02/23/13 12:00am
02/23/2013 12:00 AM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Dan Normoyle, one of three Blue Waves to pole vault 14 feet in the same meet, took first place in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Dan Normoyle, one of three Blue Waves to pole vault 14 feet in the same meet, took first place in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational

LONG ISLAND ELITE TRACK INVITATIONAL

After all the drama and all the excitement subsided, it was time for photographs. Photos for posterity.

Five smiling pole vaulters posed for photos in front of the pole vault mat, each athlete holding up one finger from one hand and four fingers from the other to represent the number 14. That is 14, as in 14 feet, the height each of them cleared.

Most high schools don’t have one pole vaulter who can clear 14 feet. Riverhead had three of them reach that height on Friday night.

Dan Normoyle, Charles Villa and Jonah Spaeth all reached 14-0 — along with two other pole vaulters — in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School. Riverhead’s pole vaulting coach, John “Doc” Andresen, said it is the first time in the school’s history that three Blue Waves cleared 14 feet in the same meet.

“It’s never been done on Long Island, I don’t believe, certainly not in Riverhead,” he said.

Because the three Riverheaders handled 14-0 along with Smithtown West’s Karl Nilsen and Syosset’s Michael Wilkens, a tiebreaking procedure was used to determine the places. Normoyle finished first, Villa was second and Spaeth finished in a tie for third with Nilsen, leaving Wilkens fifth.

“I thought it was unbelievable,” Normoyle, a junior, said. “Five guys over 14 is just crazy. … It’s great to be part of the legacy of our school, to make a name for ourselves.”

For Villa, a sophomore, the height was a personal record. Villa said that as the bar was raised higher, he started getting nervous and began doubting himself a little bit.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia moved up from the middle of the pack and finished second in the 1,600 meters in a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia (6) moved up from the middle of the pack and finished second in the 1,600 meters in a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds.

In the end, there was no need for doubt or nerves.

“It was great, all of us just getting 14,” Villa said. “It was just amazing.”

Villa’s first vault was at 12-6, with Normoyle and Spaeth entering the competition with the bar at 13-0.

One of the challenges of pole vaulting is dealing with the fatigue factor as the height rises.

“I was getting a little light-headed near the end,” said Spaeth, a senior who set the Riverhead indoor record of 14-6 earlier this season.

Pole vaulting can be a fickle event, as Andresen knows only too well. “Any time something goes wrong, we have the expression, that’s pole vaulting,” he said. “You know, it’s like a horse race, anything can happen.”

Spaeth will compete in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships along with Normoyle on March 2 at Cornell University.

“We’re coming to the point of the season where [personal records] start to weigh in,” Spaeth said. “This is when it’s supposed to happen, now.”

The Long Island Elite Track Invitational, which brings in many of the top athletes in Nassau and Suffolk counties, is seen as good preparation for the state meet. It surely was a good run for Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia and Jordan Wright.

Udvadia achieved several things with his race in the 1,600 meters. The junior posted a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds that was good enough for second place. The time should also place him in the seeded race at the state meet. Plus, the performance was a timely confidence boost.

“When you have good competition, it’s good,” Udvadia said. “Everybody says low competition, it’s easy to win, but I’d rather get second and do a great time.”

The one person Udvadia didn’t outrun was Northport senior James Dickinson, who won in 4:16.60.

“Coming into this meet, I didn’t see him as a threat, but he really came through,” Udvadia said. “He really did a great job, and he really pushed me to what I needed to do.”

Wright, competing in the 55-meter dash, also clocked a personal record, 6.65 seconds, to win his preliminary heat. The junior then posted a 6.67 in the final, good enough for third place.

Wright said the moments near the starting line before the gun goes off may test the nerves of some runners, but are important, nonetheless.

“It helps you a little bit, though, the adrenaline,” he said.

Two Riverhead juniors turned in sixth-place finishes: Davion Porter (5-10 in the high jump) and Marcus Moore (42-3 1/2 in the triple jump).

Porter said the quality competition helped him, too. “It gets you motivated and [helps you to] try to strive for higher heights,” he said.

Another Riverheader, senior Anthony Galvan, was 11th in the 1,000 in 2:43.51, slicing a second off his personal record. “That’s really something right there,” he said.

Riverhead sophomore Jacob Robinson finished first in the frosh/soph 300 in 37.73 seconds.

As the meet was winding down, and after Riverhead’s pole vaulters had finished their night’s work, the mild-mannered Andresen may have been among the most satisfied people in St. Anthony’s beautiful fieldhouse.

“He just had a smile on his face,” Normoyle said. “He doesn’t say much, but he was excited.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

01/29/13 3:14pm
01/29/2013 3:14 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan set a school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes 31.17 seconds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan set a school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes 31.17 seconds.

LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ryan Udvadia has made quite a name for himself as a long-distance runner. What the Shoreham-Wading River junior accomplished on Sunday further added to that name.

Udvadia was a two-event winner in the Suffolk County League V Championships that were contested at Suffolk County Community College West in Brentwood.

In the 1,600-meter final, Udvadia flew to the finish line in a time of 4 minutes 35.62 seconds. His nearest competition came from Bayport-Blue Point senior Adam LaFemina, who was second in 4:42.57. Another Shoreham-Wading River junior, Keith Steinbrecher, came in sixth place in 4:55.15.

Udvadia also triumphed in the 3,200 in 10:03.80. Port Jefferson sophomore James Burke was second in 10:14.08.

Shoreham-Wading River also received second-place finishes from its 4×200-meter relay team (1:39.79) and senior shot putter Kyle Fleming, who recorded a throw of 44 feet 1 1/2 inches. (Shoreham-Wading River senior Charles DeMaio was fourth in the shot put at 43-8 1/2.)

The Wildcats also took third in the 4×800 relay in 8:55.07.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright was third in the 55-meter dash in 6.95 seconds.

A pair of sophomores, Colin Rickey (2:49.46) and Matt Gladysz (2:49.74), brought Shoreham-Wading River fourth and fifth place in the 1,000.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeffrey Pittman, who has been battling a sore ankle, covered 18 feet 11 3/4 inches to take sixth place in the long jump.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeffrey Pittman, who has been battling a sore ankle, covered 18 feet 11 3/4 inches to take sixth place in the long jump.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Max Maritato finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the high jump along with Mount Sinai junior Steven Boyce and Port Jefferson junior Daniel Gross. All three jumpers cleared 5-4.

Bishop McGann-Mercy’s 4×400 relay team clocked a time of 4:02.99 to finish fourth. The Monarchs also received sixth-place showings by junior Riley Knowles Join in the 1,000 (2:52.44) and senior Robert Folkes in the shot put (39-8).

Bayport-Blue Point was the top League V team with 128 points. Shoreham-Wading River (61 1/3) was fourth and McGann-Mercy (6) eighth.

A school record had been in Anthony Galvan’s sights for a while. On Sunday, he turned his dream into a reality, breaking Riverhead’s 3,200-meter indoor record by 3.07 seconds.

Galvan, a senior, posted a time of 10:13.17, which was good enough for third place in the League III Championships, not to mention a place in the Riverhead record books. The previous mark of 10:16.24 was set by Connor Marengo in 2006.

Finishing ahead of Galvan were North Babylon senior Kris Moran (9:56.50) and Hauppauge senior Ronny Cavaliere (9:59.97).

“He had a very deep personal commitment to breaking that record, and it certainly helps when you’re running with excellent competition to drive you to that,” Riverhead coach Sal Loverde said. “He’s a strong runner. He’s a committed athlete to his craft. He does all the work that he needs to do.”

Galvan also took fourth place in the 1,600 in 4:45.91 and ran a 2:12 leg in the 4×800 relay, which Riverhead took seventh in. “He had a great day,” said Loverde.

Riverhead finished fourth in the team scoring with 44 points. Half Hollow Hills West ran away with the league title with 125 points, 18 more than second-place North Babylon.

Loverde figured that Riverhead lost anywhere from 14 to 20 points by not having its best hurdler and best long jumper available to compete. Clifton Russell, a junior, was not feeling well and not present at the meet. “Not having Clifton Russell was a bit of an issue,” said Loverde.

But the Blue Waves still took 10 points from the triple jump thanks to the efforts of two juniors, Marcus Moore and Darren Jefferson. Moore finished second to Half Hollow Hills West’s Frederic Fils Aime (41-9 1/4) with a distance of 39-10. Jefferson, competing despite a sore ankle, was sixth at 38-8 1/4. Loverde said Moore landed a jump of around 41 feet, but lost distance when he tilted back upon hitting the sand, leaving a handprint.

Jefferson also grabbed third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.66 seconds. His teammate, sophomore Andrew Smith, was fourth in 8.76.

Riverhead senior Jeffrey Pittman didn’t do too badly himself, finishing fourth in the 55-meter dash in 6.81 and sixth in the long jump at 18-11 3/4.

Pittman had been working on a reduced training regimen because of a sore ankle. “He did what he needed to do to keep us competitive,” said Loverde.

Another Riverheader, sophomore Jacob Robinson, was fifth in the 300 meters in 38.67.

“It brings to a close a league competition that was very good for us,” Loverde said. “The kids rose to the occasion.”

bliepa@timesreview.com