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Chaminade On Fast Track

MinRunning squad welcomes the challenge

Chaminade High School track coach Brian Hayes feels the message is simple. “If you’re a boy on Long Island and if you want to run fast, this is a good place to go,” he said.

The record would seem to bear him out. Chaminade has been among the top track programs in Nassau County for quite some time. The Flyers have 150 youngsters from freshmen to senior classes with seven coaches on staff.

“Track here is well-respected with a great tradition,” Hayes said. “It builds on itself. Kids want to be part of it. Our size is our strength. Our kids are driven academically and athletically. They’re motivated both in the classroom and on the field. They want to succeed.”

And they often do.

Earlier this season, in the Marine Corps Classic, the Flyers’ distance medley team of Sean Kelly, Caelum Maloney, Gunnar Nolan and Thomas Slattery ran a 10:21. For two months, that time stood as the best in the country. Then there is Chaminade’s 4x200 meter team, which set a school record of 1:31.6 earlier this season.

“That’s a blazing fast time,” Hayes said. “They’re among the top 10 in the nation. We’re looking to qualify that team for the state championships.”

Slattery, Maloney, Kelly and Jordan Brown also captured the 4x400 at the NSCHAA varsity indoor championships, a meet in which Slattery won three gold medals.

Rocco Signore runs the leadoff leg on the 4x200 with James Roberts, Liam Bradley and Kelsey Barabei behind him. “My job is to set the tone,” Signore said, “It’s a big responsibility.”

Signore brings a unique style to his assignment.

“I lean way forward,” he said. “If I leaned forward any more, I’d fall on my face. But the more I lean, the faster I go.” 

So are the rest of his teammates following his lead? “I showed it to Kelsey,” he said. “I had trouble convincing him.”

And Signore said he doesn’t mind running in traffic, either. “I run better when I’ve got somebody right behind me,” he said.

Recently, the Flyers traveled to Boston for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix where some of the top distance runners in the country and the world were competing. “It was a great experience for our kids, staying in the same hotel, warming up on the track with some of the best runners in the world,” Hayes said. And it was there that Kelly learned an important lesson.

“Sean was running anchor on the 4x800 relay team,” Hayes said. “He got the baton in third place, 20 meters behind. He got the lead and was 20 meters ahead. Then he ran out of gas and we finished third. He needs to be more patient.”

Chaminade finished behind St. Anthony and St. John the Baptist in that race.