Charter School track team opens season on Tuesday

How good can they be? That’s the question that will start to be answered Tuesday as the Marco Island Charter Middle School’s track and field team travels to Community School of Naples for its first meet of the season.

The meet begins at 4 p.m.

Coach Roger Raymond wasn’t sure how good the cross country teams were going to be last fall, yet the girls turned out to be one of the best in the state and the boys did very well.

But track is different. In cross country if you have seven good runners it almost doesn’t matter how big other schools are. In track it does because there are so many more events.

With no track facilities. Raymond is out on the soccer practice field after school each day, putting down chalk marks on the grass for running events. Shot put and discuss throwers are over under some trees, using a half-circle marker for where they stand to make their throws. They do not even practice the high jump because they don’t have the proper surface and Raymond doesn’t want someone to get injured.

That said, some 70 kids came out to wear the school colors and compete to their best abilities.

And, of course, they have Rosie Poling, still just a seventh grader, but a marked person when she steps out onto the track. In cross country she won almost every race, while finishing third in the state and the team finished sixth, without an eighth grader.

“Rosie is definitely a team person,” Raymond said. “She keeps her team motivated, even over the summer. “And she recruits people. She doesn’t want to be the lone ranger.”

Emma Fernandez, Bebe Marroquin, Katie Schiller, Candice Hanlon, Madison Bonfitto, Hannah Hegarty, Julia Cartwright, Kelsey Halaschak, Megan Hurley, Katie Moss, Olivia Watt, are just some of the names to watch.

Patrick Michel and Trevor Dye are to keys for the boys and they will compete in multiple events. Cody Demalavez, Evan Meredith, Elliott Totten, Jay Vanderjagt, Cayden Couture, Jonatan Kriqi, Colin McMullen and Josh Wagner will help make the difference for the boys.

“At first I was a bit overwhelmed when 70 kids came out,” Raymond said. “But they have worked well and its has been a joy.”

Assistant coaches include Karen Raymond, Mike Vanderjagt and Scott Hurley.

See more photos online at

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