At William Floyd High School, John Ryan is an 11th and 12th-grade English teacher with 31 years of experience. However, some know him as Coach Ryan of the Colonials varsity girls cross country and track and field teams, of which Ryan has been coaching for the past seven years.
This 2022-23 winter track team has put up special performances compared to past seasons. There is a particular group of girls who continues to set new milestones, specifically in the 4x800-meter relay, also known as the 4-by-8, who have recently set a new school record in the event with a time of 9:46.23. Another special moment for the Colonials occurred this winter season, as sophomore Zariel Macchia ran the No. 1 time in the nation for the 2-mile, finishing with an official time of 10:33.22.
“It’s a great atmosphere… she [Zariel Macchia] was the No. 1 seed going into the race and got a real good workout in,” said Ryan. “We were going into the meet looking to set the school record and we knew that we were probably going to, or at least I knew that we were going to fairly easily… from that point, we were going to see how well the girls ran and then decide whether or not we would be competitive with a 4-by-8 team the rest of the season.”
Ryan also accredited success for the team through the coaching staff.
“The coaches that I have… they’re great, we’re organized, we break it down into groups, we have practice plans, and we just stay on top of things… then the numbers don’t seem as overwhelming,” he added.
“The William Floyd School District is proud of the success of our student-athletes. They work hard, exhibit sportsmanship, and put forth their best efforts every day—both in the classroom and in their competitions,” James Monalto, public relations director at William Floyd School District, said on behalf of the district.
However, the winter track season is a bit different because meets only occur in larger venues hosting many teams, compared to in the spring where they would have more dual meets instead. But Ryan uses these invitationals to build towards a better overall team performance.
“We use that as steppingstones to prepare for some of the bigger invitationals that take place in Manhattan at The Armory and in Staten Island at the Ocean Breeze Complex,” Ryan said.
Although track may be viewed as an individual sport, Ryan has expressed the significant impact this 4x800 meter relay team has had on those who compete in many different events.
“They see the success of the team relay and it brings them all together,” he said. “It would be nice if the success of the 4-by-8 team really gives all the girls on the team a sense of team and a sense of what we are really trying to accomplish.”
When discussing his team’s work ethic and how it feels to see them do so well, Ryan mentioned, “They are a pleasure to coach and they work really, really hard. They have a great work ethic, so it’s great to see them succeed because all of their hard work is paying off… The success just comes naturally, which is great to see.”
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