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Boys high school track preview: Chaminade hopes to complete rare triple

Chaminade's winning 4x800m relay team of Tom Slattery,

Chaminade's winning 4x800m relay team of Tom Slattery, Joe White, Gunnar Nolan and Andrew Doritte pose after posting a time of 7:53.03 at the NYRR Millrose Games at the New Balance Track and Field Center on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. (Credit: Errol Anderson)

Chaminade can feel it. They can see it. They can even taste it.

After winning both the cross country and winter track CHSAA intersectional championships, the Flyers are one season and one more intersectional title away from what would undoubtedly be their finest achievement — the triple crown.

Chaminade hasn’t won the most prestigious CHSAA title across all three seasons since the 1997-1998 school year, coach Brian Hayes said. For further perspective, Hayes was a junior on that team.

“That’s when I was born,” jumper Reggie Verrier said. “My life has been leading up to this. That’s what this means.”

The junior won the winter intersectional title in the long jump and the CHSAA winter league title in both the long and the triple jump and points from the field will take pressure off the Flyers’ great distance and relay contingent.

“We are building our depth right now,” Verrier said. “We’re getting more guys who can put the work in. We’re going for the points and we’re going to win.”

Kelsey Baradzi and Liam Bradley will complement that depth in middle-distance events. Baradzi primarily runs the 200-meter dash, while Bradley will run both the 200 and 400. Michael Raver and Billy Ulrich will contribute in the longer events, concentrating on the 800 and 1,600. 

Aidan Lynch will throw the shot put, Hayes said. 

There would be no discussion of a triple crown without big performances from Tom Slattery, Sean Kelly, Gunnar Nolan and Andrew Dorritie. The quartet made waves across the track scene this winter, combining to win a 4 x 800 relay for a national and state championship.

The group will “most likely,” make up the Flyers’ main 4 x 800 squad this spring, Hayes said. But, with capable runners such as Joe White, Tommy Hayes, Raver and Ulrich, the competition for a spot on the state and national relay squads will be fierce.

For the Flyers’ winter 4 x 800, a team that ran big races late in the season, the first few weeks of the spring will be focused on cooling down. 

The goal is to be running at their best in late May, not late March. For that to happen, they must make sure that the success of the winter doesn’t lead to them burning out in the spring. 

“I like to think about track as a plateau,” Nolan said. “You have to build a base. You want to peak around championship season. A lot of it is smart coaching [and] working hard without overworking.”

That method has proved successful twice already this school year. A third time, and a third title, would be mighty special for all involved, especially those who are spending their final three months in red and gold.

“It’s an absolute honor to have this shot,” Slattery, a senior, said. “I take so much pride in my school. My brother, William, went here. So, just from a family perspective, it would be huge.”

It would truly be a crowning achievement.

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