in five years, as far as at dual meets,” he said.

Heading into the season, Lancianese said he knew STVM’s distance team “would be the anchor for the girls’ side.”

“This is a distance team that’s comprised of members of the four-time state champions in cross country,” he said. “This year, they racked up a whole boatload of points in the 4x800, in the 800, in the mile and the 2 mile. We were very deep in the distance side of things, and they carried the girls team a lot this year.”

Marissa Rossetti was “a tremendous silent leader” for the girls distance team, Lancianese said.

“She would run anywhere from 800 to 1600 to 3200 meters,” he noted. “She was a great senior leader for the program. She placed fifth in the state in the 1600 meters in the state meet.”

In addition, Lancianese called Julia Mendiola “an outstanding middle distance runner.”

“She’s an 800 runner, and she came very close to setting a school record for us,” the coach said.

According to Lancianese, another strength for STVM this season was the quality of the team’s sprinters. He said his squad featured “a pair of tremendous sprinters” in sophomore Imani Davis and senior Chelsea Laury.

“And another sprinter who really secured the girls teams for us was Katie Goedecke,” the coach said.

One area where Lancianese said he has been trying to develop the team is in the field events. That section of the team received some unexpected help this season, he stated.

“Four weeks ago, Chelsea Laury decided to jump into the long jump. We do not have a long jump runway or sand or pit or anything, so her only chance to practice long jumps was at meets,” he said. “But she ended up qualifying for the state championship in the long jump. She helped us get a lot of points in that arena.”

In the postseason, Lancianese said, the girls team won the district title and then proceeded to claim the regional championship.

One incredible facet of the team’s postseason run, Lancianese said, is that Davis was injured for all three weeks.

“She is my best sprinter, and I had to take her from four events down to two, because right before the week of the districts, she was diagnosed with two minor stress fractures in one leg. She would actually wear a boot during the day and at practice at night. She was virtually sprinting on a broken leg for three weeks,” the coach stated. “It showed tremendous courage on her part. She ended up leading off our 4x200 team at the state championships, which took third place, and she was fifth in the 200-meter dash. She is a tremendous talent as a sophomore, and I can’t say enough about her.”

Overall, STVM finished in fourth place at the Division II state meet.

“They showed well at the state based on what we had going in,” the coach said. “I think they gave a courageous performance, all things considered.”

Heading into next year, Lancianese said his team looks well-situated to continue its winning streak.

“We only lose two seniors out of the starting squad — we lose Chelsea and Marissa — and then we have everybody else coming back,” he said.

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