04/17/15 6:48pm
04/17/2015 6:48 PM
Riverhead sprinter Jacob Robinson, seated next to family friend Patrick Harris, signed to accept a scholarship from Merrimack College (Mass.). Standing, from left, are Riverhead assistant coach Will Razzano and the school's indoor and outdoor coaches, Sal Loverde and Steve Gevinski. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

Riverhead sprinter Jacob Robinson, seated next to family friend Patrick Harris, signed to accept a scholarship from Merrimack College (Mass.). Standing, from left, are Riverhead assistant coach Will Razzano and the school’s indoor and outdoor coaches, Sal Loverde and Steve Gevinski. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

Not long after he had joined the Riverhead High School boys track and field team four years ago and discovered he had a talent for running fast, Jacob Robinson got into the habit after a race of asking the school’s winter coach, Sal Loverde, if he had run fast.

Loverde recalled, “He would just give me the look, you know, the Jacob look, and I would say: ‘No, you’re not fast yet. I’ll tell you when you’re fast.’ ”

And so it went over recent years. Then, one day this past winter, Robinson ran the 300 meters in a school record time of 35.52 seconds at The Armory in New York City. He gave Loverde that familiar look, as if to say, “So, what do you think?”

Loverde couldn’t deny what he had seen and had to concede, “Alright, maybe you’re fast now.” (more…)

03/26/15 5:00pm
03/26/2015 5:00 PM
Senior sprinter Jacob Robinson and his Riverhead teammates will face a lot of new compettion in League III. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk, file)

Senior sprinter Jacob Robinson and his Riverhead teammates will face a lot of new competition in League III. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

PREVIEW

The 2014 Suffolk County League IV boys track and field championship came down to one event, the final event in the final dual meet of the season between East Islip and Riverhead.

“Heartbreaker, man,” said Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski, recalling the painful memory.

East Islip defeated Riverhead in that final event, the 4×100-meter relay, and with it took the league title.

(more…)

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…)

05/31/14 12:45am
Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa clearing 14 feet en route to his triumph Friday at Port Jefferson High School. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa clearing 14 feet en route to his triumph Friday at Port Jefferson High School. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/STATE QUALIFIER

Strange as it may sound for the greatest pole vaulter in Riverhead High School history, but Charles Villa may have been suffering a crisis of confidence recently. His coaches noticed it.

One of those coaches, Jim Henderson, then provided the few words that Villa needed to hear. As Villa related, Henderson told him: “You got to stop being mental. You’re the best one here, so act like it, so jump like it.”

And, just like that, confidence was restored. (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…)

05/01/14 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…)

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.