NEW BALANCE OUTDOOR NATIONALS
In track and field, the competition can make all the difference.
The competition in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals meet helped Shoreham-Wading River High School senior Keith Steinbrecher in one sense, but running the 2,000-meter steeplechase in a slower heat hurt him in another.
In the end, Steinbrecher finished in seventh place in the national meet on Saturday, one agonizing place shy of coveted All-American status. Steinbrecher’s time of 6 minutes 3.96 seconds was just 27/100ths of a second behind the sixth-place finisher, Josh Dyrland of Irondequiot, N.Y.
“I’m very happy with my performances this weekend,” Steinbrecher said after the meet, which was held Friday through Sunday at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C. “I would have liked to be All-American but I’m just happy with the time, really.”
Speaking of Steinbrecher, Shoreham coach Bob Szymanski said, “He had a great meet.”
Steinbrecher, who will go on to run cross country and track for Merrimack College (Mass.), has had a great season. He was the Section XI champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a school and state qualifying meet record time of 9:30.28.
Steinbrecher also ran the opening leg of the emerging elite distance-medley relay that Shoreham won in 10:16.82. It was Shoreham’s season-best time by 19 seconds.
Steinbrecher ran the opening 1,200 meters in 3:13. Connor McAlary was next, completing 400 meters in 53 seconds. He handed off to Matt Gladysz, who handled 800 meters in 1:56. Ryan Udvadia ran the 1,600-meter anchor leg in 4:14. All four are seniors except for Gladysz, a junior.
“He never gets tired, it seems,” Szymanski said of Udvadia. Szymanski jokingly told one reporter that Udvadia has three lungs. “I guess it’s from the power plant years ago,” he said.
That same foursome also won their heat in the 4×800-meter relay in 7:57. Although it didn’t qualify them for the finals, Szymanski said, “That’s one of the fastest times we’ve ever run.” He compared it to the Shoreham school record of 7:49.7 that was set in 1985.
“I was greatly impressed,” Szymanski said. “They didn’t go there to mess up. They wanted to prove a couple of statements.”
For the three seniors, it was the last time they competed in a Shoreham uniform.
“It was a great way to wrap up a high school career,” said Steinbrecher.
Szymanski said: “I can’t be any prouder of those guys. It made me feel good.”