By Matthew Rocco
Mater Dei Prep’s Christine Altland is taking over the new girls’ cross-country team, as the Seraphs continue to expand their athletic programs.
The Seraphs, who have run a co-ed cross-country program, will offer separate boys’ and girls’ teams for the fall season. The Middletown school said Altland, the head coach of the Mater Dei girls’ varsity track and field team, has been appointed head coach of the girls’ cross-country team.
“We could not have found a better head coach than Christine Altland for our girls’ cross-country team,” Mater Dei Prep athletic director Lance Bennett said in a statement. “Christine’s expertise, coupled with her passion to serve our student-athletes, will make for an exciting experience for our participants.”
Altland has coached the girls’ track and field team since 2016. She previously served as head coach of the boys’ and girls’ cross-country and track and field teams at the now-closed Cardinal McCarrick High School. In 2016, Altland was named Middlesex County Girls Coach of the Year.
Altland competed in track and cross-country at Monmouth University, and Raritan High School recently named her to its Hall of Fame for her athletic achievements with the Rockets.
“I’m extremely honored to be named the head coach for the girls’ cross-country team here at Mater Dei Prep. It’s going to be great for the program moving forward and the transition into the track seasons,” Altland said.
Mater Dei also announced that longtime cross-country and track and field coach Mike Tursi will add the title of director of cross-country operations. Tursi will handle day-to-day activities for both programs and ensure their long-term growth, Mater Dei said.
Tursi will retain his role as head coach of the boys’ teams in cross-country and track and field.
The new roles for Altland and Tursi follow an announcement in January that Mater Dei will field lacrosse teams for the first time this spring. Former Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School coach Andrew Eastwood is overseeing the program as director of lacrosse operations. He will step in as the boys’ head coach as well.