By Desirée Keegan
To say a Mount Sinai senior sprinter overcame adversity to help his Mustangs capture a league title would be a colossal understatement.
Just days before the League V championship, Andrew Fiore tore his hip flexor.
The Mount Sinai track and field athlete was sidelined for several days and left his coaches thinking he’d be unable to compete. Come Jan. 22, the day of the competition, Fiore told his coaches he had to run.
“I knew it was a big deal for the whole team, and I didn’t want to let anybody down,” the runner said. “I wanted to help in any way I could, and the best way to do that was to compete.”
Despite the injury, the senior had the best showing of his six-year varsity career. For the first time since joining the team in seventh grade, he broke not one school record but two.
Fiore placed first in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.84 seconds, edging out a 10-year record of 6.87. Soon after, he ran the first leg of the 4×200 relay that took first with a time of 1 minute, 37.79 seconds. The mark also eclipsed another school record that stood for more than a decade.
“To me, it really spoke of his character that regardless of being hurt, there was no way he wasn’t going to run — for himself, for me, for the team,” Mount Sinai head coach Lee Markowitz said. “He’s always been our go-to guy. He’s a team player and he’s a tough kid. He refused to not run. I was blown away.”
Fiore also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 3 inches. His performances helped put his team in a position to win, and the Mustangs took home Mount Sinai’s first indoor League V title in 12 years. Although he did not think about breaking records, he admitted it was an added bonus.
“It’s unreal — seeing my name in the record book is weird, but it’s awesome,” he said. “We were coming into the meet expecting to score points, but we did not expect to score as many as we did, and we even scored points in events that we didn’t expect to place in.”
Fiore’s senior teammates Anthony Bosio, Nick Cesario and Kevin Kelly helped break the 4×200 record. Cesario and Kelly also placed in the top four in the 55-meter dash. Kelly finished second in 6.96 and Cesario took fourth in 6.98.
“We’ve been a young team for a few years, so this season was interesting because we finally had a good core of seniors who really led by example,” Markowitz said. “The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”
The head coach highlighted sophomore Kenneth Wei, who took home the only other first-place finish for the team, finishing the 55 hurdles in 8.31.
The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”
“He is a very talented high hurdler and is also a gifted high jumper,” Markowitz said. “He really stepped it up with his effort.”
Mount Sinai, which finished with 105 points, almost doubled second-place Southampton’s score of 56.
Markowitz said although Mount Sinai never goes into the meet expecting to be a contender, he and his assistant coach Eric Giorlando, who he said the team would not have won the title without, realized the Mustangs had depth unlike they’d seen in past years.
Markowitz shared his pre-meet message to the team.
“These guys worked very hard, and some of them have been working for it for years,” he said. “I told them before the meet in my pregame speech that if we win, and no guarantees, I hope that a win would teach them that hard work pays off. And it certainly did. As their coach, it makes me so incredibly proud to see them come together, give their hearts, give it everything they had and come out on top.”
Fiore said although the magnitude of what occurred during the meet did not hit him until receiving praise the next day at school, he’s glad he made the decision to compete.
“It was a little nerve-racking coming in injured, and we want to make sure everyone remains healthy because we’re looking to win a league title in spring, too, but it was definitely worth it,” he said. “We all relied on each other to win, and my coaches have been so supportive. This sport helps you in other ways than simply athletics, and it’s made me a better person. This experience has meant a lot to me.”