Outside in the raw cold of winter, coaches Blair Monyahan and Kevin Murphy have been preparing Rye’s track team for a slew of events in 2024. But the two coaches, in their second season together, think the team has already made its mark as it enters the new year.
“We’ve had some outstanding leadership from our upperclassmen, and some very strong newcomers in our freshman class,” Moynahan said of the team, which has already posted some strong finishes in December and January.
Most recently, at the Section 1 Dendy event hosted by Rockland Community College, senior Mali White finished second in the girls 600-meter race, junior Erin Ball finished second in the girls long jump, the girls 1000-meter race had three Rye athletes in the top five among 31 runners, and Rye finished second in the boys 4×800 relay.
The coaches noted how experience and camaraderie, spread over four or more grades, play an important role in how well a team competes.
“We’ve already seen how our freshmen and sophomores are reinvigorating things, and how our group is always so supportive of each other in every single event,” Murphy said. “Our juniors and seniors are standing up, cheering and motivating one another when someone else is out there.”
Much of the team’s leadership has bought into the motivational approach, Moynahan and Murphy said, whether they have arrived recently from a different sport or been with the team for a few years. Senior girls’ captain Mali White, who joined last season, has already had an effect, they said, as have others like senior boys’ captain Will Squarek, who’s been competing for years.
“Squarek has been here for five seasons, ever since he was in eighth grade,” Coach Murphy said. “He’ll run a race, finish, and stay standing up to motivate his other teammates. He and others have bought into our message, and he’s seen how this team has grown since the pandemic.”