Seeded 22nd, Ragucci takes 6th at MOC

By: Sean Richards
   There’s no telling what Nicole Ragucci may accomplish before she’s done with her track career at the Monroe High School.
   No telling because this versatile sophomore is obviously very talented and she’s not even sure what may prove to be her best events.
   The only member of the team to qualify for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, Ragucci stunned the experts Sunday by finishing sixth in the 55 meters with a time of 7.47 at Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym. To understand the magnitude of her accomplishment, consider Ragucci was seeded 22nd at the start of the day. She was also the eighth and last qualifier in the final.
   "Well, yeah, I guess it was kind of surprising," said Ragucci. "I was kind of nervous, but it just shows what can happen sometimes."
   Ragucci, who later in the day placed 17th in the 200 in a time of 26.84 after going off as the 28th seed, has been quickly making her mark in many ways with the Falcons. She’s also a very promising pole vaulter and will be running some longer distances in the spring.
   "I want to clear 11 feet in the pole vault this spring," she said. "I’m also running the 400 and my coach (Jim Cox) wants me to start running the 800 as well. I haven’t set any specific goals, but after Sunday I’m hoping to start getting some top finishes in the future."
   Ragucci is from a track family. Her parents coached high school track on Staten Island and her brother was on the Monroe team last year. Her younger sister will also be part of the Monroe track scene in the near future.
   "I started running when I was little, but then gave it up for a while," she said. "I started again last year in my freshman year of high school.
   "Getting sixth (in the state) was good, but I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied because there’s always room for improvement When I saw those other athletes, it made me realize I have to work even harder to get to where I want to be."
   With the development this sophomore is showing, it won’t be long before the "other athletes" are keeping an eye on Ragucci.
   In other news on the Monroe winter track front, the team did very well last Friday at the Ed Grant Last Chance Meet at the Jersey City Armory.
   At this meet the boys’ 4×400 relay set a school record with a time of 3:37.4. The team consisted of Zach Theinert, Adan Farrah, Mike Barszcz, and Billy Phillips.
   Phillips also placed fourth in the 55, Theinert was first in the 1600 and Scott Roman was the winner of the 3200. Also excelling was Andrew Cocuzza, who threw 39-7 in the shot. Ryan Brown finished second in the frosh/sophomore 1600 and Nate Smith place second in the frosh/soph 3200.
   On the girls’ side it was pretty much business as usual. Ragucci finished second in the 55m in 7.3, and then won the 400 in 1:01.2. Elizabeth Segarra narrowly missed the school record in the 1600 by running alone and finishing in a time of 5:30.2. It was the third time in the last few weeks that Segarra narrowly missed setting a school record. Allie Push closed her indoor high school career by placing third in the 3200 with a time of 12:45.