BOHEMIA — Three Riverhead High School triple jumpers set personal records in the Suffolk County Division Championships on Tuesday. But perhaps nobody’s accomplishment at Connetquot High School stunned his teammates and coaches as much as that of eighth-grader Brandon Tolliver.
Tolliver became the newest, and youngest, member of the Blue Waves’ 40-foot triple jump club, joining teammates Treval Hatcher, Edwin Perry and Kevin Williams with a leap of 40 feet 2 3/4 inches. Hatcher estimated that Tolliver’s previous best was approximately 37 feet.
“And he’s only an eighth-grader,” Riverhead Coach Steve Gevinski said.
Mike Smith of Riverhead won the discus with a throw of 155-8, beating North Babylon’s Shaun Blackman, who came in second at 153-0. Smith will compete in the shot put today.
Hatcher and Williams said they foresee a bright future for Tolliver, who was 10th. They added that he has plenty of time to grow and add muscle to what is currently a skinny frame. Perhaps this is only an inkling of what he will be able to do.
“I was ecstatic,” Hatcher said of seeing Tolliver clear 40 feet. “Forty’s a big jump for an eighth-grader.”
Tolliver was not the only one to set a personal record. Both Hatcher and Williams did as well.
Hatcher finished second to Copiague’s Tyrek English in the Division II triple jump, leaping 45-6 1/2. But he would have had to smash that personal best to have had any chance of beating English, who won with a jump of 47-7 1/2.
“I wish I did a little better today,” Hatcher said. “I’m satisfied with 45-6 because it’s a state-qualifying jump.”
Finishing third was Perry, a senior who leapt 45-3 1/4. And right behind him in fourth place was Williams, a sophomore, at 43-1 3/4.
“I feel I could have done maybe a little bit better,” Williams said. “I feel I could have gotten more speed coming down the runway.”
In terms of where the Blue Waves finished in their respective events, Williams was the only one to even mildly surprise Gevinski, who had expected him to place fifth.
After the triple jump, Williams ran the sixth-fastest time in the 400-meter dash semifinal heats. His time of 52.27 seconds qualified him for today’s final.
“I didn’t run too good, but I did enough,” Williams said of his performance. He added that the sunny and hot weather drained some of his energy and left him struggling to stay hydrated.
Williams and Hatcher then had one last assignment ahead of them, qualifying for today’s final in the 4 x 400-meter relay. They and teammates Ryan Budd and Peter Rodriguez did just that, winning their heat in 3:33.19.
The 4 x 100 relay team of Budd, Rodriguez, Matthew Pittman and Kashaun Boynton qualified for the final with a time of 46.08.
Though he will run today in the relay, Rodriguez was unable to move on in the 200-meter dash. He finished third in his semifinal heat with a time of 23.59. That is 51/100ths of a second off the qualifying time.
Budd did qualify for the 400-meter dash final in a time of 56.55, and Boynton moved on in the 110-meter high hurdles, finishing in 15.21.
Sasha Schafer of Riverhead, meanwhile, will continue in the pole vault, which was halted at 11-6 as the last of the relays finished. The pole vault will restart today with the height at 12-0.
Riverhead, Gevinski said, will be locked in a tight contest for the Division II championship with Half Hollow Hills West and North Babylon.
The only other local qualifier was Nick Troisi of Mattituck in the Division III 400-meter dash. He ran the seventh-best time, 1:20.23, to qualify for the final.
The Tuckers’ 4 x 400 relay team of Nigel Ortiz, Troisi, John Hamilton and Corey Zlatniski did not advance, finishing last in their qualifying heat with a time of 4:09.15.
Bishop McGann-Mercy did slightly better, as the team of Matthew Stetler, Patrick Derenze, Sean Cappiello and Matt Di Landro finished with a time of 3:56.81.
McGann-Mercy’s 4 x 100 relay team of John Marano, Christian Muralles, Bradly Frabizio and Justin DaSilva did not qualify for the final, coming in 12th with a time of 49.85.
Monarchs Coach Matthew Perry said, “We’re looking to see where we can move up.”