We have reached July 1st. This is the month where we will be able to restart athletics at Marian for the first time since the second week of March. It was that day that the boy’s basketball team had its final practice of the season as they were preparing to play in the Regional that weekend. Of course, they had no idea that they thought would be done in the blink of an eye. The Spring athletes felt the same way. Many had started pre-season workouts in anticipation of a coming together as a team to win championships. Sectional Championships just like our Girls Basketball team had claimed less than a month before. Or Regional Championships, like our Football team and Girls Soccer team had claimed in November. But, as has been well documented and talked about constantly, they never got the chance.
As we said at the beginning. Today is July 1st. And while Marian makes plans to welcome back our 2020-21 athletes for Summer workouts after the weekend, we thought we would reflect on the Spring Sports teams who had their seasons taken away by Covid-19. At the end of this month, these same Seniors will celebrate Baccalaureate and Graduation. For now, we simply want to say thank you.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Marian Athletics is proud to put a spotlight on the Seniors of our Spring Sports teams. Despite the careers of each of these fine young people ended in a way they or anyone else could have anticipated, they were invaluable members of not only their teams where they served as leaders, but members of the Marian Community that will be greatly missed. With the help of their coaches and others involved, we begin with the Girls Track team.
Our four seniors are: Gabby Dennis, Paulina Carles, Lauren Bryant, and Claire Cataldo. They all were consistently involved in the pre-season conditioning and training. They established an enthusiasm and work ethic that provided the tone and atmosphere we needed to have a very good season. Because of their leadership, all of the coaches were anticipating a solid season for the girls’ track team.
Gabby Dennis has been a stalwart thrower for Marian in the shot and the discus throughout her high school career. In the time I have coached at Marian, Gabby is one of a few girls to have committed to the shot and the discus for all 4 years. Each year, she has trained with the boys and coach Morris. This year she worked with them from January until March often throwing outside in very cold weather to prepare for the upcoming indoor meets. She competed in the meet on March 7th in the shot put. This was the first indoor meet she ever entered, and her performance was sound. Coach Morris felt that Gabby would likely set a new PR in the shot this year, but he was even more optimistic about her performance in the discus. She was likely to throw the discus in the mid-nineties by the end of the season, which is a very competitive distance. She has made a key contributions to the Marian track program. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and one of the best students in her class. She will be attending St. Mary’s College next year.
Paulina Carles joined the track team last year when she transferred to Marian from outside of the state. She has been a very strong addition to the team. Last year, she was a key member of the 4 x 800 relay that finished 7th in the state at the indoor state finals at Indiana University in March. She also qualified for Regionals as a member of the 4 x 800 relay in the Spring season. This year she came to preseason workouts in even better running shape than she demonstrated in her junior year. She has been one of our strongest distance runners this year due to her more intense training and increased strength. She and the other members of the 4 x 800 relay team were ranked 9th overall in the state indoor qualifying meets at the time that season was stalled. Our distance runners were actually ahead of their performance at this time last year. They were poised to finish higher in the indoor finals this year and likely would also exceed their performance in Regionals this spring with the possibility of qualifying for the state meet in June. Paulina is also a very good student, a member of the National Honor Society, and quite an accomplished thespian as was evident in her performance last year as the witch in Into The Woods. Paulina has been a great addition to Marian, and we were fortunate to have her. Paulina will be attending Benedictine College and playing soccer there.
Lauren Bryant served this year as one of our co-captains, and she is very deserving of that honor. She is our best distance runner in the 800 and the 1600. She demonstrated her strong ability in her freshman year in an early April meet against Penn. They had the two best 1600 meter runners in the city. Lauren chased down their number two runner passing her in the third lap and then closed on their top runner passing her in the backstretch of the last lap. She lost to the Penn runner in the home stretch, but she clearly established herself as one of the best 1600m runners in the conference. A knee injury later in the season set her back through her sophomore year. Last year she regained her strength and form and was again our leading distance runner. Her ability to anchor the 4 x 800 so well enabled our relay team to finish 7th in the state indoor meet in March and finish 7th at Regionals in the Spring. Lauren returned this year even stronger physically and focused on qualifying for state. She set the tone for our early training and fulfilled her role as captain by encouraging her teammates to train effectively as well. Our distance runs were stronger. Our track sessions were also more demanding, and more runners were able to handle them very well. As a result, we were ahead of our training compared to this time last year. Lauren’s leadership was a big catalyst for these improvements. Lauren had a conflict which prevented her from competing in the March 7th HSR qualifier, but her teammates earned a time in the 4 x 800 relay that placed Marian 9th in the state. We were scheduled for a second qualifier on March 14th, and Lauren would have stepped in to anchor that relay which would most likely have improved our time substantially. It could have moved us into the top 5 qualifiers We were clearly stronger this year and were poised to do even better at indoor state and in the tournament during the outdoor season. Lauren has been one of the best distance runners that I have coached at Marian. She is talented, dedicated and a positive influence on her teammates. She has had a significant impact on our program. Moreover, she is an outstanding student, president of the National Honor Society at Marian, and committed to community service. Lauren is a scholar athlete who has represented Marian High School quite well. She is still deciding between Rose-Hulman or Indiana University for next year.
Claire Cataldo also served as one of our co-captains this year, and she is well suited to for that role. Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious. Claire has always been willing to take on challenges and succeed in meeting them. Her positive demeanor has made this season start off with an upbeat atmosphere that helped everyone progress well. Claire’s main events are the 100m and 300m hurdles. Over her four seasons, she has become a very good hurdler. She has diligently honed her hurdling technique, and she has the confidence to attack the hurdles with dauntless courage. Last season she finished well in the conference meet and was our best 300m hurdler. This year she was determined to improve even more in both the 100m and 300m events. When our season halted abruptly, Claire was already well ahead of her performance last year. She had stepped up her training and regularly joined the distance runners when they did their arduous interval workouts on the track. She impressed all of us with her ability to run those workouts right with the 800m group. Claire had developed the extra endurance needed to drop her time substantially in the 300m hurdles. Also Claire found the 3 step rhythm in 100m hurdles which was the key to reducing her time in the that race. Hurdling is an art that requires total commitment combined with a fluid rhythm and unwavering courage. Claire achieved that level of ability and was poised for a great Spring season. She set a standard for our team in terms of the value of strong training and the patience needed to build confidence. Claire is also a very strong student, a member of the National Honor Society, a class leader. Everyone was excited to hear that she earned acceptance to the University of Notre Dame for next year. She is currently deciding between Notre Dame and Hope College.
As you can see, the girls’ track was blessed with a group outstanding seniors this year. They each are very intelligent, very dedicated and strong leaders. More importantly, each one is a wonderful person, an exceptional student, a great teammate, and a pleasure to coach. We will miss them.
Dave Walsh – Head Girls Track Coach