OP Track Update: Rams Qualify For New Balance Nationals


Image via RunnerSpace.com

The All-Famous New Balance Nationals Backpack, 2023 Edition

Thomas Hunt, Co-Editor

After being crowned champions of the Union County Conference Valley Division last spring, the Oratory Prep Track team was catapulted to the forefront of OP’s best sports. However, this year’s team has proven to be even better – having achieved one of the greatest athletic accomplishments in the schools 115 year history.  By qualifying for New Balance Nationals in the Sprint Medley Relay (SMR), Coach Seebode’s squad has asserted themselves as one of the best up and coming programs in the entirety of New Jersey. The previously mentioned SMR team will consist of Emmanuel Canuto, Patrick Feit, Declan Kelly and Tommy Hunt, of whom will face off against the nations best between March 10-12 in Boston. Known as “The Track at New Balance,” the facility hosting the event is truly top tear and is considered by many to be the fastest indoor track in the world. This is why it is such an honor, and a privilege for the SMR team to be able to compete at a facility of such high caliber.

An Outside view of The Track at New Balance, the Location of New Balance Nationals (Image via Boston Landing)

Interestingly enough, the SMR qualification was not done through an actual relay race – but rather by adding up cumulative splits that equate to a time below 3:47 (The National Qualifying Standard). For context, since the Sprint Medley is set up as a 200-200-400-800, two 200 meter times would need to be submitted along with one 400 meter time and one 800 meter time (all times needing to be verified by official F.A.T timing systems).  For the Rams, the first 200 will be run by Freshman Emmanuel Canuto, whose time of 25.23 makes him the 56th ranked 200 runner in NJ’s Class of 2026.  The Freshman will then pass the stick off in a high contact exchange zone to Captain Patrick Feit – the Senior being one of the most reliable runners on the roster. Feit’s one lap carry will end in a hand off to Declan Kelly, whose time of 55.41 in the quarter mile distance places him in the top 80 400m runners in NJ’s Class of 2025. The sophomore’s duty will be relieved after a hand-off to Tommy Hunt for the half mile distance. With an 800 time of 2:00.02, Hunt is currently ranked #8 in NJ’s Class of 2024 and will look to break the 2-minute barrier in Boston. By adding up these splits, Oratory’s relay equivalent equates to a time of 3:46.25 – just 3/4 of a second under the National Qualifier.  Although dangerously close to missing the cut off, the Rams will advance to the New Balance sponsored Nationals, and be recognized as having one of the 60 best SMR teams in the United States. As great of an accomplishment that this is, the team will first have to compete in the Non-Public A State Individual Meet on Friday, February 17th, against the likes of Christian Brothers Academy, Seton Hall Prep, and St. Peter’s Prep, each of whom have Top 10 teams in New Jersey; a great test before competing on the national scene in a month.