12/27/13 7:00am
12/27/2013 7:00 AM
ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle.

For a track and field team to have one elite pole vaulter is a luxury. To have two? Even better. But three?

That’s just hard to imagine. But in 2013, the Riverhead Blue Waves had one of the most formidable pole vaulting trios any team could ever hope for.

Dan Normoyle, Jonah Spaeth and Charles Villa were often competing against each other at meets to determine the champion.

And at any given meet, it could be any of the vaulters with a top mark. At the state championship for the indoor season, Normoyle cleared 14 feet 6 inches and Spaeth cleared 14.

In the outdoor season, Normoyle and Villa qualified for the state championship. Normoyle again cleared 14-6 and Villa cleared 14. To qualify for states, Normoyle cleared 15 feet as the Blue Waves finished 1-2-3.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.

12/26/13 7:00am
12/26/2013 7:00 AM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, shown here earlier this season, ran the fastest 3,200 time in the state Friday.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, shown here earlier this season, ran the fastest 3,200 time in the state Friday.

Whether it was indoor track, outdoor track or cross country, Shoreham-Wading River runner Ryan Udvadia tallied win after win in 2013.

Going back to winter track at the start of the year, Udvadia dominated at the league championship, winning the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. He went on to win the 3,200 at the small-school county championship and earned a trip to states in two events.

He continued to excel through the spring outdoor season, when he once again qualified for the state meet in both events. He was the top 3,200 runner in the county. Most recently during the cross country season, he was the top runner in Class B and, at the state championship, finished second in Class B.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.

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

05/21/13 9:09pm
05/21/2013 9:09 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Fleming threw a personal record 140 feet 8 inches in the discus.

DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

It was typical Ryan Udvadia.

After the Division III 3,200-meter final started, the Shoreham-Wading River junior was hanging well back in the bottom third of the field, as if toying with the opposition, who surely knew what was coming. Early in the third lap, Udvadia made a tremendous move, passing a half-dozen runners and easing into the third position. By the time there were three laps to go, he was in the lead, coasting to a victory he made look almost effortless.

Udvadia ran about 28 seconds slower than his personal record for the distance, and yet still managed to beat his nearest competitor, Bayport-Blue Point senior Adam LaFemina, who was over 10 seconds behind him in the Suffolk County Division Championships at Connetquot High School on Tuesday. Udvadia’s time was 9 minutes 29.82 seconds. Further back was Shoreham-Wading River junior Connor McAlary, who was fifth in 10:01.92.

Although the top-seeded Udvadia may have been saving his legs for Thursday, when he will run in the 1,600 (he is the favorite to win that event as well, having clocked a personal-best time of 4:15.64 earlier this year at the Penn Relays) and the 4×800 relay, he blew away the field.

“He doesn’t surprise me anymore,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “I mean, he doesn’t lose.”

Connetquot has a nice looking track, but Udvadia is not a fan of it. “I really hate this track, just because the turns are bigger than the straightaways,” he explained.

Not that one could tell by his performance, but the weather conditions irritated Udvadia’s allergies.

“The pollen was unbelievable,” he said. “It was horrible. I can feel it in my throat right now, so I’m expecting to feel sick on Thursday.”

That would be a setback Shoreham-Wading River could ill afford. As it was, the Wildcats took a blow on Tuesday when one of their top athletes, Israel Squires, injured his ankle while playing basketball in a physical education class. The sophomore, who was seeded third in the triple jump, fouled and did not record a distance in the event.

Squires also anchors Shoreham’s 4×100 relay team, the No. 1 seed which qualified for Thursday’s final. The meet will conclude on Thursday, when most of the finals will be held.

Szymanski fears Squires’ injury could cost the Wildcats 30 points.

“That’s not a good thing,” Szymanski said. “I’m totally depressed. I feel bad for the kid, but he’s got to use better judgment than what he did by playing hoops right before” the meet.

A more encouraging development for Shoreham was the discus, which senior Kyle Fleming took first place in with a personal-record throw of 140 feet 8 inches. Fleming, whose best throw going into the meet was 132 feet, surpassed that distance on four of his six throws Tuesday despite throwing into the wind.

“The wind was tricky,” Shoreham’s throwing coach, Bill Hiney, said. “Throwing into the wind, you really have to have hand control. If the tip of the discus is up, it will just sail right over and cut distance off your throw. Kyle controlled that very well.”

Fleming left the school before a reporter could interview him.

The Wildcats also received a fourth-place finish from senior Thomas Sager in the pole vault. He cleared 12 feet.

Riverhead junior Marcus Moore took second place in the Division II triple jump, covering 42-10. North Babylon senior Kamar Marston-Mills (44-3 1/2) was the only one to throw farther than him.

“I don’t think he had his best legs today, so I was happy with 42-11,” Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski said of Moore. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. I think he’s just growing into his body, too. I think as he builds a little more strength, he’ll be even better.”

Mattituck freshman Darius Brew, one of the youngest athletes to compete in the triple jump, was congratulated by his coach, Pete Hansen, after covering 41-1 during the preliminaries. But then Hansen delivered the distressing remark that he didn’t believe Brew had qualified for the Division III finals.

That did not sit well with Brew.

“It was terrible,” Hansen said. “It was like I killed his puppy.”

As it turned out, Hansen was wrong. Brew did indeed reach the finals, and turned in a personal-best 41-2 1/2, which brought him sixth place.

“I think the biggest thing for him is he does not like to lose,” said Hansen. He added, “There are so many good things about him, I can’t say anything bad.”

Brew, whose best triple jump before Tuesday was 40-11, said he has more distance in his legs. “Every time I get a best, a personal best, I feel that my body is able to do better,” he said.

Mattituck junior Sal Loverde finished eighth in the discus with a throw of 124-6.

BRAUNSKILL TAKES TRIPLE JUMP Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill won the Division II triple jump title in the girls division championships on Monday at Connetquot High School. Braunskill’s winning distance was 39-3 3/4.

Riverhead also received a fifth-place finish from sophomore Rashae Smith in the discus (96-6).

Through three events of the pentathlon, Riverhead sophomore Rachel Clement held sixth place with 1,209 points. She took second in the high jump (4-7 3/4), third in the shot put (24-11 3/4) and sixth in the 100-meter high hurdles (20.02).

Following the first day of the two-day meet, which concludes Wednesday, Riverhead was tied for third place in the team scoring with Half Hollow Hills West. They both had 12 points, trailing Kings Park (21) and North Babylon (18).

In Division III, Shoreham-Wading River was in a third-place tie as well with Elwood/John Glenn. Both teams had 14 points. Miller Place (39) is first and Hampton Bays (16) is second. Bishop McGann-Mercy is 10th with two points.

Shoreham received 10 points from Meghan Serdock’s victory in the discus. The senior threw 100-11.

The Wildcats also received a fourth-place finish from freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman in the 3,000 meters (10:33.89). McGann-Mercy junior Delina Auciello was behind her in fifth place in 11:22.00.

Mattituck junior Shannon Dwyer was fourth in the pentathlon after three events with 1,244 points. Dwyer was second in the shot put (28- 1/4), third in the high jump (4-4) and seventh in the 100-meter high hurdles (19.10).

bliepa@timesreview.com

04/13/13 5:39pm
04/13/2013 5:39 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

SUFFOLK TRACK OFFICIALS HOLIDAY CLASSIC

One has to wonder just where Ryan Udvadia gets all that energy.

Less than 48 hours after running and winning three individual events (the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters) and anchoring a winning 4×800-meter relay team in a dual-meet win over Mount Sinai, the Shoreham-Wading River junior was back on the track again on Saturday.

In only Shoreham-Wading River’s fourth meet this season and first invitational, Udvadia made a strong case for himself as arguably the best long-distance runner in Suffolk County. He did that with his victory in the open 1,600 against some tough competition in the Suffolk Track Officials Holiday Classic at Mount Sinai High School.

It wasn’t the first-place finish that was so impressive as the time: 4 minutes 20.98 seconds. That is only a few seconds off Udvadia’s best time. Coming so relatively early in the season, before the weather has truly warmed up, was impressive.

“I was a little nervous about the mile because it was pretty stacked, great competition,” he said, “but I knew I had the race when there was like a half-mile to go and I realized how slow it was in the beginning, and how much energy I actually had left.”

Udvadia took the lead briefly going into the last lap, lost it, but then surged forward with 200 meters to go. He ended up winning by a fair margin over the next two finishers, Tom Meehan of Eastport/South Manor (4:23.32) and Tim McGowan of Northport (4:23.92).

“Nobody runs 4:20 this early,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “I didn’t want him to run that fast … but he also wants to establish himself.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Udvadia’s day was not done. He had an open 800 final to run after that.

Szymanski, concerned about his star runner’s health, warned him beforehand not to do anything “stupid.”

Udvadia almost hurt himself before the 800 race, trotting into a hurdle while talking to someone and warming up at the same time. He took a fall, Szymanski said, but was O.K.

During the first half of the race, Udvadia had fallen back to about the final one-third of the field. Some may have wondered if Udvadia’s legs were giving out on him. Szymanski was watching the race from the press box when someone asked him, “What happened to your man, Udvadia?” The coach replied, “It’s not over yet.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

True enough. Playing track and field’s version of opossum, Udvadia then made his move. It was all part of the plan. Passing about a dozen runners in front of him, and making it look ridiculously easy in the process, Udvadia went on to win the heat in 1:58.61, his fastest 800 time ever. It stood for fourth place.

Udvadia said he even surprised himself.

“Usually in the beginning [of a race] I just sit [back] on them, and when I feel like I can do it, I’ll go for the kick, and that’s what I did for the last lap,” he said.

Is that kick always there?

“Ninety percent of the time,” he said, smiling.

Szymanski said Udvadia reminds him of Bobby Andrews, one of the greatest runners the Wildcats have ever produced.

A driven athlete who doesn’t like second-best, Udvadia does research about his competition and trains. Oh boy, does he train, so much so that Szymanski said he needs to rein him in sometimes for fear of overtraining and injury.

After the 800, his sixth competitive race in three days, Udvadia conceded he was glad his running day was over.

“Now I’m tired,” he said. “I don’t want to run any more.”

Like Udvadia, Isreal Squires competed in four events for Shoreham-Wading River on Thursday. Squires said he felt soreness in his legs, and because of that he didn’t feel good about his chances of winning on Saturday.

He was wrong — twice.

Squires turned in a personal-best distance of 21 feet 3 3/4 inches, good enough for first place in the open long jump. He also flew to the finish line in 51.89 seconds to win the sophomore 400 final.

What was his motivation?

A clock.

The winners of open events were presented with specially designed clocks bearing the meet logo.

“I just wanted to get the clock, really,” Isreal said. “It looks pretty cool in the box.”

Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Fleming was seventh in the open discus with a throw of 123-6. A teammate, junior Keith Steinbrecher, won the 2,000-meter steeplechase novice race in 6:43.10.

Mattituck’s 5-foot-8 freshman, Darius Brew, set a personal record, clearing 6-0 to finish in a tie for fourth place in the high jump with North Babylon senior Kamar Marston-Mills. It didn’t hurt that Brew had a little luck on his side.

“I was very surprised because I went over and I kind of hit the bar and it moved, but I didn’t hit it enough to knock it over, so I got lucky, I guess,” he said.

In addition, Brew also took sixth place in the frosh-soph long jump, covering 18-6 3/4.

Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said, “He’s got a lot of talent.”

Brew acknowledged that 6-0 is a magical number for high school high jumpers. It means instant credibility.

“I wanted to achieve 6 feet, and I did it,” he said. “That number [means] you’re good and you have a chance to win.”

Another Mattituck freshman, Jack Dufton, didn’t do badly for himself, either. Dufton set personal records in the freshman 800 (13th place in 2:18.62) and the freshman 1,600 (21st in 5:04.41).

“There’s definitely a lot more competition here, so you’re running harder just because you play to the level of your competition,” Dufton said. “There’s a lot of schools here, a lot of good kids. It’s tough. I’m usually looking at the clock in that last 100 meters, just chasing the clock.”

Dufton said that helps him run faster. “That,” he said, “and Hansen screaming at you.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

04/20/12 7:45pm
04/20/2012 7:45 PM

MICHAEL GASPARINO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's Tyler Keys handing the baton to Ryan Udvadia for the final leg of the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay during Friday's League VII meet in Mount Sinai.

WILDCATS 90, MUSTANGS 57

Shoreham-Wading River improved to 4-0 in Suffolk County League VII boys track and field with a 90-57 victory over Mount Sinai Friday afternoon at Mount Sinai High School.

The Wildcats won 11 events, including all three relays, and took the top three positions in the 200 meters, the 1,600 and the 3,200.

Jordan Wright won the 100 in 10.9 seconds and the 200 in 23.5 seconds. John Lee won the 1,600 in 4:45 and the 3,200 in 10:59.1. Matt Leunig won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 1:03.4. Tyler Keys won the 800 in 2:12, Israel Squires took first in the 400 in 53.2 seconds, and Tom Sager placed first in the pole vault with a height of 12 feet 6 inches.

The Wildcats will continue their league season at Southampton High School on Monday.

06/05/11 12:21am
06/05/2011 12:21 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Jonah Speath was 11th in the pole vault at 12 feet 6 inches.

Soon after the biggest pole vaulting triumph of his young life, Ben Canellys made one of the most satisfying phone calls of his young life.

The Shoreham-Wading River High School senior placed a teasing call to a former member of the Wildcats’ boys track and field team, Mike Murphy, to pass along some news: Murphy no longer holds Shoreham’s pole vault record. That distinction now belongs to Canellys.

A version of this played out earlier this season when Canellys cleared 14 feet in practice. He called Murphy, who set the old school record of 13-10 four years ago, to tell him about it. Canellys said Murphy told him to call him back when he actually broke the record in a meet.

That day came on Friday.

Canellys prevailed over Miller Place junior Joseph Miceli in a jump-off to take first place in the Section XI Individual Championships/State Qualifier at Port Jefferson High School. Both pole vaulters had missed 14-0 on their first four attempts at that height. The bar was brought down to 13-9, which they both cleared, and then raised back to 14-0. After Miceli missed at that height again, Canellys didn’t waste the opportunity.

“As soon as he left the door open at 14 feet, I had to take it,” Canellys said. “It was a lot of pressure.”

With the victory, he qualified for the first time for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held Friday and Saturday at Caledonia-Mumford High School in Caledonia.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeff Pittman's long jump of 19 feet 4 1/2 inches left the Riverheader in 21st place.

“I kept telling [Murphy] since I was a freshman that I was going to beat his record, so it was nice to actually do it,” Canellys said. “He used to beat the [heck] out of me on a regular basis. I promised myself and Mike that I would do it. It’s just fulfilling something that I’ve been waiting four years for.”

Shoreham Coach Paul Anderson sees a similarity between Canellys and Murphy.

“They’re both pretty determined kids,” he said. “They competed with each other and they pushed each other a lot.”

Canellys, who will pole vault for SUNY/Geneseo next season, took up the event as a freshman, the same year Murphy made his record pole vault.

The pole vault is a rather unique event. It’s a complicated event. A crazy event. A humbling event.

Because a pole vaulter finishes a meet with three failed attempts, there is always that sense of coming up short. The way Anderson puts it is, “The bar always wins.”

Still, Canellys said the event is a good fit for him.

“It’s a challenge against you,” he said. “It also helps you keep your perspective. Think about it: At the end of the day, you’ve always fouled out three times. You’re always going home with three strikes. There’s always the next height, the next challenge, the next thing to do. There’s always that next thing pushing you on.”

Riverhead triple jumper Treval Hatcher pushed himself into the state outdoor meet for the first time on Saturday. Hatcher, a senior, recorded a personal-best distance of 46-11 1/4 that met the qualifying standard for the state meet. The only person who jumped further than him was Central Islip senior Ryan Satchell, who turned in a jump of 47-5. Those two finished in line with their seeding.

“I was consistent, and that’s a good sign,” Hatcher said. “I just want to go a little further. My best jumps, I was either behind the board or I was fouling.”

It’s quite an achievement for Hatcher, who injured his right ankle while playing basketball shortly before the state indoor meet this past winter. Although Hatcher competed in that indoor meet, he finished 14th at 43-7 1/4, well off his indoor best of 47-1.

But the ankle injury delayed Hatcher’s start to the spring season. When the outdoor practices began, he was limited to light jogging. He didn’t take on a full training regimen until the sixth week.

“It was a big deal what he did today,” Riverhead Coach Steve Gevinski said. “He looks awesome.”

A powerful jumper with an explosive takeoff, Hatcher hit the weight room hard the last two years, said Gevinski.

Hatcher said he didn’t achieve his goal of reaching the school record of 47-6 that was set by Bruce Giles over 40 years ago. He is encouraged, however, that he was a foot behind the board on his first jump of 46-11.

“I guess I’m going to have to get it this weekend upstate,” Hatcher said. “I definitely can get it.”

Shoreham high jumper Eric Anderson, a senior who is the son of the team’s coach, tied with Copiague sophomore Maurice Epps for fourth place. They both cleared 6-4.

In the 3,200 meters, Shoreham junior John Lee turned in a time of 9 minutes 29.51 seconds, bringing him fifth place.

bliepa@timesreview.com