Everything had built this season toward an all-state finish at the New York State Championships for Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia. He had qualified in two events, the 3,200 and 1,600, at the state qualifier Feb. 13. Then at the Long Island Elite Invitational Feb. 22, he ran a superb time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds in the 1,600 as a final tune-up for the championship.
But in the week leading up to the big meet at Cornell University in Ithaca, Udvadia came down with a head cold, wiping away crucial practice time.
“The day of the race he felt all right,” said Shoreham coach Brian Wrinkle.
But the missed time slowed Udvadia enough to keep him off the podium. He still ran a respectable time of 9:31.34 in the 3,200 for 10th place in the federation Saturday. With an hour to recover, he ran 4:37.2 in the 1,600 to finish 30th overall.
“He wasn’t feeling good after the two-mile,” Wrinkle said. “He persevered and did his best.”
There was never any thought to scaling back to one event, Wrinkle said. Backing out of an event at the last minute would have denied the fourth-place finisher from the qualifier an opportunity to compete as a replacement. Udvadia was the first Wildcat to qualify for states in two events since Bobby Andrews in 2009.
The Wildcats got such a break with junior Jordan Wright, a fourth-place finisher in the 55-meter dash at the qualifier. Wright learned a little over a week before the state meet that he would get a chance to run. William Floyd senior Diamonte Corley finished second at the state qualifier in the 55. He also won the 300 and was a member of the winning 4 x 200 relay team. So he opted to skip the 55 at the state meet.
Wrinkle said they were hopeful Wright could get a spot at states so they never stopped training.
“I took the paper work from the meet that day because I really thought it would happen,” he said. “We stayed fresh and prepared and ran right through.”
Wright had an impressive showing, finishing third in his first heat in 6.65. In the semifinals he ran 6.68 to finish 14th. The top eight advanced to the finals. Sayville senior Chris Belcher was the state champ in 6.35, just shy of the state record of 6.31.
Udvadia will get one more chance to run the 1,600 this weekend at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York. Udvadia will compete in the emerging elite division, which is second to the championship race.
“He wants to get some speed in and end the season on a high note,” Wrinkle said.