The indoor track season is around the corner, and the North Rockland boys team looks to be among the best in Section 1.
Red Raiders coach Gene Dall is anxious to see what his team has in store. A lot of his excitement comes from the return of throwing coach Bob Murphy, who is making his homecoming after a 10-year absence.
Murphy left the team and North Rockland school district to teach at Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, N.J. While there, he was an assistant coach for Don Bosco's track and field program.
Dall categorizes Murphy as one of the best throwing coaches in the nation.
"I worked with him for 26 years," Dall said. "And he produced three 60-foot throwers for us. He also produced about 25 50-foot throwers for us."
After 43 years of teaching, Murphy decided to retire from Don Bosco. Dall saw Murphy's retirement as an opportunity to land the experienced coach. After Murphy heard Dall's offer, the decision to return was not difficult.
"Living around the corner from the high school and being close friends with Coach Dall made me think, 'why not,' " Murphy said.
The Red Raiders will lean on Murphy to further develop their top two throwers, junior Harrison Foley and sophomore Eric Favors.
"We have tremendous throwers," Dall said. "Favors and Foley were great last year, and I see them being great again this year."
Foley's personal best in the shot put is 43 feet, and he has thrown the discus 120. As a freshman, Favors' furthest toss of the shot put was 40 feet and threw the discus 122 feet.
There is nothing but optimism for the boys' potential, especially working with an experienced coach such as Murphy.
Dall believes his team is well-rounded in all phases .
Senior Michael Cruz had a solid season outdoors. In the spring, he reached 21 feet in the long jump and leaped 41 feet in the triple jump.
The team's long-distance runners include three strong performers, senior Damian Feeney and juniors Asaad Jeffrey and Liam Purdy. Last year, Purdy ran 9 minutes, 47 seconds in the 3,200 meters. Feeney and Jeffrey ran the same event in under 10 minutes.
Additionally, North Rockland's hurdlers appear solid. Seniors Christian Clarke and Seamus Finucane and sophomore Tarique Wilson have all performed well in the past. Dall is impressed with their level of commitment, especially for Wilson, who ran cross country to improve his stamina.