The Staten Island Runner

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March 10, 2000

Let it Rip!

by Mike Weiner

Hello to all the Track & Field enthusiasts on SI and abroad. I will be writing a bi-weekly column here to speak my peace about the world of Track & Field. Some good, some bad, but I will speak it. Please feel free to drop me comments, opinions, criticisms, or bad things about my mother, to This column has no direction or structure, kind of like my life. J

LET IT RIP volume 1

Congratulations to the St. Joseph by the Sea Girls Track & Field Team for winning the island Indoor Championships. Great finish sweeping the relays. Tottenville has so many girls T&F championships, that they can't find anymore room in the school to hang them. Unfortunately for St. Joseph by the Sea, now Tottenville will be extra motivated to take that outdoor title as usual. It will be fun!

On the boys side, Congrats to Monsignor Farrell for regaining the title. As usual, Farrell had the depth and the balance. Overall in the meet, Nice hurdles, 55m, 1600m, 300m, and the Pole Vault was as good as it has been in a number of years. Will Farrell now continue to build consecutive championships under Tom Cuffe as head coach ?

It's funny how every couple of years, Tom Kelly and the former Jim Hughes pull a diamond in the rough out of that small school. Tuttle, Demauro, Mignano, Garguilio., ??
This current kid is another one of them.

I think there should be a major investigation at Tottenville HS. I think they have been cloning good jumpers at the school, naming them "Janairo". Enough is enough!! There have been Janairo's at Tottenville for 10 years. Either they have been holding this kid back or they are cloning athletes over there. If they are cloning over there, they should clone a few from the Whitehouse mold and they can fill some of the coaching spots around the island. BTW, if they aren't cloning, my hats off to the the Janairo parents, for producing a string of fine athletes.

What the heck is going on at my Alma Mata?? New Dorp 0 points??? How long has that school been rebuilding?? And Susan Wagner?? It seems to me like these schools have been rebuilding for 10 years. Every year I read the track & field previews by Alvez/Kochman, and its always the same thing. "Were rebuilding this year.we want to be competitive. we want to try and get to the next level." It's the same crap over and over. Is it just that these schools don't have any talented athletes ?? (LOUD BUZZER SOUND!!) doubt it.

So what is it?? From what I hear from fellow teachers and coaches, the public school system pays very well for coaching. If you follow the year along, these teams are going to ~2-3 meets extra a season. It seems like they only go to the meets they have to. Where's the pride here?? I don't know the inside story on these programs, but unless your going to tell me the enrollment is down 10 fold in the last ten years, then I don't think we're doing enough here. I mean look at Moore Catholic!! That school is the size of a matchbox!! Yet they consistently field a competitive team. What's the reason?? Don't tell me it's the type of kids at the school, and that they are pulling a different class of kids at ND and SW. Its all because of the coach!! The kids from these programs need to be introduced to the sport. Make it fun for them. Make it competitive for them. Show them the benefits they can achieve from it. Set high standards for them so they can be competitive with the other schools. More on this subject at another time!!

Where are the dual meets ??? Farrell vs. Tottenville, Curtis vs. Farrell, Mckee vs. Moore, etc. These would be great practice sessions. It would build the competition level, and it would make the sport much better on the island. Many states do this. The more meets kids compete in, the more experience they get, which transfers into confidence. I think that fact that they're on this island to begin with, puts them at a disadvantage already with the city kids, as far as going to meets. Throwing in a couple of dual meets in the year would fill the void of having no meets some weeks.

I will say this, Track and Field is alive and kicking on SI. We have had some incredible athletes over the past several years to confirm that. In fact we've had some of the greatest in the history of the Sport during that time.

The only thing that bothers me is that you can't let yourself get too excited about it, the sport is still marred because its not a money sport. And the world revolves about money. Prime example, a couple of years ago I met this kid from St. Peters, Michael Mucci. The kid is throwing the javelin 180' as a freshman if I remember correctly. I'm in shock to see this, knowing that if this kid likes to throw the javelin, hell be throwing 220-230 by the time he's a Senior. He'll be coveted by every major college in the United States. He tells me he's going to be a big time football player someday. I instantly sink into a deep depression, because I have seen many just like him. I knew at that moment, in 4 years he'll be throwing ~200 like tons of other kids around the country, because he wouldn't take the sport seriously like football. You might say that this is still a good thrower, and he could go to a lot of schools for throwing at that point. But the point is, this was a special kid, a diamond in the rough, who comes along every 10-15 years. He could have been the Jankunis, Szabadhegy, or Marsala of Javelin throwing. I have no problem with him becoming a big time football player. The problem is that around these parts, if you play football, that's your life. If a football athlete wants to put any serious time into another sport, they're treated differently, so they have to settle for just 1. This bothers me, because year after year you see the nations best athletes are 3 sport stars, because they were given the opportunity.

Even though sometimes we all have our differences with the writers, etc. There is no paper in the NYC area quite like the SI Advance. It is one of the biggest bright spots for the SI community for reading about sports. If you're an avid sports junkie like myself, some days it just kills you waiting to get the paper. So much that you have to go rob one from the street corner before the delivery boy gets home from school. Shhh!!! I only did it a couple of times. And sometimes I even left a dollar. J

Ah just think! Wouldn't it be great to ride your bike over to miller field to compete in a local track meet this weekend at the new Indoor Sport Complex. Cool, they're even having a masters division this week for us old fogies. And they will be having some young kids age group races in the morning. How cool would that be ?? Hopefully the latest push for a facility will gain some serious steam, and continue to gain supporters. Please support this movement!!!

If you have never watched 20' Pole Vaulters in person, there's a huge void in your life. Recently, we watched the Millrose Games at the Garden. I have never seem my son as happy. We've been to Knick games, Giant games, etc. This was something different. They really had a lot of fun. And it was even better watching the women Vaulters. Incredible, in only a few years the women are over 14', and they were beautiful!! J

The coolest thing about the Millrose Games was after the meet, we were walking down the street, when we noticed we were right next to Regina Jacobs. She won the meets most valuable performer, while just blowing away the competition. She was getting a cab, while holding her trophy. "We said we know you!!" The kids were like, "wow that's her. She's a real person, who takes a cab" J She was a very nice person. The kids were impressed!

They should fill that place to capacity with Track & Field athletes from Schools to give them a chance to see. They do give out a bunch of tickets, but it's a shame that hundreds of tickets go unused in scalpers hands, when some young kids could be watching.

Before you know it, the Summer Games will be upon us, and every Joe Shmoe will be coming out of the woodwork to be a fan of Track & Field. If only this were true in between the Olympic Games.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm real anxious to see the development of the former St. Peters runners who have since gone to U of Florida. Does anyone have an update on them?? I'm thinking that hopefully they make it big. I'm remembering myself in tears when Charlie Marsala just missed the Olympics several years back. I want to see another Islander back on the screen at the trials soon. J

I miss a good Bill Welsh story... I have to give him a call...

Take Care,


"When your competing, hold nothing back, and let it rip"
Let it Rip was a term that Daley Thompson (former World record holder in the DECATHLON) frequently used while competing.