Written by Ronald Scaglia, email@example.com Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
For seven years Massapequa Boys Winter Track Coach Rich Degnan has been on a mission to bring home the Nassau County Championship to Massapequa. Although the team has been quite formidable in recent years, Massapequa has not captured that elusive championship since 1969. However, Degnan and his assistant coach Keith Hinnant believe that this year’s team can end that streak.
“This is the best group of athletes that I’ve had in the seven years that I’ve coached in Massapequa,” he remarked. “We’ve always been one of the best four teams, but this team has a legitimate shot at winning the county championship.”
The county championship will be decided on Feb. 8 at St. Anthony’s. This season, Massapequa has already enjoyed much success. At the Hispanic Games, held at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City, Massapequa captured first place in the Varsity Boys’ 4 x 800 Meter Relay Final, defeating 32 other teams with a mark of 8:06.48, which set a Massapequa record. That qualifies the team for the 2013 Millrose Games to be held on Feb. 16. Ryan Cooney, Dan DeLuna, Mike Pulieo and Lars Vedlilago were the Massapequa athletes who earned the victory. According to the team’s coach, DeLuna is the top ranked 800-meter runner in New York State and broke a record at the Molly Stanner Games by running 1,000 meters in 2:32.41. DeLuna was also a two-time winner at a recent conference championship held at St. Anthony’s in the 600 meter and 1,000 meter events.
“Danny DeLuna is our team captain,” said Degnan. “He is one of the finest middle distance runners I’ve coached. He’s what most Division I coaches would want on their team.”
Not to be outdone, Ryan Miller, also a team captain, is the number two-ranked miler in Nassau County. Miller won three events at that recent conference championship, in which Massapequa placed second, losing to Farmingdale by a mere nine points. Also earning all conference distinction were Don Grupski in the 55 meter hurdles, Mike Puleio in the 1,000 meter and 1,600 meter competitions, and Kyle Smith in the 3,200 meter event. The team of Ryan Cooney, Joe Pinto, Anthony Tesorerio and Mike Puleio combined to snag the conference championship at that event.
Another team captain, Alex Mercado, established a new school record of 48 feet four inches at the Millrose Trials in the 25 lb weight throw, and has qualified for national championships in March.