SA's Invite: St. Anthony's shows and proves at home; SJB and Bronxville win big

By Christopher Hunt

KINGS PARK – It’s safe to say that no one knew what St. Anthony’s had when the season started. The Friars graduated four of their top seven runners from last year and most this year’s squad would be making their varsity debut.

What St. Anthony’s knew they did have though, was depth. But they couldn’t have known they’d be this good. The Friars won their second straight invitational Saturday, claiming the Varsity A-2 race at their home meet, the St. Anthony’s Invitational at Sunken Meadow Park. The Friars scored held off Calhoun, 39-42.

“Five of our guys have never run varsity before,” said Tom Diliberto, who led St. Anthony’s in fifth place, finishing 13:23.05. “We have a lot to prove.”

They are certainly making their case. Behind Diliberto, St. Anthony’s went 7-8-9-10, with Thomas Flynn, Frank Segreto, Kevin Kreider and Matthew Fortino. Even more impressive was the team’s 28-second 5-man compression. Coach Tim Dearie was especially impressed with his team since they didn’t even know that Calhoun was race. Calhoun came in as a late entry and not listed on the race assignments.

“I know that (Calhoun) is a team that hangs back and comes on like gangbusters at the end,” Dearie said. “I was really pleased with how they held them off at the end. How tight we are is the reason we’re successful.”

St. Anthony’s is coming off a huge win in the championship race at the New Balance Ocean State Invitational in Rhode Island last weekend. There they managed a 40-second compression. Before that Dearie didn’t feel like this team was running to their potential and he told them.

“I said it’s about time to stop running like little boys and start running like Friars,” Dearie said. “The thing is, they are so young and so inexperienced, in five or six weeks there’s no telling what they can do. What people don’t understand is that this team is running just as faster as my team last year. They could be better.”

Calhoun’s Tim Campbell held off Sean Egan of Monroe-Woodbury in the stretch to win in 13:03.78. Egan was second din 13:05.06 and Monroe was third with 72 points.

The other two varsity races were dominated by the teams that won. Bronxville crushed the Small Schools race, scoring 57 points. Irvington, another Westchester County team, was second with 122.  The Broncos put five in the top 18, led by junior Dayton Flannery, who finished sixth in 13:46.17. His younger brother, John, a freshman followed in eighth in 14:11.86. Teammate James Harrison  (14:20.13) was ninth.

“We made the state meet my second year here and this team is better than that one,” said coach Jim Agnello, who’s in his 13th season.

Dayton Flannery said, for the first time, he feels like his team has the depth its been searching for. He’s not afraid of what’s happening the pack behind him.

“I can’t stand seeing some kids that are so good and they don’t have a team behind them,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m the best but I love having a team behind me. That’s what this is really about.”

St. John the Baptist controlled the Varsity A-1 race, scoring 22 points. Brandon Camenzuli and Matt Zamapriello swept the first two spots while the team put five in the top 8. Camenzuli finished in 13:23.65 with Zampariello behind in 13:26.18. SJB had 46 second between its top 5.

“This was about confidence,” the senior said. “We had a rough start. Guys had little injuries and were sore and tired. This just makes you want to push yourself.”