Roselle Catholic High School senior Mike Cianci wanted more pink.
The day after Cianci was a fan at the volleyball program’s annual “Spike Breast Cancer” event in The Lions’ Den – one of many shirtless spectators painted in pink – he wanted to do more to show more support for the cause.
So Cianci, a senior co-captain of the RC cross country team, sported pink socks for the Lions’ race vs. Oratory, Oak Knoll, Kent Place and Benedictine last Tuesday at Warinanco Park.
“I wanted to show my support for fighting breast cancer and run for a good cause,” Cianci said the day after the Lions’ final non-championship race of the season.
Cianci was one of many to comprise an enthusiastic student section that cheered on the Lions the night before. In addition to the pink he sported, he had a lion’s paw painted on his stomach.
Many of the boys in the crowd painted the name and number of an RC varsity volleyball player on their backs. Cianci had “Badalis mgr.” painted on his back in recognition of senior volleyball manager Bridgette Badalis.
“(Monday night) in the gym was great,” Cianci said of the volleyball tripleheader, capped by the RC varsity squad’s victory against Bishop Ahr. “That atmosphere is so much fun. It made me want to do more.”
After an early dismissal from school on Tuesday – Roselle Catholic’s classroom schedule ended at 12:34 so preparations could be made for Open House – Cianci found the time to shop for pink socks at a sporting goods chain.
Cianci ran the 3.1 mile course at Warinanco Park in 19:45, surpassing his previous best time by 40 seconds.
“Maybe the socks are a lucky charm,” Cianci said.
At the Shore Coaches Invitational hosted at Holmdel Park on Oct. 5, the boys’ varsity cross country team placed ninth out of 18 teams in its race.
The next time the cross country team returns to Holmdel is the state meet in November.
In addition to Cianci, the following RC runners showed significant improvement in their times, according to first-year head coach Mike Kennedy: Halle Sarkodie, Andrew Sanchez, Tavares Storey, Kala Davis, and Daniel Shirley.
The RC cross country team is getting ready to run in the Union County Conference meet at Warinanco Park on Tuesday, Oct. 15th.
Cianci is in his first season as a member of the Lions’ tradition-rich cross country program after running winter and spring track. Cianci is the defending UCC Valley Division outdoor 200 meters and 400 hurdles champion.
“Cross Country is a lot more difficult than it looks,” Cianci said. “I’m doing it to help get ready for the track seasons. I’m trying to do my best to set a good example for the rest of the team because I feel like a lot of the young runners look up to me.”