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11/25/16 5:57am
11/25/2016 5:57 AM

Bishop-McGann-Mercy-runner-Ryan-Razzano-112216-copy

Different? Oh, yes. Running is much different in track and field than in football. For one thing, no one’s trying to hit you.

As a quarterback for the Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School football team, Ryan Razzano was running to avoid being hit by 300-pound linemen. On the track, he is running to beat the clock.
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03/07/15 1:00pm
03/07/2015 1:00 PM
Riverhead senior Jacob Robinson was among the best track and field athletes in New York State to compete in Cornell University's Barton Hall on Saturday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

Riverhead senior Jacob Robinson was among the best track and field athletes in New York State to compete in Cornell University’s Barton Hall on Saturday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

NYSPHSAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Last winter Jacob Robinson described the experience of running in his first indoor state track and field meet as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. He could have amended that on Saturday to a “twice-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

For the second year in a row, Robinson made it to the awards podium, where he stood with a pair of third-place medals (one for the state public schools and one for the federation) dangling around his neck. For the second year in a row, the Riverhead senior ran the 200-meter leg for a third-place intersectional medley-relay team. (more…)

03/06/15 3:00pm
03/06/2015 3:00 PM
Jacob Robinson and his headband will be part of Section XI's distance-medley relay team. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Jacob Robinson and his headband will be part of Section XI’s distance-medley relay team. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

The fastest-moving headband in Riverhead High School these days belongs to Jacob Robinson.

Robinson has an affable way about him, with a friendly face and a pleasant demeanor to match. When he is on the track, the senior sprinter can be found wearing his trademark white headband. The headband has become as much a part of his persona as his blistering speed and his insatiable desire to run faster. (more…)

02/22/15 7:06pm
02/22/2015 7:06 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Matt Gladysz finished sixth in the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes 40.13 seconds. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Matt Gladysz finished sixth in the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes 40.13 seconds. (Credit: Garret Meade)

LONG ISLAND ELITE TRACK INVITATIONAL

Jacob Robinson walked out of St. Anthony’s High School with a couple of well-earned plaques in his hand on Sunday afternoon. The Riverhead High School senior was involved in a pair of fourth-place finishes in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational.

Robinson, wearing his trademark white headband, clocked a time of 36.31 seconds in the 300-meter dash. The only faster times among the 31 competitors were turned in by Luke Germanakos of Lynbrook (35.17), Kyle Watkins of Longwood (35.75) and Kory Fitzgerald of Half Hollow Hills West (36.10). They are all seniors. Bishop McGann-Mercy junior Dale Kelly came in sixth in 36.47. (more…)

03/01/14 6:54pm
03/01/2014 6:54 PM
Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson picked up a medal as a member of Section XI’s third-place distance-medley relay team. (Credit: Bill Hedges)

Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson picked up a medal as a member of Section XI’s third-place distance-medley relay team. (Credit: Bill Hedges)

NYSPHSAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

If ever there was a mystery event in high school boys winter track, it is the distance-medley relay.

In the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships, each section sends out a team usually consisting of runners from four different schools who have never run in a meet together. Each runner runs a different distance than his teammates.

The event is not usually run during the rest of the season, and with no previous results to refer to, which team will win is anybody’s guess. Even the runners themselves aren’t sure whether they are headed for a first-place finish — or dead last. (more…)

02/21/14 5:55pm
02/21/2014 5:55 PM
Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson clocked a personal-record time of 37.10 seconds to finish seventh in the 300-meter dash at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational. (Robert O'Rourk photo)

Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson clocked a personal-record time of 37.10 seconds to finish seventh in the 300-meter dash at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational. (Robert O’Rourk photo)

LONG ISLAND ELITE TRACK INVITATIONAL

Charles Villa, the standout Riverhead High School pole vaulter who thrills spectators by rising to greater and greater heights, made hearts sink on Friday. And it had nothing to do with his performance.

Villa, a senior preparing for his first state indoor track and field meet, saw his day come to an unexpectedly early end. While doing a so-called “short-step warmup” before the pole vaulting competition began in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School, Villa’s left ankle landed awkwardly in an opening in the mat and he went down in pain. (more…)

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.”

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