None of the three Riverhead High School athletes took home medals from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys winter track championships this past weekend, but Coach Sal Loverde felt the competition was invaluable for Treval Hatcher, Kashaun Boynton and Jonah Spaeth.
“It was O.K.,” Loverde said. “It wasn’t our greatest day.
“It was a great experience. I know all of them would have preferred different results. We were happy with their competitive edge. It was a real, real good indoor track season for Riverhead. We’re very happy about that.”
But the state meet also was a frustrating one for the Blue Waves trio at Cornell University’s Barton Hall in Ithaca.
Hatcher, a senior, could second that. The senior enjoyed the best Riverhead finish, taking 14th place in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet 7 1/4 inches. That was considerably less than his personal indoor best of 47-1.
“He did have a great try,” Loverde said. “He was on the board, off the board. He was upset with that. His ankle was a little bit sore. I don’t know if that played into that.”
Loverde said he would not be surprised if Hatcher reaches 48 feet in the spring.
Boynton, a junior, reached the semifinals of the 55-meter high hurdles with a personal-best time of 7.83 seconds. But then he had problems with several false starts by the starter, which could affect the competitors’ concentration.
“The starter, from my perspective, wasn’t very good,” Loverde said. “I haven’t seen so many false starts in my career.”
Boynton hit the first hurdle and did not finish the race.
“He was upset,” Loverde said. “I tried to explain to him that ‘You got to the semifinals.’ His earlier time would have put him on the podium, since fifth and sixth places finished in 7.85 and 7.89.
“He was a little discouraged by that.”
But Loverde said he sees big things ahead for Boynton.
“Here is a junior who catapulted to the next level of hurdling,” he said. “He won the county championship and qualified for the states. He had a phenomenal year.
“One of the things about Kashaun is that he is an athlete who doesn’t want to lose. He gets really prepared. It’s one of those great competitive spirits that he has.”
Loverde realized that the pole vault would be a challenge for Spaeth since the opening height at the meet was 12 feet. The sophomore’s season-best height was 11 feet.
“It was tough,” Loverde said.
Spaeth came very close to clearing the bar without incident.
“He was over it,” Loverde said. “He just nicked it going down.”
Loverde reiterated that Spaeth is a 10th grader. “He will be coming back with greater confidence next year,” he said.
And probably for the spring season as well because Spaeth will able to practice the pole vault every day as opposed to twice a week in the winter.