SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP STATE QUALIFIER
Looking for the names of double winners in individual events in the Section XI boys track and field individual championship state qualifier, one will find Christopher Belcher of Sayville (100 and 200 meters), James Burke of Port Jefferson (800 and 1,600) and John Stallworth of Connetquot (110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles), but no Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River.
Udvadia, who was seeded first in both the 3,200 and 1,600 meters, took care of the first half of business on Friday when he triumphed in the 3,200 in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds. On Saturday, the second and final day of the meet at Port Jefferson High School, Udvadia ran the fastest 1,600 he ever did before — and he had to settle for second place.
Udvadia and Burke, the top two seeds, were actually the last two runners among the section of 11 runners for most of the first lap of the 1,600 final. Udvadia, a junior, had moved up to fifth after 800 meters, and was then third around 1,000 meters. But Burke was on Udvadia’s right shoulder and moved ahead of him into second at the 1,200-meter mark. Burke took the lead on the bell lap as Udvadia moved in to second. But Burke held onto the lead despite a desperate effort by Udvadia, who couldn’t catch him.
The Port Jefferson sophomore took the race in 4:13.72. Udvadia was right behind him in second with a personal-best time of 4:14.73. Northport senior James Dickinson was third in 4:15.66. Those three times are the fastest in Suffolk County this season.
“That was a fast race,” said Udvadia, who lost a 1,600 race to a Suffolk runner for the first time this season.
Asked if he had any regrets, Udvadia replied: “I did everything I could. Maybe, looking back on it now, I say to myself now, ‘I could have kicked harder,’ but I know when I was doing the race I couldn’t. I couldn’t move my legs any more.”
Udvadia said he was taken aback when the purple-uniformed Burke passed him.
“I couldn’t believe it was him,” Udvadia said. “When I saw that it was him, I said, ‘Alright, it’s time to go.’ ”
The times posted were impressive, especially considering the heat the runners had to endure.
“Burke ran a great race,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “The weather also is not conducive to fast times, and those guys ran fast times.”
After the race, Udvadia shook Burke’s hand and told a reporter he was happy for the Port Jefferson runner.
Even before the race started, Udvadia had qualified for the state meet in both the 3,200 and the 1,600.
“I’m happy that I get to go for both,” he said, “but it would have been nice to go as a Section XI champ for both of them.”
TWO TUCKERS HEADED UPSTATE Two Mattituck athletes, junior Sal Loverde and freshman Darius Brew, qualified for the first time for the state meet that will be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.
Loverde threw the discus a personal-record distance of 135 feet 1 inch on his first throw, making him the top Division II finisher and ninth over all.
“I pr’d, I’m going to the states now, too,” he said. “It was a good day.”
Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said Loverde was ready for a big day. “The last two weeks he’s been really focused,” the coach said. “There was a lot of mental preparation. He’s always had the tools to throw.”
Ironically, Brew’s good day in the triple jump can be traced to his bad day in the high jump. Despite his disappointment at finishing tied for 13th place in the high jump at 5-8, Brew triple jumped 41-9 1/2, good enough for No. 1 in Division II and 11th place over all, and a ticket to the state meet. It was the best triple jump of his young career.
Brew said he was angry over his performance in the high jump, his primary event, but transferred that anger in a positive direction in the triple jump. “The triple was basically like secondary,” he said. “It was like Plan B, something to fall back on, and it ended up working.”
Loverde dedicated his performance to Hansen, who will be leaving the team and the school after this season.
“Even though Coach Hansen isn’t going to be here next year,” Loverde said, “I want to wish him the best with whatever he does, and I did this for him.”
TRACK NOTES Medals were presented to the top four finishers in each individual event. Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright grabbed a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 100 (11.09) and the 200 (22.65). Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:09.76.