St Anthony's Jack Morelli competes in the state CHSAA Intersectional...

St Anthony's Jack Morelli competes in the state CHSAA Intersectional Track and Field Championship at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island on May 25, 2024. Credit: /James Messerschmidt

On the backs of its distance runners, St. Anthony’s boys track and field represented Long Island well at the CHSAA Intersectional Championships on Saturday at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island.

Both the boys and girls from Long Island schools got off to slow starts, with neither side winning a race, or any event, for the first 2 1⁄2 hours of the meet. Once the boys 3,200 meters came around, St. Anthony’s senior distance runner Jack Morelli broke the collective dry spell and put Long Island on the map.

Though Morelli finished the race in second place, he ran it in 9 minutes, 18.91 seconds, which was fast enough to secure an at-large bid to the state championship.

Morelli, a Boston College commit, was disappointed that he did not win his race outright. However, he was still proud to become the first Long Islander at Saturday’s meet to clinch a spot in the state championships, scheduled for June 7-8 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

“I’m really happy about it,” Morelli said. “For my team, I want to be a role model for the younger kids. I can’t walk away annoyed. I’m just going to keep my head up and get ready for the state meet.”

Around a half hour later came Long Island’s first individual champion of the day: St. Anthony’s distance runner Collin McLaughlin. The senior blew the competition away in the 1,600, posting a 4:20.39, which was more than four seconds clear of the second-place finisher. By finishing in first place, McLaughlin automatically qualified for the state championships.

Winning the 1,600 was a dream come true for McLaughlin.

“I’ve always wanted to win this meet in the 1,600,” McLaughlin said. “I’m just really happy to go to states, as well. My plan for this meet was to go out and run at about 4:20 pace and then try to close a little faster. I think I was a little slow at the [1,200-meter mark], but I still got the win, anyway.”

By dominating the competition in the way he did, McLaughlin gained some extra belief in himself going into the state championships.

“It gives me a lot of confidence,” McLaughlin said. “I ran, basically by myself for the first two laps. I know there’s a lot of good guys on Long Island that I’ll be seeing at states, but I’ll compete the best I can against them.”

McLaughlin, a Stony Brook commit, also credited fellow senior and teammate Regan Macpherson, who ran directly behind him during the third lap

“My teammate, Regan, helped me out in the third lap,” McLaughlin said. “Thanks to him, I was able to save some energy to get it going on the last lap.”

During the 4  x  800 relay, Morelli ran St. Anthony’s first leg and busted out to a sizable lead before passing the baton to sophomore Nicholas Caroddo, who maintained the advantage. Caroddo then handed it off to Macpherson, who kept the Friars ahead.

Once Macpherson finished the third leg and the baton reached McLaughlin on the anchor, the race was over. McLaughlin scampered his way around the track with everyone else in his background before officially sealing it by crossing the finish line.

St. Anthony’s won in 8:09.62 — 3.76 seconds ahead of second-place Iona Prep.

Caroddo was the only one of the championship quartet who had not yet run. For St. Anthony’s coach Tim Dearie, that made the feat even more impressive.

“It was great to see because we only had one kid fresh there,” Dearie said. “Two of them had run the [1,600] and Morelli had run the [3,200]. On a hot day like today, you don’t really know what you’re going to get, but they did a nice job of staying near or up in front. McLaughlin had an unbelievable anchor leg after winning the [1,600] less than an hour ago and sealed the deal.”

Morelli, who is going to the state championships for the third consecutive year, is thrilled to be representing St. Anthony’s on a big stage one more time.

“I’m very happy,” Morelli said. “This is my last one and a lot of other guys’ last one, so we want to represent ourselves well.”


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