2004-12-24 / Sports

Rockaway Athletes Help Kearney Capture Crown

Kerri Gallagher and Tara MullenKerri Gallagher and Tara Mullen Congratulations to Bishop Kearney High School’s sophomore sensation Kerri Gaiiagher (Belle Harbor) and freshman phenom Tara Mullen (Rockaway Park). They are pictured sharing a moment after being crowned Brooklyn varsity and freshman champion respectively at the recent Brooklyn championship, held in Prospect Park. Kerri led the varsity 2½-mile race from the start and glided to the first place finish. Tara’s gutsy winning performance in the freshman championship over the 1½-mile hilly course helped the freshman team take first place team honors as well.

Kerri’s 8th place performance in the city championship a week later qualified her for the state championship, where she was one of ten individuals representing the CHSAA league at Wappinger Falls. Competing against the best runners in the state, Kerri shattered the school’s cross country 5000 meter record in 20 minutes 50 seconds, the best finish ever by a Tiger.

Kerri’s exciting but grueling performance ended the amazing season Kearney’s cross country track team had this fall, under the direction of coach John Lovett (Rockaway Park), who has led Kearney teams to record breaking successes the past few years. Led by team captain Noelle Raffaele, the girls ran impressive times this season. Kerry Gallagher and Mary Eileen Kiernan (Rockaway Point) ran their personal best in the Villa Bears Running Classic, held in September at Van Courtland Park. Tara Mullen and Caitlin Irwin also showed their strength.

Those four runners put in another school record-breaking performance the following week at the Our Lady of Lourdes Invitational, also held in Van Courtland Park. They were joined by freshmen Elizabeth Monohan, Kristy Khoury and Halima Judeh, strong members of the freshman team. At the Fordham Prep Invitational, Kerri Gallagher took first place in the 2½-mile course, while Josephine Byrne ran her personal best. Tara Mullen took second place in the ½ mile course, and was joined by Caitlin Irwin and Kristy Khourty in breaking the 13-minute barrier – another Kearney first. Elizabeth Monohan, Angelica Diaz, Amanda Valentin and Laurie Aclub also ran noteworthy performances. At the Manhattan College Invitational, over 10,000 runners competed at Van Courtland Park.

Kerri Gallagher won another medal and Regina Pynn just missed out on a medal, but ran her personal best. Caitlin Irwin became the first Kearney freshman to win a medal at this prestigious event. Christina Melnik ran an outstanding time for her first outing over the rugged hills and Gabriela Prisciandaro improved her time by over two minutes. At the City Championships, Kerri Gallagher placed eighth out of 200 competitors in the 2½-mile race, qualifying her for the state competition. Briana Celano also ran an outstanding performance. Tara Mullen moved up to the varsity team and showed she was up to the challenge by coming in third for the Kearney team in 19 minutes, 38 seconds. What a season this team has had. paid off. Congratulations to all!

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