06/16/14 4:08pm
06/16/2014 4:08 PM

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. (more…)

05/31/14 5:26pm
05/31/2014 5:26 PM
From left, Half Hollow Hills West's Jarried Redwood, Shoreham-Wading River's Jordan Wright, Smithtown East's Shane Harris and Smithtown West's Andrew Lapreziosa lunging toward the finish line in the 100-meter dash finals. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

From left, Half Hollow Hills West’s Jarried Redwood, Shoreham-Wading River’s Jordan Wright, Smithtown East’s Shane Harris and Smithtown West’s Andrew Lapreziosa lunging toward the finish line in the 100-meter dash finals. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/STATE QUALIFIER

The steeplechase is one of the most demanding events in track and field. Not only is it a grind physically, but it also presents an element of danger. That, along with the event’s novelty, may also be part of its allure. Bad things can happen when exhausted athletes try to clear barriers and navigate water jumps.

That was seen Saturday during the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Section XI Individual Championships/state qualifier. Around the midpoint of the race, Miller Place senior Jeremy Miekley ran into a barrier, slowing him up. Then, Huntington senior Nick Sherman took a fall at the last barrier before the final sprint to the finish line. (more…)

05/30/14 8:03pm
05/30/2014 8:03 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Ryan Udvadia passed Northport's brothers on the last lap before coming in first place in the 3,200 meters. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia passed the Northport brothers Tim and Jack McGowan with about 450 meters to go before coming in first place in the 3,200 meters. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/STATE QUALIFIER

One of Ryan Udvadia’s biggest fans is none other than his coach, Bob Szymanski. Szymanski believes in Udvadia, and not only speaks highly of the Shoreham-Wading River High School senior, but puts his money where his mouth is.

Before the 3,200-meter race in the Section XI individual boys track and field championships/state qualifier on Friday, another coach wagered one dollar that Udvadia would not finish in first place. Szymanski accepted the bet. (more…)

05/24/14 1:00pm
05/24/2014 1:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Matt Gladysz hands off the baton to Connor McAlary in the 4 x 800 relay Friday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Matt Gladysz hands off the baton to Connor McAlary in the 4 x 800 relay Friday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Reflecting back on his running career, Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Syzmanski described the steeplechase as the “toughest event I’ve ever done.”

Considering the length of the race (3,000 meters), and obstacles (a water pit included!), it’s no surprise Shoreham senior Keith Steinbrecher agrees with his coach on that assessment.  (more…)

05/01/14 8:21pm
05/01/2014 8:21 PM
Bryce Casey raced to victory in the 200 meters in 23.3 seconds as undefeated Shoreham-Wading River captured the League VII championship outright. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Bryce Casey raced to victory in the 200 meters in 23.3 seconds as undefeated Shoreham-Wading River captured the League VII championship outright. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

WILDCATS 76, PHANTOMS 65

Like a giant orange shot put, the sun burned through the white clouds and smiled down on the Shoreham-Wading River High School track. For the Shoreham boys track and field team, there was a lot more than just sunshine to smile about, though. (more…)

09/13/13 7:00pm
09/13/2013 7:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia was honored as the top runner in the county.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia was honored as the top runner in the county last fall.

PREVIEW

Bob Szymanski, the Shoreham-Wading River boys cross country coach, was talking to a reporter about his team’s star runner, Ryan Udvadia, when he suddenly interrupted himself. “You know how to spell Udvadia, right?” he asked the scribe.

It didn’t sound as if Szymanski was joking, but he could have been. Udvadia’s exploits in cross country as well as track and field have made headlines.

In cross country last fall, Udvadia was voted the Runner of the Year in Suffolk County by coaches. The all-state runner finished among the top 10 in the state meet. He was one of only two boys to break 16 minutes at Sunken Meadow State Park last year, clocking 15:57 on the 3.1-mile course. He won a county championship, all seven invitationals he competed in as well as all six of Shoreham’s dual meets, all victories by the League VI champion Wildcats, by the way.

“Ryan is one of the top two to three runners in all of Long Island,” Szymanski said of his senior captain. “Ryan is in great shape right now. He was running six days a week in the whole month of August, and he’s ready to go right now. Now the only problem is he has to stay perfect again and we’ll be O.K.”

Well, the truth is the Wildcats are more than O.K. They have claimed 10 straight league titles, nine county crowns in the past two years, including the last two Class B championships, and show no signs of slowing down. They haven’t lost a dual meet in three years. And, as talented as Udvadia is, they have other strong runners, too.

Pete Steinbrecher, Jack Kelly, Matt Leunig, Connor McAlary, and Roman Brown — all returning seniors — should produce points. Ryan Groskopf, a junior, and Michael Godfrey, a sophomore, are competing for the No. 6 and No. 7 spots along with Brown. Szymanski said he was not sure where junior Matt Gladysz will fit into the picture.

Also among the team’s 21 runners are some good looking freshmen: Anthony Peraza, Chris Sheenan, Sebastian Rodriguez and Anthony Lynch.

So, things are looking up for the Wildcats.

Said Szymanski, “The important thing is we have to keep the team healthy and the coach sane, which isn’t easy to do.”

The top seven runners for Riverhead wear a distinction. Literally.

While their teammates wear practice jerseys that read, “Blue Waves,” the top seven have jerseys that read, “Cross Country.” As coach Patrick Burke sees it, it’s motivation, something for runners to strive for. “The guys that have those jerseys, they feel a certain amount of honor and respect,” he said.

Having graduated Anthony Galvan, who now runs for SUNY/Cortland, Riverhead still has Travis Wooten, a senior all-league runner in his fifth year on the team. He leads the pack along with senior Joe Gattuso and junior Nicholas Kunha.

“We’re expecting great things from Travis,” Burke said. “Travis has been a top-five runner as a freshman and he was our second-best runner last year right behind Anthony Galvan. We’re hoping that this is the year for him.”

Also wearing the coveted practice jerseys earmarked for the team’s top runners are junior Jeremy Bornstein, junior Owen O’Neill, freshman Eric Kunha (Nicholas’ brother) and sophomore Connor Behr.

“I’m looking forward to seeing those people, the top runners, reach their potential,” said Burke.

With 11 freshmen and 10 sophomores on a team of over 30 runners, the future looks bright for Riverhead. “We have some depth and we have the younger guys coming up that are going to challenge the top seven,” said Burke.

Burke said a good number of his runners have been training over the summer in preparation for the season. Cross country is a sport without shortcuts. There is only one way to succeed, and that is through putting the miles in.

“It’s grueling,” Burke said. “To be a good runner, you have to put the mileage in.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

06/01/13 7:33pm
06/01/2013 7:33 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Port Jefferson's James Burke, left, ran around Shoreham-Wading River's Ryan Udvadia about 1,200 meters into the 1,600-meter final.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Port Jefferson’s James Burke, left, ran around Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia about 1,200 meters into the 1,600-meter final.

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.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

“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.

bliepa@timesreview.com

05/31/13 9:14pm
05/31/2013 9:14 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle cleared 15 feet, breaking his own school record by 3 inches. He took first place while teammates Charles Villa (14-0) and Jonah Spaeth (14-0) were second and third, respectively.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle cleared 15 feet, breaking his own school record by 3 inches. He took first place while teammates Charles Villa (14-0) and Jonah Spaeth (14-0) were second and third, respectively.

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP STATE QUALIFIER

Dan Normoyle has a personal motto that he is ready to offer whenever he is asked how high he can pole vault. “The sky’s the limit,” he says.

It’s an apropos motto for a pole vaulter. Pole vaulters, after all, are a special breed. They are adventurous, courageous, often free-spirited, and they tend to not put limits on themselves as they soar to greater and greater heights.

They are dealing with a flukish event in which so many things can go wrong. But on Friday, so many things went right for Normoyle and his fellow Riverhead pole vaulters.

It was as simple — and impressive — as one, two, three.

Riverhead pole vaulters, led by Normoyle’s record-setting performance, swept the top three places in the Section XI individual championship state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School.

Normoyle, a senior, cleared 15 feet on his last attempt at that height, surpassing the school record of 14-9 that he set last week in the division championships. But that wasn’t the only notable element of the day’s proceedings. Riverhead junior Charles Villa took second place at 14-0, edging teammate Jonah Spaeth, a senior who also cleared that height, by a tiebreaker.

“Being able to say we took one, two, three in the county championships is really cool,” said Normoyle.

Normoyle cleared 14-6 on his first try, and that must have helped him toward the record, saving energy required for each attempt. He said he believed he could handle 15 feet. “That was the big thing,” he said. “I knew I could do it, so it definitely gave me the confidence to do it.”

Normoyle missed all three of his attempts at 15-5.

“Fifteen-five would have been nice,” said Normoyle, who qualified along with Villa for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.

The three Riverheaders were among the top four seeds in the meet, with Normoyle the favorite. A persuasive argument could be made that this is the golden era for Riverhead pole vaulting.

Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski thinks it is.

“I never heard of that [happening] in the pole vault, that the top three [places] are swept,” by one team, he said. “It’s not like it’s a bad year in the pole vault. It’s probably one of the better years in the pole vault in Suffolk County. So, to do it, they almost raised the bar for the whole county, these guys.”

Referring to the one, two, three finish, Riverhead’s pole vaulting coach, John Andresen, said, “It is almost unheard of.”

Smithtown West senior Karl Nilsen, who was obviously struggling with an ankle injury, was tied for fourth with Mount Sinai junior Charlie Kollmer at 13-6. After the three Riverheaders were the last ones still in the competition, Normoyle said he told a coach, “This might be history.”

It is the third time this season that Riverhead’s pole vault record was raised. Spaeth set a school record last year when he reached 14-6. Then, earlier this season, Normoyle and Villa both cleared 14-6, leaving a three-way tie for the school mark that lasted for about five minutes before Normoyle hit 14-9.

Spaeth, who went to the state meet last year, will miss out this year, but Normoyle and Villa will make their first appearances in the state competition.

“I always wanted it,” Villa said. “I get to go, finally, after all the years of dreaming of going to the states.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River made up ground quickly and surged to victory in the 3,200-meter final in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River made up ground quickly and surged to victory in the 3,200-meter final in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

UDVADIA GIVES SZYMANSKI A SCARE Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski was kidding — or at least it sounded like he was kidding — when he said he thought he was going to need a defibrillator as he watched the thrilling finish to the 3,200-meter final.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia trailed Northport sophomore Mike Brannigan by about 25 meters with some 200 meters to go, and Szymanski appeared to be panicking, worrying that Udvadia had given Brannigan too much of a cushion.

Not so, though. The top-seeded Udvadia made up ground quickly, taking the lead for the first time while coming off the final turn and winning in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

Szymanski could do without that kind of drama.

“I have faith in him, but … it’s still scary,” the coach said. “The only thing I saw that was in our favor was the kid looked back over his shoulder. Someone heard Ryan was coming.”

Brannigan ended up in third place in 9:23.72. He was passed by a teammate, junior Tim McGowan (9:20.60), for second place.

Another Shoreham junior, Connor McAlary, was 10th in 10:01.37. Riverhead junior Travis Wooten came in 18th in 10:22.77.

Udvadia said he was nervous, but confident at the same time. He sensed Brannigan starting to slow down with 400 meters to go.

Known for his late kick. Udvadia had something left in the tank for the strong finish.

“It was painful and tough, but I got it,” said Udvadia, who is headed to his first outdoor state meet. “Even when I don’t think I have a kick, I do have a kick.”

An example was the Penn Relays earlier this season. Udvadia was seeded 14th in the 16-runner 1,600 race. He went from dead last to finish seventh in 4:15.64.

Udvadia said he took a glance at Szymanski during Friday’s race and knew his coach was stressed. “I saw the look on his face,” Udvadia said. “I could tell he was talking to himself.”

TRACK NOTES Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Israel Squires finished fourth in the long jump, covering 21-9.

bliepa@timesreview.com