SHRUB OAK, N.Y.-Both the boys and girls 4x400-metery relay squads at Lakeland/Panas have qualified for the prestigious Millrose Games to be held at the Armory in New York City on Feb. 3. A track and field milestone, it marked the first time any Rebel relay team has qualified for the Games.
“Qualifying for the Millrose Games is pretty amazing,” Lakeland/Panas senior Michael Nardelli said. “To be the first relay from our school to go to such a prestigious meet is pretty special.”
Nardelli, Patrick Abel, Romane Forrester and Josias Luctamar ran a 3:29.49 to place first in the Westchester portion of the boys suburban relay while finishing eighth overall at the Millrose Games Trials at the Armory on Jan. 10.
“The four of us were so successful because of all the hard work we have put in this season in preparation for meets like these,” Nardelli said.
The Rebel girls squad of senior Adrianna DeSantis, Lauren Salazar, Millie Lichtenwalner-Seabaugh and Hayley Flanagan qualified for the Millrose Games by running a 4:06.22, good enough for sixth place, at the trials.
“We have been extremely focused during training and have been executing workouts designed for the 400-meter race,” DeSantis said. “I think the most significant factor that determined our success, though, was our collective positive mindset as we entered the race. We knew we were going to perform our best.”
DeSantis said it is an honor to share the track with Olympians and some of the fastest runners in the nation.
“This accomplishment has proven the results of our hard work this season, and I am so proud of Lauren, Hayley and Millie as sophomores to be running the times they are,” DeSantis said.
She said the fact that both teams qualified proves the dedication of the Lakeland/Panas coaches, both past and present, who have built the program to where it is today.
“Our track family will continue to be successful in the years to come with the leadership of the underclassmen who know the rigors of the sport and the commitment necessary to be a part of this team,” DeSantis said. “To be successful, we must continue to stay motivated and put in the work on and off the track to prepare ourselves to run personal bests at this prestigious meet.”
It’s been quite the winter season so far for the Rebels and coach Ryan Johnson has been beaming with pride.
“The team as a whole has been having the best season in school history,” Johnson said. “Our boys and girls 4x200-meter relay teams have both smashed school records. Michael Nardelli has broken his own school record five times in the 55-meter hurdles. Josias Luctamar is currently ranked second in the state in the high jump and third in the state in the long jump.”