The following article appears courtesy of Pete McNeill, Sachem East Girls Track coach.
Every year the Sachem East Girls Cross Country team starts its competitive season with the RGBW (red, gold, black, and white) intrasquad scrimmage in order to review meet procedures, do some team bonding, and get a good competitive effort in.
This year three things were different. Due to the way this year's schedule worked out this scrimmage actually came after the first meet (East downed Lindy on Tuesday). Also, due to the large team roster, an additional squad was added to the scrimmage- the rainbow team. And, probably as a result of the other two changes, this 2012 version was probably the most spirited in the eight-year history of the event. The competition was fierce.
There were actually two battles going on. Of course, there was the battle for the win. Which squad would have the lowest score and take home the team title? But there also was the drama and pageantry of the other coveted title. The special recognition that goes to the squad named as the most spirited. With each of the 5 squads fielding a good mix of seasoned veterans and rookies, and with each squad sporting matching outfits, team chants, warpaint, sunglasses, and other nonsense, warm ups were kind of brash and rowdy. But now it was time to race.
The five squads took to the starting line with the Black team looking menacing and the Rainbow team appearing relaxed. The White team was looking very retro, with Red emanating power and the Gold team very regal (they were wearing crowns). Special guest race starter Maria Michta, just back to Long Island after getting to meet President Barack Obama at the White House (with the U.S. Olympic team), gave the commands and the race was off!
Rainbow team captain Shannon O'Hehir took the lead from the start and won in an impressive time of 9:35. Jayda Allen, Kaitlin DeMartino and Nicole Silvestre (Rainbow) bunched together at 10:07 with Ciara Murphy (Rainbow) just behind at 10:14. The team battle still looked close as Katie Hempfling and Holly Lindoe crossed the line, but with Frosh Karli Murphy of the Rainbow squad placing 8th the team battle looked like a done deal. Ali Figalora and Meaghan Murphy filled out the top ten overall.
Team results: Rainbow team was 1st, with 32 points. Barbie Lam was Rainbow's 5th scorer, and Ashley Mercado and Sam Curry both contributed to the win. Captain Holly Lindoe's White team was 2nd with 58 points. Ali Fig's Red team was 3rd, 68 points, Captain Sarah LaPorta's Black team 4th with 74 points, and the Gold team 5th with 101 points. The competition for the "Most Spirited" title was nip and tuck, with the Gold team (led by Devan Classi) getting the nod for both their jewel covered gold crowns, and the pretty gold flowers they picked for the coaches!
Perhaps the highlight of the day was seeing the remarkable 1 year improvements by a number of the girls. Kudos to Jayda Allen (2:22) Courtney Evola (2:24), Jen Campbell (2:37), and Jaimie Fleming (3:38), for huge improvements of not just seconds, but minutes, over last years times.
The East girls will be traveling upstate with the Sachem North girls next Saturday for the Bowdoin Park Cross Country Classic, held at the annual site of the New York State Federation Championship, and hosted by the Section 1 Coaches Association.