M-W Girls Varsity Indoor Track team competes in Freedom Games on Staten Island

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  • Photos by Tony Morales from MileSplitMargaret Ryan finished second in the 1500m RW.

  • Daniella Napoli and Jessica Pidgeon at the finish of 1600m run.

  • Julia Hoyt finished seventh in the 3000m run.

— Cold from the bus floor radiated through shoes and the windows were frosted white. Only the driver was awake while 45 girls slept wrapped in blankets. The outside temperature was near zero degrees Fahrenheit and dawn was an hour in the future.

A few minutes before 8 a.m. the Monroe-Woodbury Girls Varsity Indoor Track team arrived at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island to participate in the third annual Freedom Games.

Athletes from 128 high school teams competed in the games, making it one of the most competitive events in the eastern United States.

Monroe-Woodbury started well, winning a second and sixth place in the opening event, the 1500m Race Walk.

Among the highlights were Kristin Lubeskie first in pole vault, Julia Hoyt seventh in a 3000m race (which nearly eclipsed the national record) and Daniella Napoli and Jessica Pidgeon battling for a top finish in the 1600m.

Fourteen hours after their departure, the girls returned to school and disembarked, all wrapped in blankets, some clutching medals, all of them yearning sleep and thinking about their competition next week.

- Pat Brown

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