Sports

Mahopac Senior Captain Leads the Way

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Credits: Rob Diantonio
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Mahopac senior Pat Riolo is a team captain and member of the track and field team. He mainly competed in long distance running for the Indians.

 

How old were you when you first started running track and how did you get started?

I joined track last winter season in my junior year of high school.  I had debated joining the team for a while and in the end my friend convinced me to join the team as a distance runner, so I did.

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What kind of expectations/goals did the track team have for the season?

I’ve noticed that each person will set their own personal goals for the rest of the season and the team will collectively give an effort to achieve these goals through workouts and supporting each runner at the meets.  We all help each other out to achieve our goals.

As a captain, how do you see your role on the team, and how much do you value being a team leader?

My role on the team, especially this season, has changed dramatically from last year.  Being the leader I feel the need to expand my influence to all members of the team to make them feel comfortable and included in the atmosphere of the team which in turn makes me feel valued by my teammates.  Also, I get to hear myself yell and lead stretches for over 50 athletes which is a plus.

What is your favorite team activity, pre-meet or post-meet ritual that you share with your teammates?

Probably the best little ritual that us distance runners share is putting down the numbers we want to hit on that day.  It gets each runner motivated to pull their weight for the team.

What are your best events? What do you like about them the most?

This year I have hit qualifying times on the 1,000-meter run and 1,600-meter or 1-mile run.  My favorite race to run is the one mile.  Strategizing the best way to run the mile, pushing yourself physically and mentally and seeing your times get better and better is a rush that simply cannot compare.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

The prominent figure that I have had throughout my entire running career has been coach Joseph Montalto.  He has been by my side for the past four seasons and I will finish out my track career with him this spring.  Talto’s values of dedication and mental toughness have been passed on to me and other athletes to carry on in our lives. I also have to give a big shoutout to coach Adam Fetzer, who will be retiring from coaching after this school year.  Fetz has shown me what a coach that truly cares about his team and each member on it looks like.  The running program will never be the same without him.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

I have an odd fear of the unknown.

Do you plan on continuing to run in college? If yes, have you committed yet, where are you going and why did you select that school?

I will not be running competitively in college, but will continue to stay in shape by running. I am undecided on a school.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

Right now I plan on studying biomedical engineering.  I have always loved problem solving and wanted to be able to help people through the medical field and I think biomedical engineering will open up many doors for me to enjoy my career.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

My favorite athlete is Derek Jeter.  My two favorite pro sports teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a meet?

Nobody gets you pumped up for a race like Freddie Mercury.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I would go with telekinesis.  The ability to move whatever I can at my own will sounds like a powerful trait.  I would also be able to move things slightly one way or another just to mess with people.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

New Zealand.  From what I have seen, the natural beauty of the landscape is breathtaking.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

Everything bagel. Cream cheese. Toasted.

Best place to eat in Mahopac and why?

Holy Smoke.  I’m a huge fan of barbeque and their pulled pork quesadillas and ribs keep bringing me back.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Instagram is my favorite since I can just capture a moment in my day and upload it instantly.

For a young athlete growing up in Mahopac, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the track program and why should they go out for the team?

One thing I have learned being on track and cross country is that the team is unlike any other.  The kids on the team all suffer, push and succeed as a unit.  The best way to sum up my experience is with Jackie Moon’s philosophy of “everybody love everybody.”

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