CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy winter track team is looking to continue the program’s success.

“The goal for many of our athletes is to set personal bests throughout the winter season,” said Richard O’Connor, who enters his third year as head coach of the winter track team and fifth year overall coaching track and field at Mount St. Dominic. “We hope to finish among the top teams in the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division and Non-Public B this season. We also hope to send as many athletes as possible to the state Meet of Champions at the end of the winter season.”

Sophomore and stand-out runner Alexa Raphael ’21 returns this season.

“Alexa Raphael, a stand-out softball player, burst onto the scene as a freshman setting the school records for the 55m dash (7.57) and 200m (27.02),” O’Connor said. “She returns this year as one of the top sprinters in Non-Public B.”

The team competed at the Essex County Track Coaches Association Season Opener Invitational on Friday, Dec. 14. Raphael finished in fourth place in the 55-meter dash and in 10th place in the 200-meter dash. Junior Julia Acevedo ’20 finished in 10th place in the long jump.

The team lost some key athletes to graduation.

“We graduated a very talented senior class last year in Holly Ruvo’18, who is competing at Gettysburg, Maddie Huelbig ’18, who is competing at Franklin and Marshall, and Katie Onello ’18, who qualified for the Meet of Champions in the 3200m last winter,” O’Connor said. “We have a very young team this year full of potential.”

Many athletes are expected to lead this year’s team.

“Seniors Bridget Murphy ’19 and Emily Sartori 19 return after strong winter seasons last year,” O’Connor said. “Juniors Anya Michalewski ’20 and Julia Acevedo ’20 both had very strong sophomore campaigns and have big goals for this winter. Sophomore Alexa Raphael ’21, school record holder in the 55m and 200m, is among the top sprinters in Non-Public B and will look to rewrite her own records this season. All of these athletes had a very solid open to the season at the ECTCA Season Opener Invitational. Sophia Amelung ’20, Faith Waldron ’19, Nicole Kahn ’20, and Alison Arcoleo ’21 are other returners who we expect to lead us this year.”

There are also some newcomers who will be key contributors.

Diana Yturbe ’22, a freshman who holds age-group records in powerlifting, is full of potential and will look to contribute in the sprints and throws this season,” O’Connor said. “Carol Aguirre ’21, a sophomore, is coming off a solid spring season as a freshman and competes with a fearless attitude. They are two newcomers who have stood out early in the season.”

The Lions will compete at the Super Essex Conference Championships on Saturday, Dec. 22, and at the NJCTC Relay Championships on Friday, Dec. 28.