It would be asking an awful lot for any athlete to match the kind of season Luke Coulter compiled last year for Riverhead. The large school county champion in the 600-meter and 3,200, Coulter displayed a rare versatility to compete at a high level in multiple events.
To fill those shoes following his graduation will be no easy task. But the Blue Waves enter the 2016-17 season with a strong group of veteran athletes mixed with a large core of younger kids that coach Sal Loverde said have high potential.
Senior Eric Cunha, a middle-distance runner, is coming off a strong cross country season and should be one of the Blue Waves’ top runners. Cunha ran the 1,000 in the team’s opening Crossover meet at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood last week to work on some speed training and finished first in 2 minutes 39.47 seconds. Loverde said Cunha will likely run the 1,600 as one of his top events.
“He’s been working really hard showing tremendous leadership skills,” Loverde said. “He’s doing the things that needs to do in order to maintain success and to continue to build on it.”
Cunha finished eighth in the 1,600 at last year’s indoor county championship meet and improved to a third-place finish in the outdoor season at the division championships.
The Blue Waves also return Trequanne Miles-Ross, a versatile athlete who can compete in multiple events. The senior runs the sprints and will be a key member of the relays. Senior Alec Buczynski will compete in the high hurdles.
Sophomores Sean Allen, Kian Martelli and Ryan Carrick will all be key contributors. Allen and Martelli have both shown promise in the jumps along with freshman Maximilian Solarz and can sprint as well. Carrick is a distance runner. He was second in the 3,200 at last week’s crossover meet in 10:35.35.
“He’s going to be a brilliant distance runner for us,” Loverde said.
Junior Cole Devereaux and sophomore Ryan Keane are both runners expected to contribute. Senior Kyle Gevinski returns in the pole vault after finishing tied for ninth in last year’s state qualifier meet.
The Bishop McGann-Mercy boys track team is led by sophomore Ryan Razzano, who will focus on the 300 in the winter. Razzano, who’s coming off football season, ran in the spring season last year and excelled in the triple jump and 400.
The Monarchs are short on experience with a team of only seven athletes. Robert Halversen, a junior, is the only returning member of last winter’s team. He runs the 600 as his primary event.
The Monarchs also feature sophomore Mike Senica in distance events. The rest of the team features senior Griffin Carter, junior Frank O’Brien, sophomore Phil Marino and freshman Michael Ouziounion.
The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats are coming off a rare down year last season. The Wildcats did not score a point in the county championship meet.
The Wildcats do return one runner who competed at the state qualifier meet last winter in senior Sebastian Rodriguez. He ran the 55-meter-hurdles last year. In the team’s first crossover meet, Rodriguez ran the 600.
The Wildcats also feature sophomore Andrew Liguori, who had a strong showing in the 300 in the team’s first crossover meet. He ran 39.27 for second place. He also competed in the 55-dash, placing seventh in 7.08.
Senior Patrick Flannery returns in the middle distance events and junior Daniel Montenegro should excel in the jumps. Senior Joseph Chianese will run distance events.
Photo caption: Riverhead Eric Cunha was 17th overall in Class A at the cross country state qualifier meet last month. He’ll be a key middle-distance runner for the indoor track team this winter. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)