03/09/11 11:31am
03/09/2011 11:31 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Kashaun Boynton reached the 55-meter high hurdles semifinals in the state meet before encountering misfortune.

None of the three Riverhead High School athletes took home medals from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys winter track championships this past weekend, but Coach Sal Loverde felt the competition was invaluable for Treval Hatcher, Kashaun Boynton and Jonah Spaeth.

“It was O.K.,” Loverde said. “It wasn’t our greatest day.

“It was a great experience. I know all of them would have preferred different results. We were happy with their competitive edge. It was a real, real good indoor track season for Riverhead. We’re very happy about that.”

But the state meet also was a frustrating one for the Blue Waves trio at Cornell University’s Barton Hall in Ithaca.

Hatcher, a senior, could second that. The senior enjoyed the best Riverhead finish, taking 14th place in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet 7 1/4 inches. That was considerably less than his personal indoor best of 47-1.

“He did have a great try,” Loverde said. “He was on the board, off the board. He was upset with that. His ankle was a little bit sore. I don’t know if that played into that.”

Loverde said he would not be surprised if Hatcher reaches 48 feet in the spring.

Boynton, a junior, reached the semifinals of the 55-meter high hurdles with a personal-best time of 7.83 seconds. But then he had problems with several false starts by the starter, which could affect the competitors’ concentration.

“The starter, from my perspective, wasn’t very good,” Loverde said. “I haven’t seen so many false starts in my career.”

Boynton hit the first hurdle and did not finish the race.

“He was upset,” Loverde said. “I tried to explain to him that ‘You got to the semifinals.’ His earlier time would have put him on the podium, since fifth and sixth places finished in 7.85 and 7.89.

“He was a little discouraged by that.”

But Loverde said he sees big things ahead for Boynton.

“Here is a junior who catapulted to the next level of hurdling,” he said. “He won the county championship and qualified for the states. He had a phenomenal year.

“One of the things about Kashaun is that he is an athlete who doesn’t want to lose. He gets really prepared. It’s one of those great competitive spirits that he has.”

Loverde realized that the pole vault would be a challenge for Spaeth since the opening height at the meet was 12 feet. The sophomore’s season-best height was 11 feet.

“It was tough,” Loverde said.

Spaeth came very close to clearing the bar without incident.

“He was over it,” Loverde said. “He just nicked it going down.”

Loverde reiterated that Spaeth is a 10th grader. “He will be coming back with greater confidence next year,” he said.

And probably for the spring season as well because Spaeth will able to practice the pole vault every day as opposed to twice a week in the winter.

02/12/11 4:33pm
02/12/2011 4:33 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Kashaun Boynton, left, and Northport senior Lucas Hoffmann competed in the 55-meter hurdles. Boynton won in a personal-best time of 7.85 seconds.

BRENTWOOD — Kashaun Boynton might have been the last person in the Suffolk County Community College West gym on Saturday to find out who finished first in the 55-meter hurdles in the Suffolk County individual championships/state qualifier. After all, the participants don’t have the luxury of time to look around during the furious dash down the track to see who is leading. So, it wasn’t until after the race, when Boynton saw the number 1 flashed next to his name on the scoreboard, that the Riverhead High School junior knew he was a county champion.

“When I saw that, I really want to tell you, I just wanted to cry tears of joy,” said Boynton.

The smile on his face and the excitement in his voice were evidence enough that Boynton was on cloud nine. And why shouldn’t he be? Along with his county title and championship plaque comes an invitation to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held at Cornell University in Ithaca on March 5.

For Boynton, who has never been to a state meet before, it is literally a dream come true. As the No. 4 seed, he said he didn’t expect to be headed upstate. “I didn’t look at it that way,” he said. “I looked at it more like a fantasy, a daydream.”

Now he knows that dreams come true sometimes.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Treval Hatcher qualified for the state meet for the second year in a row, coming in second in the triple jump at 45 feet 9 inches.

Boynton will be joined in the state meet by two teammates, senior Treval Hatcher, who was second in the triple jump at 45 feet 9 inches on Saturday, and sophomore Jonah Spaeth, who took second in the pole vault by clearing 11-0 earlier in the week.

Boynton secured his place in the state meet by virtue of his triumph in a personal-best time of 7.85 seconds. The victory did not come without some bloodshed on Boynton’s part, though. Boynton’s right index and middle fingers were both bandaged after the race. He said they were cut when Tyriek Johnson of Huntington made contact with them with his fingernails during the race.

Although Boynton said he was nervous at the starting line, he shot out like a rocket and that quick start sent him on the way to the victory. Johnson was second, 2/100ths of a second behind Boynton, and Lucas Hoffmann of Northport was third in 7.96.

Boynton had equaled his previous personal-best time earlier in the day when he won his preliminary heat in 7.88.

“His technique over the hurdles has always been exemplary,” Riverhead Coach Sal Loverde said. “We fine-tuned that a little, but the most significant thing that allowed him to beat everybody … was his getting out of the blocks and having a quick step out of the blocks. I believe this race was over by the fourth step because he got out really good, and he’s fast.”

At 5-foot-8, Boynton doesn’t have height on his side, and he sometimes bangs a foot on the hurdles. What he does have in his favor, though, are speed and technique, not to mention a passion for hurdling.

“I’m in love with the hurdles,” said Boynton, who is in his fifth year competing in the event. “I think [the] hurdles is one of the hardest events there is. One mess-up, one slip, it’s done.”

The triple jump can be unforgiving in that way, too. Hatcher, the No. 2 seed, put a little more pressure on himself by fouling on his first attempt in the preliminaries. He did qualify for the finals, though, and recorded distances of 44-1 and 44-2, saving his best of the day for last, a 45-9.

“It was a little bit of pressure,” Hatcher said. “I got a jump [of] just enough to make finals, and my steps were still messed up, but I came in second.”

Hatcher will be making his second straight appearance in the state meet in as many years. He finished behind Ryan Satchell of Central Islip (45-10 1/4).

“It’s a phenomenal achievement,” Loverde said. “He’s a real powerful athlete. He’s a tremendous leader in our program.”

Hatcher qualified despite regularly leaping two to three feet behind the board, giving away distance that would have taken him closer to his personal-best mark of 47-1.

“So, he had big jumps,” Loverde said. “He just couldn’t get himself positioned correctly, and that’s O.K. That happens.”

So does controversy. Another Riverhead triple jumper, Kevin Williams, had to compete in running shoes he uses for training after he was told he couldn’t compete with his regular triple jumping shoes. Loverde said “track police” had ruled about 10 minutes before the competition that hard plastic on the bottom of Williams’ sneakers would damage the track.

Williams then changed to his running shoes and took about a dozen warmup run-throughs in an attempt to adjust to them. Loverde said the change in footwear altered Williams’ whole approach.

“It was just a rough deal,” the coach said. “It was really an injustice to him, and he needs to be recognized as the champion that he is. And he didn’t complain, he didn’t pout. He went and tried to do the best that he can.”

A somber Williams said the loss of his regular shoes probably cost him about four feet. “I went out there, and I know I gave it my all,” he said. “It just wasn’t enough.”


02/08/11 1:16pm
02/08/2011 1:16 PM

After his high school boys winter track team’s performance in the Suffolk County Large Schools Championships on Saturday, Riverhead Coach Sal Loverde is hopeful of sending at least two athletes to the state championships.

Loverde is optimistic after strong first-place finishes by senior Treval Hatcher and junior Kashaun Boynton led the Blue Waves to a seventh-place showing at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

The Blue Waves will return to Suffolk West for the state qualifiers on Saturday. The state meet is scheduled for Cornell University in Ithaca on March 5.

“We feel we can send at least two athletes to the states,” Loverde said. “That’s pretty exciting.

“We’re poised to have a solid state qualifying meet.”

As a team, the Blue Waves (24 points) finished four points behind sixth-place Connetquot. Longwood (86) won the meet.

“We were pleased with the way things went,” Loverde said. “With a few jumps here and a little something, we’re sitting fourth or third. It’s a comfortable position to be in.”

Hatcher grabbed first-place honors in the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet, 6 inches. He also finished 17th in the long jump at 19-11.

“He’s pretty pumped up about his situation,” Loverde said.

Boynton won the 55-meter high hurdles in 7.88 seconds, defeating Northport’s Lucas Hoffman (third), who finished ahead of him at the Stanner Games last month. Boynton also took 12th in the 55-meter dash in 6.89.

“He did a fine job,” Loverde said. “If he takes, first, second or third at the qualifiers, he will be a candidate to go upstate, which is wonderful.”

Hatcher and Boynton teamed to help the Blue Waves to a ninth-place showing in the 4×200-meter relay team. The quartet, which included junior Kevin Williams and sophomore Jeffrey Pittman, was clocked in 1:38.46.

Pittman stood out individually, earning fourth in the long jump with a leap of 20-2. He also placed 20th in the 300 with a clocking of 39.01.

Freshman Clifton Russell finished a strong seventh in the long jump at 19-10 1/2.

Loverde noted that Pittman and Russell are underclassmen, so there is much more room for growth. “That’s pretty exciting to have that situation going on,” he said.

Williams took eighth in both the 600 (1:27.24) and the triple jump (44-1 3/4) and senior Danny DeCabia added a 10th-place showing in the shot put with a throw of 43-11.

Loverde said Williams will focus on the triple jump in the qualifiers. “It’s pretty hard to compete with both events going on at the same time,” Loverde said. “He is seeded third [in the triple jump] in the county. He could go upstate as well.”

In other results:

Senior Rob Mullen (4:52) and sophomore Anthony Galvan (4:59.6) took 16th and 17th, respectively, for Riverhead in the 1,600. Another Riverhead senior, Alex Liquori, finished 19th in the shot put at 43-7.

Riverhead was ninth in the 4×400 relay in 3:58.59 behind seniors Michel Beierle and Mullen, junior Sebastian Jakubiuk and sophomore Brian Fungfeld.

The Blue Waves started preparing for the qualifiers Monday with a special program. “We have a pretty solid game plan,” Loverde said. “These kids will be ready to compete.”
Bishop McGann-Mercy did not record any points in the small schools championships. The Monarchs’ 4×200 relay team took ninth in 1:45.54. Their 4×400 team was 10th in 4:01.25.

02/01/11 10:12am
02/01/2011 10:12 AM

If one athlete typified Riverhead’s performance in the Suffolk County League III boys winter track championships on Saturday, it was junior Kevin Williams. Only a minute after finishing third in the 600-meter run and cooling off, a tired Williams not only competed in the triple jump, but he took second place with a leap of 40 feet 1/2 inch.

And that was after fouling on his first two attempts.

“That was literally done with no legs,” Coach Sal Loverde said. “He was panting from the 600. He had a minute of cool time. He gutted out a performance. That’s what champions do.

“He amped up. He has a great attitude and that’s reflective of the team.”

In the 600, Williams was clocked in 1 minute 27.7 seconds.

“He was two meters from winning it,” Loverde said. “Everybody was shocked. I don’t think anyone expected him to be in the mix.”

Then again, Loverde did not expect his team to score so many points — 60.5 — at Suffolk County Community College West in Brentwood. Half Hollow Hills West (104) finished first and Smithtown West (84) second.

“I anticipated us to score in the lower 50s,” Loverde said. “A half an inch here and there and we might have exceeded it. … Everybody who stepped up to the plate had a terrific meet.

“We had a really, really phenomenal performance.”

Williams, however, was far from a one-man show.

o Junior Kashaun Boynton captured first-place honors in the 55-meter high hurdles in an even 8.0 seconds and was fourth in the 55-meter run in 6.89, which Loverde called “a terrific time.”

o Senior Treval Hatcher won the gold medal in the triple jump in 46-9 1/2 and added a fourth-place finish in the long jump at 19-4. “We’re very proud of him,” Loverde said.

o Freshman Clifton Russell took second in the long jump at 19-10 1/2.

o Sophomore Jeffrey Pittman finished sixth in the 300 in 39.01. “He’s only a 10th-grader, so we’re looking for big things out of him,” said Loverde. Pittman also leaped 18-10 in the long jump. “He fouled by half a toe,” Loverde said. “He could have won it with that leap.”

o Senior Rob Mullen earned sixth place in the 1,600 in 4:53.5. Sophomore Anthony Galvan was not among the leaders in the event, but he broke the five-minute barrier for the first time in 4:59.6.

o Senior Jeremy Warner placed among the top finishers in the two-mile run with a time of 10:42 that was 23 seconds off his previous personal best.

In the 4 x 200-meter relay, the quartet of Williams, Pittman, Hatcher and Boynton finished second in 1:38.54.

“They surprised everybody and took second, which was a great achievement for them,” said Loverde,

So, it should not be surprising that Loverde is optimistic entering the county large school championships at Suffolk West on Friday night. “When kids are moving the bar up each week, it means they’re doing the right things at practice,” he said. “They know it and feel good about it.”

In the League V Championships, Bishop McGann-Mercy (nine) finished eighth, but Coach Matt Perry said he was “very happy because it’s our first year in winter track. I couldn’t ask for more from the team.”

McGann-Mercy had a pair of fourth-place finishers — Tom Kretz in the long jump (19-9 1/2) and John DeSuno (40-1/2) in the shot put. Perry said he was happy to see DeSuno competing at all after he suffered a swollen ankle a month ago.

Damian Duda, Sean Cappiello and Matt Stetler did not place in the money, but Perry was impressed that each runner improved by five seconds apiece.

01/19/11 10:25am
01/19/2011 10:25 AM

Whether it was finishing in the money, breaking school records or reaching personal bests, the Riverhead High School boys winter track coach, Sal Loverde, admits he could not have asked for anything more from his team at two meets on Saturday.

“We definitely did what we hoped for,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been training for. … We feel we’re poised to be where we want to be.

“We’re glad they’re moving in the right direction. They’re starting to see distances improve and times go down. It gives them confidence. We’re pleased with that.”

With league and county championships and state qualifiers right around the corner, the Blue Waves’ timing could not be any better.

Senior Treval Hatcher led the parade by winning the triple jump in the Stanner Games at the The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City. He broke his school indoor track record for the second time this season. Hatcher had a leap of 47 feet 1 inch, the best long jump by a Suffolk County athlete this year.

“That’s a real serious jump,” Loverde said. “It’s early, too. This could be a very exciting experience for him.”

Sophomore Kashaun Boynton finished second in the 55-meter high hurdles in 7.94 seconds, another school record. He also finished 21st in the 55 meters in 6.92.

“We’re kind of happy about that,” Loverde said.

Junior Kevin Williams broke yet another school track record as he was timed in 1:27.42 in the 600, four seconds off the mark.

Riverhead’s 4 x 200 relay team took 27th in 1:38.71, which Loverde said was “a great time for us. I look forward to that getting lower to put us in a competitive situation.” The quartet included Boynton, Hatcher, Williams and Shakeem Ramos.

In a freshman-sophomore meet at Suffolk County Community College West on Saturday, several Blue Waves also distinguished themselves.

Clifton Russell captured the freshman long jump at 19-2, and he ran a 1:41.5 in the 600 run. “We’re very pleased with that,” Loverde said.

Freshman Marcus Moore finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 35-10. “It’s exciting for a young kid,” said Loverde, who commuted between both meets. “It’s complicated to learn, but he did a fine job.”

Matthew Pittman might have endured the most frustrating experience of the day. He earned a third-place finish in the sophomore long jump at 18-9. But Pittman could have won the event with a leap of around 20 feet, Loverde said, but one of his fingers touched the sand, pushing his distance back.

Other encouraging results included sophomore Eddie Weston at 43.0 in the 300 and sophomore Anthony Galvan, who ran a 5:09 mile. Loverde said it was “a heat that he wasn’t pressed very much. If he was, he could have broke five minutes.”

If Galvan follows suit along with the rest of his teammates in improving their times and distances, a five-minute mile will be history soon enough.