With a mostly young, but talented, team heading into the new cross-country season, FDR High’s track and field coach Brian Halling sees potential for great success.
In 2013, the Presidents’ boys squad finished fourth in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League (MHAL) and the girls finished fifth. One key for the younger members will be leadership from a pair of veteran runners, Halling said. He noted that last year’s best runners have matured considerably, and two in particular–10th grader Taylor Small for the girls, and 11th Garrett Burnett for the boys–are going to anchor the team.
Halling had only praise for his top two. “Taylor’s best quality is her leadership. Even as a sophomore, she is a role model for our new athletes and she leads by example daily. Garrett’s best quality would be his dedication. His commitment to his teammates and himself could be the best I’ve seen throughout my career as a coach and has a lot to do with why he is in the position he is heading into the season,” he said before the season started.
The pair will head a team with a very high ceiling, according to Halling, who is also confident in his underclassman runners. “We will have very strong performances throughout the season from a large group of talented youngsters,” he predicted.
Among those youthful runners are Joey Colaizzo and Nadia Cathcart, who Halling said will “lead a talented group of breakout athletes for us this year.”
“Joey has come back in great shape and he knows the sport and how to take care of his body. Nadia performed extremely well as a seventh grader last year and will continue her success this year running varsity as an 8th grader,” he said.
Halling added, “I think it’s very hard to talk about a ceiling for our team. We should be towards the top of the league this year and we are looking to continue the growth the team has seen over the past few years.”
The cross-country season opener at the Andy Bennett memorial tournament at Rhinebeck High School Sept. 6 proved his many points.
The Presidents boys came in first place with 24 points, beating Red Hook, with 34, and Rhinebeck, with 82 for third place. Halling’s go-to guys, Burnett and Colaizzo, finished first and fourth, respectively. Ryley Robinson (5), Wyatt Matyas (6), Joe Hues (8), John Farrell (10), David Goodman (11), Sean Tan (12), J.T. Matyas (14), and Chris Granados-Kramer (15) all placed in the top 15 for FDR.
The girls also pulled off a solid day; FDR came in second with 51, ahead of Rhinebeck and behind Red Hook. Taylor Small and Nadia Cathcart finished fourth and fifth, and Isabella Harris came in 13th.
At the Suffern Invitational at Bear Mountain Sept. 20, FDR dominated the sophomore boys race, coming in first with a time of 1:33.49, and placing four runners – Joey Colaizzo, John Farrell, Sean Tan, and Brian McGill – in the top 20.
The varsity boys came in 10th out of 23 competing teams in the Varsity B race with a total time of 1:31:40.61. Burnett finished in the top 20, placing 18th with a time of 16:45.4. The girls squad finished 15th out of 16 teams, with a total time of 2:00:56.10.