Tag Archives: St. Francis Prep

Lady Terriers capture crown; now seek state title


| ncarousso@queenscourier.com

Photo by Stephanie Horan  Back Row: Kiara Pierre, Kelly Flynn, Jen Hussey, Caroline Gorecki 2nd Row: Johary Rivadeneira, Tara O’Rourke, Kaitlyn Sluyk, Jaclyn LaForgia, Caroline Vallone, Kiara Otero, Nicole Tong, Kendra McCalla Front Row (Captains): Caitlin O’Doherty, Talia Colasante, Allison Betito

Over the past half-decade, the St. Francis Prep ladies volleyball team has dominated the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA).

That domination continued as the Lady Terriers defeated the Stanners of Archbishop Molloy in the Brooklyn/Queens CHSAA championship game in Fresh Meadows on November 2.

Before the championship game, the Stanners and Lady Terriers met three times this year, including a tiebreaking match for the highest seed. The Lady Terriers won that match to clinch the number one seed. Team captain Talia Colasante, who recorded 22 kills in the championship match, was one of the reasons for the Lady Terriers’ incredible success this season.

“During the championship we wanted to do the same thing [as they did by beating Archbishop Molloy in the tiebreaking match] and show them who’s boss,” Colasante said.

The Lady Terriers used the emotional loss in the last regular season match on “Senior Night” as motivation to defeat Molloy in the tiebreaker and in the finals.

If the loss to the Stanners that snapped the Lady Terriers regular season winning streak wasn’t motivation enough, Prep would find a motivation in the practices leading up to each match.

Caroline Vallone played an integral role in securing the victory against the Stanners in the finals.

“This team is one of the most motivated teams I’ve seen and with whatever rotation Mr. C. puts us in we can still overcome any obstacle and take down any team put in our path,” said Vallone.

“Mr. C.” or head coach Kevin Colucci prepared his team for the playoffs all season. Although the ladies were disappointed about losing on “Senior Night,” Colucci saw the big picture in getting to the Brooklyn/Queens finals and winning their fifth consecutive Brooklyn/Queens CHSAA title.

“We put it together at the end and it was nice to see them win the championship,” Colucci said. “I was hoping that we would get back to the states and see how we play against the other teams.”

This finals match was a battle and a nail biter to watch. Under Colucci’s direction, they played with “clear eyes” and a “full heart,” part of the team’s motto that is displayed on team sweatshirts.

“He drives me to play to the best of my ability,” said team captain Allison Betito, referring to Colucci and his coaching techniques.

St. Francis plays in the CHSAA class AA state tournament on Saturday, November 12. Their opponent, St. Anthony’s, has won the state tournament the last two years, but the Lady Terriers have the camaraderie and proficiency to win this year. Team captain Caitlin O’Doherty talked about what St. Francis needs to do in order to be a competitor in the state tournament.

“As a team [we] have to be more motivated, more enthusiastic and work together, play hard and in general have the mindset of wanting to win and not let the little things get the best of us and play hard,” she said.

These ladies surely have the mindset of a winning team – playing through injuries and other obstacles over the course of the season. Kelly Flynn, a junior on the team, has been a bright spot for the Lady Terriers all season long. She was forced to sit out the semifinal match against The Mary Louis Academy due to a mild concussion and early in the first game of the best of five series in the final match, she went down with an ankle injury. However, Flynn came back to record eighteen kills and five blocks to give St. Francis the push they needed to win the fourth and fifth sets.

“It’s a mindset that you have to have that nothing could hold you back,” said Flynn.

Now, the Lady Terriers face the state tournament in Buffalo on Saturday.

Jamaica track star takes talent on the road


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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A track star from Jamaica keeps Queens in her heart as she pounds the New England pavement, collecting accolades and running circles around the competition.

Karen Roa, a former Terrier and three-year letterwinner with St. Francis Prep, entered the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) filled with excited nerves and anticipation. Now a senior, the 21-year-old looks back on her years of running with pride – and she looks toward her future with the same excited nerves and anticipation that once preceded her college years.

After college, she plans on attending medical school to continue studying kinesiology, her major at UMASS. The study of human movement, kinesiology is the perfect fit for an active girl like Roa.

“I’ve always been active, always been involved in sports,” said Roa, who started running during her sophomore year at St. Francis Prep after a chance encounter with the school’s track team. “My main priority was to stay in shape for the tennis team – that’s why I started running.”

The women’s track and field coach at Prep, Jim May, convinced her to run at some track meets. Competition and camaraderie combined to build a desire within Roa to stay with the team and run full time. While running for Prep, she won every cross country meet except for one. Some of her milestones include the two-mile in 11:10 as a junior, the 2000m steeplechase in 7:06 and the 3000m in 10:51 as a sophomore.

That might sound like a lot of running, but according to Roa, it is nothing compared to running UMASS as a Minutewoman. In college, runners have to put in a lot more mileage – and with more mileage comes more training and more chance for injury.

“In high school I probably did 25 miles per week, and in college it’s more like 40 to 50 miles per week,” she said. “The coaches do a great job of transitioning runners to that amount of running. It’s important to build up the body so it doesn’t break down. You do that by doing base training in the summer before you even get to school.”

Before she even got her base training down, Roa said that her time running in high school prepared her for the rigors of college.

And that preparation paid off. During her freshman year, she turned heads at the NCAA Regionals, the Atlantic 10 Championships and the Albany Invitational. During her sophomore year, she set a new school record in the 3000m steeplechase on three separate occasions and during her junior year, she led the team at the NCAA Regional Championships.

Also, being a runner gifted her with a cache of friends, making the move from Queens to Massachusetts a far smoother transition.

“I didn’t feel any real pressure heading into college. It was a new environment and I was excited to meet new people,” she said. “It helped having [track] girls as a support system. It’s hard to make friends as a freshman, but when you’re on the track team, your friends are a given.”

That’s not to say that Roa doesn’t miss Queens. As most college kids can relate to, she sometimes thought about how different her college town was compared to her home in Jamaica. She missed home a lot, but was comforted in the fact that it was only three hours away.

“I missed the energy and the speed of home. It’s so fast there, while here it’s a very calm little town. It’s nice and I definitely enjoy it, but Queens is what I love,” she said. “This was the perfect school for me because home was only three hours away, yet it’s important to find your own way a bit and stand on your own two legs.”

After standing – and running – on her own two legs at UMASS, Roa is ready for life’s next race. No matter what, she knows she will also have a support system running in tandem.

“I definitely want to make my parents happy and they’ve been supportive of everything I do,” she said. “It’s good to know that no matter what, I’ll always have a good background support system.”