Shark Bait: Teams Look Towards Playoffs After Spring Season

 Multiple teams reflect back on their spring season and look to continue their hot momentum into the postseason. 


Matthew French

The Men’s and Women’s Track teams prep for their meet at the Osprey Open at Stockton University held on Friday, April 8 and Saturday April 9. This is one of the six scheduled meets the teams participated in this season.

With the second year of spring sports resuming post-Covid lockdown, a few Suffolk teams are looking to round out their seasons on a positive note and bring home the title while others are looking to bounce back. 


The baseball team is having a great season, besides a five-game skid in mid-April against out-of-conference teams. The team has faced struggles in several areas but continues to improve in others. The team has played against tougher opponents to prepare them for the conference and the regional championships as they have an out-of-conference record of 1-12 but are in a conference record of 17-3. 

The team is facing what many other sports are facing: a shortage of eligible players, as the team, only has 20 active members on the roster. Head Coach Jason Galbraith has been with the team for over five years and has been at the helm of two regional titles.

He expected what he saw coming with a low turnout for his team this year. “We just have to navigate through the process but Covid definitely hurts us,” he says.

Galbraith explains that they have been spread thin for infield and catching this season as transfer students were not cleared or did not take enough credits to allow them eligibility to play. The team only has one catcher and has had to use pitchers like Ray Hoffman to cover positions. “We just need our starting group, if one guy gets hurt it can really affect us”. 

Despite the lack of depth on the roster, the Sharks manage to make up ground in other aspects of their game. One area where the team has shined is their offense with many of their in-conference wins, well into the teens for runs.

Leadoff hitter Nick LoMonaco leads the team with 43 hits, 44 runs scored, and leads the team in on-base percentage with a .557 (This is the ratio of times a batter is on base to their number of batting appearances). Pitching has not leveled up to their hitting abilities with the team posting a 6.63 ERA they look to strengthen their core group. John Keane has been stellar this season posting a 2.51 ERA and striking out 40 batters over the season.

Women’s Track

This team is one of the most accomplished on campus as there are numerous national rankings and the team is poised going into the postseason. 

Members of the team are ranked number one in the country in different events within NJCAA Division III such as the Women’s Shot Put (Jamiee Starzee), the Heptathlon (Angelina Guevara), and the Women’s 4×100 relay team (Caitlin Keghlian, Stephane Honore, Jiana Hall, and Oceane Ode). 

Ode herself is ranked number one in four events (100-, 200-, and 400-meter run as well as the 4×100 relay) and currently holds the school record in the women’s 400 meters. French describes Ode’s success as “extremely good, and also very rare.”  She was named NJCAA athlete of the week for April 17 through the 23 and proves to be a strong contender for multiple titles at the end of the season. 

With the team being ranked overall second in the nation, they are looking towards their end goal. “With the women’s team, we are certainly back in the caliber because we are certainly in contention to win the national title,” says Coach French. 

To prepare for the end of the season the team will also attend meets that are full of four-year schools and Suffolk tends to be one of few junior colleges at these events.  

The Sharks head to the National Championship Meet in Troy, NY from May 11 -14. 

Men’s Track 

The Men’s team has been looking to improve each meet this season as they look to close out the year ranked in the top 10 overall.

Some top stars this year include freshmen Leo Soto and Austin Garske. Soto broke his school shot put record for the second year in a row at the Ramapo Roadrunners Invite held in Mahwah, NJ in early April, later setting a new record at the Osprey Open held in Stockton College on April 8. Garske is currently ranked number one in the 400-meter hurdle event. 

The 2019 season stands out as the team shared the best overall program with the women at the national meet at Stanley Park in Westfield, Massachusetts held in early November of that year.

As the team is rebounding off of two Covid-riddled offseasons, it has been a slow time getting the team back up to form, but head coach French continues to prioritize his athletes’ health, physically and mentally as they navigate uncertainty. 

“I think it’s to give them the freedoms for the days that they need, any breaks that they need,” says French. “It’s also remaining positive; with Covid, we’ve had all these ups and downs and different rules that keep changing every week and month. My job is to be the calm in the storm and reassure the team that we will flow with this and I will work with them.”