Michael Brunoforte owes Saturday’s victory in the boys pole vault at the Invitational to one person – mom.
Like most Long Islanders, Brunoforte loves lacrosse. But there’s steep competition for a spot on the nationally-ranked St. Anthony’s boys lacrosse team. So Brunoforte never tried out.
“I was going to play lacrosse, but I wasn’t great,” admitted Brunoforte, a junior from Holtsville. “My mom said, ‘Why don’t you try track?’ But I hated it because I don’t like running. And then she said, ‘Why don’t you try pole vaulting.’ She knew how daring I was.”
The pole vault stuck. Brunoforte’s first experience as a pole vaulter came during his freshman indoor season. Brunoforte was good enough to place second at last year’s St. Anthony’s Invitational.
By Saturday’s event, he had near rock-star status. Competitors, coaches and spectators lined the runway, clapping on the junior. Brunoforte had already won the event by then with a strong 14-foot effort. But he was shooting for 14-7, the junior meet record.
He dug his pole in and launched skyward on his third and final attempt, but couldn’t clear the crossbar. It was mission accomplished nevertheless. Brunoforte won the event -- and found his passion.
“I was having a bit of trouble in the beginning [of the event], but I got high and pulled it together,” Brunoforte said. “I love to go high, so this is my event. I’m loving it.”
Mom’s suggestion and Brunoforte’s dedication now has the athlete on track to pole vault in college. Happy Mother’s Day, Margaret Brunoforte.
Brunoforte’s storyline was just one of many at one of the biggest track events on Long Island each spring. St. Anthony’s Athletic Director Don Buckley said the meet drew 1,600 athletes from 83 schools. The Friars took the boys team title with 66 points.
Other St. Anthony’s boys winners:
- Christopher Hand took the hammer throw (163-2).
- The 4x800 meter relay team won in 8 minutes, 7.15 seconds, thanks to the foursome of Timothy Fiola, Kevin Kreider, Matthew Fortino and Thomas Diliberto.
- The 4x1600 relay (18:02.17) of Thomas Flynn, Kevin Kreider, Frank Segreto and Thomas Diliberto won.
On the girls side, Friars senior Katie Gallagher, of Massapequa, won the girls high jump with a 5-foot, 6-inch effort. Then Gallagher, who signed with Binghamton, came back and placed fifth in the long jump (18-0.5).
“I had a good day in general,” said Gallagher, who noted she set a personal best in the high jump. “Now I know I can make those heights. It gives me more confidence.”
Junior Olicia Williams won the 400 meters in 54.27 and the Friars took first in the 4x100 relay (Gabrielle Barbour, Emily Taussig, Chynna-Monica Chung and Kathryn Mazzucca) with a time of 49.06. Those victories helped St. Anthony's finish atop the girls team standings with 56 points.