Foran aided by newcomers, strong leadership

Arezoo Ghazagh, Quincy Ercanbrack and Katharine Harrison captain the Foran girls track team.

Arezoo Ghazagh, Quincy Ercanbrack and Katharine Harrison captain the Foran girls track team.

Foran High Athletics / Contributed photo

An influx of determined freshman and sophomores have helped the Foran’s girls’ track team split its first four meets.

“Our freshman and sophomores are a strong group,” Foran coach Jeff Raucci said of sophomores who didn’t come out as freshman (post COVID season), plus freshman from the cross-country team. “We have five freshman who have qualified for SCCs and a sophomore who has qualified for states. That is motivating to see as a coach.”

Quincy Ercanbrack, Katharine Harrison and Arezoo Ghazagh captain a team of 32.

“Teammates respond well to their leadership," Raucci said. “Each has their own way of motivating. Quincy runs the mile and two-mile. Katharine was a miler before she was sidelined by a stress fracture. Arezoo is jack of all trades.”

Ghazagh, who will attend Harvard University, has qualified for states in the 400-meter run with a time of 1:04. She all runs relays and the 800.

“Ava Steigbigel is our top sprinter,” Raucci said of the senior, who ran a 13.5 second 100-meter dash to make states. “She is tremendous in multiple events. She throws the javelin and pole vault, where she qualified at 10 feet, six inches.”

Raucci added: “Freshman Amanda Graziani is uncanny in how she is a smaller version of Ava. She is a great 100-meter runner, is learning pole vault and doing well with hurdles.”

Nora Hayes, Allie Regan, Ghazagh, and Adrianna Gonzalez are state qualifiers in the 4x800 relay.

“Nora (sophomore) and Allie (freshman) are our two best in mile and two mile every meet., Raucci said. “They are so driven and work well with each other. Adriana Gonzalez is running the 800 for us as a freshman. She also came over from the cross-country team. She is a solid runner with a great engine. The three together are fantastic.”

Relays have been tough to form because of time lost for return to play protocols with COVID.

“We haven’t had consecutive meets with 4x1 or 4x8 or 4x4,” Raucci said. “Each time we have three healthy and we have to add a fourth. Our 4x1 is Amanda Graziani, sophomore Hayley Pokornowski, Ava and Arezoo. Our 4x8 ,with Arezoo, Allie Regan, Adriana Gonzalez and Nora Hayes, has been solid. The 4x4, with Katharine Harrison out, has been a mix. We have Arezoo and Adrianna then pick and choose from there.”

Freshman Devon Hines is long jumping over 13 feet and triple jumping a little over 28 feet. Gonzalez, with an 18.6 second in the 100-meter hurdles, leads a strong group of freshmen that includes Regan, Taylor Salsbury and Gianna Weaver.

Kelly Aspras is making noise in her first season.

“Kelly Aspras is our overall best thrower -- shot put over 30 feet, discus over 80 feet,” Raucci said of his sophomore. “She picked up high jump a week ago and is clearing 4 feet 4 inches. She is a driven athlete. It is cool seeing how competitive our freshman and sophomores are. Senior Emma Fiorillo throws about 75 feet with the discus. We have a good group still learning with Coach (Marie) Radecki. The future is bright.”

On track

Foran defeated West Haven 71-61. Nora Hayes, Adrianna Gonzalez, Arezoo Ghazagh and Katharine Harrison won the 4x800 relay in 11:20.7. Amanda Graziani, Gabriella Gallardo, Hayley Pokornowski and Ghazagh were first in the 4x100 relay (57.66 seconds). Pokornowski, Ghazagh, Harrison and Gonzalez took the top spot in the 4x400 relay (4:49). Earning individual firsts were Graziani (100), Harrison (1600), Ghazagh (400, 300 hurdles), Gonzalez (800), Hayes (3200), and Kelly Aspras (discus, shot put).

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354