Written by Greg Giaconelli, Farmingdale@AntonNews.com Tuesday, 18 June 2013 00:00
These guys just keep running and running. Who’s going to catch them?
The Farmingdale Boys Track and Field Team finished in first place in the 4x100 meter relay in the state qualifiers on May 30. The squad became the only team from Long Island to book a trip upstate, to Middletown, where they represented Section 8 athletics at the State Championship meet on June 7-8.
Farmingdale’s relay speedsters consist of juniors Michael Tristano and Nico Fratto and sophomores Michael Outing and Kaliel Balmir. The boys started off the season with a time of 45.0 but after much hard work they caught fire and brought it down to an impressive 43.17. This record surpasses the junior and overall school record, previously 43.2 and is now the best time to date in the relay.
These relay racers not only play an integral role on the team, but they specialize in their own events as well.
Anchor leg Tristano has been running since middle school. His best time in the 100-meter is 10.6 seconds and he led the county in the 100msprint all season. Fratto started running last year and competes in the 200m run with his best mark at 22.5 seconds. He is also an all-star discus thrower. Outing also started running in seventh grade and led the county in the 110m “high hurdles” all season, with a top mark of 14.7 seconds. Balmir, who has been running since third grade, worked his way up the rankings in the 200m dash, notching a best time of 22.7 seconds.
Walt Henning and Tom Lindino, assisted by Erin Garvey are this year’s coaches. They train the boys in a variety of running techniques. “They practice their starts out on the blocks and the handoff often,” said Garvey. The boys also make use of the weight room as well as other training tools such as the hurdles or sleds.
One unusual aspect of their approach is an emphasis on rest. “We often use rest as a tool,” said Garvey. “When we get a day off, we get a day off.” The boys are all expected to train like sprinters, especially in the long distance runs, so it is good to keep them fresh and ready to run.
The staff has been challenged to conceive ways to keep working with the team and present them with different tasks and drills as they continue to improve. The young squad brings tremendous dedication to practice as well as competitions. “They showed up day in and day out to give 100 percent at every practice,” said Garvey. “We spent some 12-hour days at invitationals; we ran in the rain and snow. We practiced indoors if we were forced to, and the boys kept coming.”
The team chemistry is vital to success successful. “They look to be at their best not only for themselves, but because of how much they care about their teammates” said Garvey. “They pick each other up when they are down, and they are the first ones to call one another out if someone isn’t doing the right thing.” These guys work with each other year long to be at their top game and have each other’s back. It is not easy to find a group that is close to one another as this one. Although the championship did come to an unfortunate end, this group will be back again next year more confident and strong as they continue to overcome challenges.