Hoops nightmare turns to track dream

Mavraganis sets sights on 400-meter mark for Pirate boys

By: Justin Feil
   Ted Mavraganis wasn’t initially too happy about losing a spot on the West Windsor-Plainsboro South boys’ basketball team. In the end, however, it looks as though it’s worked out pretty well for the Pirate senior.
   "My sophomore year, I didn’t make the basketball team," Mavraganis said. "It wasn’t something I was planning on. I came out and found out I was OK at track. So maybe it was good."
   Mavraganis was second to Adian Sanderson of Ewing in the 400 meters at Wednesday’s Colonial Valley Conference batch meet in a season-best 52.14 seconds and also helped the Pirates’ 4×400 relay set a season best of 3:45.
   "I didn’t really expect to beat him," Mavraganis said of Sanderson, the defending Mercer County champion. "I felt I did well otherwise. It’s my best indoor time ever. It’s better than I’ve done this season."
   Mavraganis has his sights on the school record of 50.1 seconds, and he’s come back for his senior year stronger and faster than in previous seasons. With a strong winter, he could top it by the spring.
   "We definitely want him to have a big spring," said WW-PS head coach Todd Smith. "We’d like to see him break 50. That would be a big step in the winter, and it would put him in position to break the school record.
   "He’s getting better and better. I’d like to get him on a better indoor track. We really haven’t run on anything great. We’d like to get back to the Poreda Invitational at Lawrenceville’s track. I’d like to get him back on that track one more time and get him back to the Armory to give him a shot to break it there."
   Mavraganis has come a ways since his winters were spent as a basketball guard. The closest he’s come to that game since his sophomore year was working out with some of the Pirate players this summer.
   "Over the summer, I worked out a lot and during the fall too," Mavraganis said. "I was working out with a lot of the guys from the basketball team and doing the stuff with them has helped."
   "He’s got stamina as well as speed," Smith said. "He’s worked on his strength and gotten a lot stronger in the past year."
   Mavraganis is an example to a healthy number of Pirate freshmen and sophomores, some of whom remind him of himself two years ago. Not only has he come somewhat unexpectedly into a promising track career, but he intends to continue competing for Gettysburg College next year.
   For now, he is one of just two senior boys on the West Windsor-Plainsboro South team. Mavraganis is also a captain to a team that Smith calls as deep a boys team as he’s had. Mavraganis doesn’t mind being one of the only seniors.
   "That (first year) a lot of my friends were doing it and I liked Coach Smith so it was a lot of fun," he recalled. "I’ve gotten to know a lot of the guys who are out there now."
   They’ve gotten to know that he’s one of the best 400 runners in the county. The evidence that he could become quite a quarter-miler was there from the outset.
   "That was the first thing I ever ran," Mavraganis said. "The first time I ran it, I ran a 57. My fastest time indoor was 54.3 so it’s come down a couple seconds.
   "I think the record is doable. I’ve definitely run well at Lawrenceville before. I ran a couple times at the Armory, and that was as a sophomore. I only got to do 200 last year and I’d like to run the four."
   In the spring, he’ll also run more of the shorter sprint events, as well as anchor the relays. He’s off to a quick start to his senior year, one that’s shown just how far he’s come in just over two years. The Pirate boys’ track team couldn’t be happier to have someone as experienced and talented as Ted Mavraganis.
   "He’s one of those victims of basketball," Smith said. "Basketball was his thing and maybe the best thing that happened was him getting cut. He came out as a sophomore and took off ever since."