GREENSBORO, N.C. — Lakeland/Panas’ girls sprint medley team of seniors Grace Bugara and Maggie McCarthy, junior Adrianna DeSantis and freshman Millie Lichtenwalner-Seabaugh, ran a 4:10.87 on June 16 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. to earn sixth-place medals.
That finish secured the quartet Emerging Elite All-American status.
“We are in such a competitive league, section and state so anytime recognition can be earned it does wonders for the confidence of the girls directly involved and for the prestige of the entire team,” Lakeland/Panas coach Rosalind Gallino said. “The ones who return on this relay are already talking about how to rebuild the relay and replace the graduating seniors so we can be competing again. It makes everyone hungry to achieve more.”
Gallino said that the team came in with a goal to run as hard as it can.
“The two, two-hundred legs really set the tone by getting out aggressively,” Gallino said. “Maggie held her own on the 400 leg and Grace ran a very intelligent 800 by catching up and sitting until she knew she could blast by and finish aggressively. (A time of) 4:10 was the goal more than getting medals but the medals were a great bonus.”
One of the great things about the finish the Rebels had was that it enabled McCarthy and Bugara to end their high-school careers on a well-deserved high.
Gallino said that coaching the two seniors has been a pleasure and a true learning experience for her as they are each gifted athletes who need entirely different coaching based on how they race from both a physical and mental standpoint.
“I still feel that I have learned more from them and received more from them in terms of contributions to the team and in terms of making coaching a joy than I have ever been able to give to them,” Gallino said. “I truly hope that they will look back on this entire experience as one of the fondest memories of high school and I hope that they will always know that no matter how far they travel or how old they get they will always be able to feel a sense of pride and family in being part of Rebel nation.”
As for next season, Gallino expects Lichtenwalner-Seabaugh, DeSantis and Jenna Pressman to be the leaders of the team both on and off the track.
“That starts very soon,” Gallino said. “I expect them to be the ones leading summer lifting and running workouts. I expect them to be the ones bringing up the newer girls and teaching them that there aren’t any short cuts and that running simply hurts. It hurts less when you do it really well because the joy erases the pain. I expect them to take the excitement and pride they experienced this weekend and make the other girls want to have the same experiences.”
Gallino said most importantly, she expects them to remain humble and hardworking
“Hope and ambition don’t achieve goals—hard and consistent work do,” Gallino said.