Calhoun High School girls track team not only won their third straight conference title on April 29, but they now have the longest winning streak in Nassau County at 51 in a row.
Every week throughout the season, the girls would face a different task from running against some of the best sprinters in the state or having to compete with the perennial county champions Manhasset Indians in the first league meet of the year. As each week came and gone, however, the girls would always wind up on top, with only Manhasset coming within 25 points of them.
April 29 was the girls last league meet and one they have been looking forward to all year. They would take their 11-0 record with them as they traveled to MacArthur High School to compete against the generals and cross town rival Mepham Pirates. If the players lost to even one of these teams, it could jeopardize their entire season.
“The girls had a focus about them that entire day in school. You could tell hours before the meet began that it was going to be a good night,” said coach Joseph Migliano.
Calhoun got out to a fast start, taking first and second in the 400-meter hurdles, and following that up with first, third and fourth in the 1,500-meter race.
“Our distance crew has really stepped up all season,” Migliano. “They are young, strong and motivated to be special. They have been solid all year scoring major points for the team.”
The Calhoun sprinters were no different. Led by junior captain Lisa Jose, the girls took 15 out of 20 points in the sprints.
“I felt confident going into the meet because everyone had worked so hard this season and we knew what we were capable of accomplishing,” said Jose. “There was definitely a lot of pressure to maintain our winning streak but that only motivated us more to compete to the best of our abilities regardless of what the other teams put out there.”
Jose and best friend Kristina Losquadro dominated the sprinting events for the team all season. Not one meet has gone by that they haven’t been a major contributor, he explained.
“Lisa has always been a standout athlete, but this year she evolved into a leader and captain. Someone the younger girls could look up to and emulate,” Migliano said.
Traditionally Calhoun would score big in the field events and that was no different. Throwers Jamie Campanelli, captain Victoria Unz, Melissa Kurlanchik and Erica Klein had another stellar day winning the shot put and Discus.
“They contribute so much and no one ever sees it because the throws aren’t on the track. The team, however knows, and has a deep respect and gratitude for everything the throwers do,” Migliano added.
Calhoun put any doubt in this meet to rest with the rest of the field events. Nicole Devlin, Victoria Drewes and Ava Bayat swept the High Jump. Sarah Tappeto led the girls into triple jump, and she along with Lisa Jose and Maura Walters swept the event.
“Sarah is such a special athlete. Not only is she a leader on the track, but she is the lacrosse team captain as well. Balancing two sports in one season is tough, but with the talent and work ethic Sarah Tappeto has, she makes it look easy,” added Migliano.
It would be hard to talk about Calhoun’s success this spring season and not mention stand out eighth grader Sara Manson. She hurdles, sprints, jumps, pole vaults and is one of the top 400-meter runners on the team. Yesterday was no different for Sara, she won the 100-meter hurdles, pole vault and long jump. Sara has also qualified for the New Balance National Championships in Long and Triple Jump.
“Sara leaves me speechless on a daily basis. She just turned 14 years old and has the mentality of a proven veteran. She’s strong, confident, dedicated and one terrific athlete. Every day, she strives to get better and our practices usually end with me having to kick her out of the weight room. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of this young lady, and I can’t wait for the years to come to watch her grow in the sport she loves,” said Migliano.
The girls closed out the meet with a first-place finish in the 4x400-meter race led by junior captain Elizabeth Tuzzolo.
“Liz is the heart of our middle-distance program. The girls look up to her for leadership and guidance. Nothing said this more than her getting over 95 percent of the votes along with Lisa Jose for team captain. Good or bad, Liz leaves it all on the track and sets the standard for our 400-meter runners,” added Migliano.
At the end of the day, the girls did what they set out to do months ago. Winning this meet with 115 points, beating MacArthur and Mepham by 90 and claiming another Conference Championship.
“This is a very special group of young ladies I get to work with. We maybe one of the youngest teams winning in Nassau, but we have heart and work ethic for days,” said Migliano. “No matter if we were up by 100 or down, the girls compete like we’re losing. Leaving everything they had on the track all season long. I couldn’t ask for anything more from them. They have turned a track and field team into a track and field program, with standards and expectations.”