CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy cross-country team had a successful season after moving to a more competitive division.
The Lions finished with a 5-3 record in the Super Essex Conference American Division and finished third in the SEC American Division championship meet.
“These performances were right in line with our expectations heading into the season after being moved up to the American Division, the most competitive division in the SEC,” said Robert DeCarlo, who completed his second year as head coach.
The team was led by senior Carol Aguirre and junior Juliana Herbst.
“They were our two most consistent and successful performers this fall,” DeCarlo said. “With the cancellation/postponement of the volleyball season to 2021, Carol was invited to join the team after several years of excellent performances in indoor and outdoor track. After a few races, Carol established herself not only as our top runner but as one of the better runners in the area.
“Her season-best time of 20:34 at Branch Brook Park ranks her in the top 100 all-time on that course as well as one of the 10 best runners in Mount St. Dominic Academy history. Carol also medaled at the North Jersey Championships and at the NJSIAA North Non-Public A sectionals.
“Juliana, a three-year runner for us, has developed into one of our most reliable runners and has improved by minutes since her freshman year,” he said. “Her 22:33 at the SEC American championship meet was over three minutes faster than her time at last year’s SEC Liberty Division meet on the same course.”
Senior captains Elena Tyndall and Lizzie Victori played key leadership roles.
“In addition to Carol Aguirre, our two senior captains were among the very best leaders I’ve worked with in my 20-plus-year coaching career,” DeCarlo said. “They led this team in every possible way – motivationally, organizationally, etc. – and did so despite the numerous challenges COVID-19 placed in front of us. I can’t say enough about their leadership and reliability this summer and fall.”
He is optimistic about next year’s squad.
“If our returners are able to train consistently next summer and everyone stays healthy and safe, we have a very bright future ahead of us. Next year’s projected captains, Juliana Herbst, Victoria Wall and Carina Navas (who will be seniors), have some big running sneakers to fill, but I have every confidence in their ability to guide us on our return to glory.
“Ava LaBruno, Cara D’Angelo, Amanda Hayes, Mary Katherine Kenney, Lea Przyhocki as well as Olivia LaBruno and Michela Peluso, who also joined us after volleyball shut down (who will be juniors), all have tremendous potential and natural talent. Cassidy Sontz (who will be a sophomore) had a strong rookie campaign and should be a consistent scorer for us the next few years.”
DeCarlo is grateful to all those who helped make this season a success.
“This team wouldn’t have been able to compete, nor would have been nearly as successful, without the leadership of our captains as well as the help of two invaluable assistant coaches, Mike Vigil and Bud Ayres, who were present at workouts and runs in my absence during the early parts of the season,” said the coach, who took some time off as he and his wife welcomed their first daughter in September.
“The support of our administration, (athletic director) Lorenzo Sozio and (head of school) Sister Fran Sullivan, who allowed our athletes the opportunity to compete, and the trust and diligence of our parents in keeping our athletes safe and on task led to the best possible season, given the circumstances.”
- In the News