With the Riverhead High School boys track and field roster bulging at 82 athletes, coach Sal Loverde has quantity. He hopes that will be matched with plenty of quality.
“Things are looking pretty good,” he said. “We have a very competitive schedule. We did a good job of recruiting.”
Within the school, that is.
There is little doubt the Blue Waves (2-4 in Suffolk County League III) are loaded at the triple jump. “We are laden with youth and talent,” Loverde said.
As for quality, start with junior Kian Martelli, a quadruple threat in the triple jump, 110-meter high hurdles, long jump and one of the relays.
With a leap of 44 feet, 2 inches, Martelli reached the state meet in the triple jump. “We’re looking forward to big things from him,” Loverde said.
Continue with sophomore Max Solarz, whose best triple jump was 42 feet and who will run the 110 high hurdles and probably one of the relays. “That’s very, very respectable, without a question,” Loverde said of Solarz’s triple jump. “He’s developing into quite a leader on the team.”
And count in sophomore Aaron Walker, who has jumped 40 feet in the triple and cleared 5-10 in the high jump. “We’re excited about his progress as well,” Loverde said.
Riverhead isn’t only about triple jumpers. Junior Iyriy Derys, who came close to booking a spot in the 2017 state meet after clearing 12 feet, leads the way at pole vault. “He did a great job,” Loverde said. “We’re looking forward to him clearing 13 and making a charge at the state meet.”
The Blue Waves also have a group of talented sprinters.
“We’ve been fortunate to recruit athletes who are going to help us with sprints,” Loverde said. “It resulted with kids who have extraordinary potential. It will help us build our speed relays.”
Shoreham-Wading River coach Joe Mordarski likes what he sees entering the League VI season. “We’re looking great,” he said.
And for good reason.
“What’s nice for a very small school, we have a lot of talent and it’s not in one area,” he added.
Let’s start with the field events.
Senior pole vaulters Ryan Ledda (who has reached 13-6 in practice) and Calvin Schmalzle (12-0) lead the way for the Wildcats (3-2).
Shoreham also is blessed in the long jump as senior Daniel Montenegro (21-6 3/4), junior Damien Caputo (19-8) and sophomore Dylan Jung (19 feet-plus) form a formidable trio.
Seniors Rickie Casazza, who had the second-best leap of 6-6 in the state meet in 2017, Brandon Madden and Caputo will be the high jumpers. Caputo (39-0) and Montenegro (36-0) are expected to do the triple jumping.
Seniors Matt Rose (43-0) and Brennan Gorman (over 40 feet) and sophomore Mark Costas (over 40 feet) are slated for the shot put with Rose also throwing the discus.
On the track, the Wildcats have junior Luke Rey, who ran the 55-meter dash in 6.59 seconds, the county’s third fastest time.
“We’re looking to see him to make some noise in the 100 and 200 dash,” Mordarski said.
Senior Anthony Guozzone will run the 200 and 400.
Mordarski has some big expectations for junior Joey Krause (1,600), who was sick for most of last season, and sophomore Adam Zelin (1,600 and 3,200).
“We’re looking to see Joey becoming a 4:30-miler and around two minutes in the 800,” he said. “Joey’s a very strong runner. His father is also a record-holder in Suffolk County. We’re looking for him to have a breakthrough season.”
Mordarski noted that Zelin cut more than a minute off his two-mile time in 2017. “That goes to Adam’s work ethic,” he said. “He takes direction very well; a very coachable sophomore. He’s wise beyond his years in that regard. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Due to a low turnout, Bishop McGann-Mercy (3-3) won’t field a team in the Monarchs’ final year as the school will close in June. Instead, six boys will train with the girls team and be allowed to compete independently, following Mattituck’s schedule, according to Mercy girls coach Brian Manghan.
Athletes need at least six meets to qualify for the country championships, according to former Mercy boys coach Les Williams.
Three Monarchs to watch are junior miler Michael Senica, sophomore shot putter Patrick Glasgow and senior Kent Zhang, an exchange student (high and long jumps). Senica qualified for the cross country state meet the last two years. Glasgow won the freshman shot put at the Longwood freshman championships with a heave of 38-11 1/2 last year.
“I enjoyed working with the kids,” Williams said. “We didn’t have a lot of kids, but they did well.”