11/07/12 8:00pm
11/07/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Dan Purschke leads the Wildcats into the state championship this weekend.

As runners from across Suffolk County ran the 3.1-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park Oct. 23, little did they know that a trip to the state championship was on the line.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the Section XI State Qualifier Nov. 2 at Sunken Meadow had to be postponed to Wednesday. Poor weather forced that to be canceled as a nor’easter ripped through the area.

So the qualifier had to be canceled as time ran out to hold the race before the state championship this weekend at Elma Meadows Park.

The only option left was to take the results from the division championship Oct. 23 to determine which teams would win the county titles.

That was good news for Shoreham-Wading River, the Division IV champs who are now headed to the state meet as Class B champions.

Led by junior Ryan Udvadia, who ran a superb time of 15 minutes 57.10 seconds, the Wildcats edged Bayport for the division title. The Phantoms were the team the Wildcats would have needed to beat again to win the county title in Class B.

The Wildcats will send their top seven runners to states, including senior Dan Purschke, sophomore Matt Gladysz, senior Joe Whelan, junior Keith Steinbrecher, senior Evan Purdy and junior Connor McAlary.

It’s the second straight year the Wildcats won the county title. Last year it took a tiebreaker to beat Harborfields.

McGann-Mercy will send one runner to the state meet. Junior Matt Abazis, who ran 18:28.4, also qualified for the state meet. The top five runners in each classification qualify in addition to the winning team, which sends seven runners. Mercy is a Class C school in cross country.

The Mattituck girls won the Class C county title for the first time since 2006 and the Tuckers will send seven runners to the state meet. For sophomore Kaylee Bergen and freshman Audrey Hoeg, it’ll be the second straight year running at states.

Bergen posted the top time for Mattituck at the division championship in 20:11.9, which was 15th fastest among all runners in the county. She was first in Division IV.

Junior Tara Gatz, eighth-grader Melanie Pfenning, freshman Mia Vasile-Cozzo, senior Sara Paparatto and Hallie Kujawski make up the rest of the Tuckers’ state-bound lineup.

The Southold boys also won the county crown in Class D. Sophomore Jonathan Rempe anchored Southold’s team at the division meet when he ran 18:38.10. He’ll be joined at the state meet by sophomore Gus Rymer, eighth-grader Owen Klipstein, sophomore Christopher Buono, junior Ian Toy, freshman Ronan Guyer and senior John Tomici.

Mercy will send two girls to the championship in Class C: Delina Auciello and Meg Tuthill. Auciello ran 20:32 at the division championship and Tuthill ran 21:05.5.

Southold, which won Class D last year, will send three girls to states: juniors Katie Connolly, Shannon Guyer and Justine Kundmueller.

joew@timesreview.com

11/03/12 10:09am
11/03/2012 10:09 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead field hockey team, including Danielle Napoli, will get a chance to play its playoff game Wednesday.

The high school sports season will resume Wednesday after more than a week off following Hurricane Sandy.

Here are the games scheduled for local teams:

Football

Saturday, Nov. 10

The Riverhead Blue Waves, seeded No. 2 in Division II, will host No. 7 Walt Whitman at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field at 2 p.m. Shoreham-Wading River, seeded No. 3 in Division IV, will host The Stony Brook School also at 2 p.m. And No. 5 McGann-Mercy in Division IV will play a 2 p.m. game at No. 4 Hampton Bays.

The football playoffs were all pushed back one week, so the county championships will be held over Thanksgiving weekend. The Long Island championships will now be pushed back into December.

Field Hockey

Wednesday, Nov. 7

The Riverhead girls, seeded 10th in Class A, will travel to No. 7 Centereach for a 2 p.m. game. The winner plays the next day at No. 2 East Islip. There’s one day off after the quarterfinals and then the semis and finals are on consecutive days.

No. 4 Shoreham-Wading River in Class B will host No. 5 Harborfields at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The winner plays at No. 1 Miller Place Friday.

Boys Soccer

Thursday, Nov. 8

Shoreham-Wading River, seeded 6th in Class B, will travel to No. 3 Eastport-South Manor at 2 p.m. The winner plays the next day against No. 2 East Hampton or No. 7 Miller Place.

Cross Country

Update (12:40 p.m.): The Section XI state qualifier meet is back at Sunken Meadow now  at 1 p.m. Wednesday as the park has been reopened. It had been changed to Sachem East High School, as this post originally stated earlier.

The top 10 teams in each class compete. If the meet gets canceled because of bad weather that may come in Wednesday, there will be no makeup. Results from the division championship will advance teams into the state meet.

Other sections around New York are in a similar situation.

11/01/12 12:26pm
11/01/2012 12:26 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead football team will not be starting the playoffs Saturday as playoff games across Suffolk County were postponed.

All high school sports in Suffolk County have been postponed through Saturday  — including football playoffs that were scheduled to begin Friday night, Section XI announced Thursday morning.

Exact dates for games are still to be determined and more information will be available Friday.

Many schools across the county are closed through the end of the week, making it nearly impossible to coordinate scheduling of any games. The first playoff games were originally to begin last Monday with field hockey. Riverhead was scheduled to play at Centereach as Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast.

The cross country county championship originally scheduled for Friday may have to be moved to a different location. Sunken Meadow State Park may not be accessible due to many down trees, according to an e-mail sent by Tony Toro, the cross country girls coordinator. Section XI will determine the date and location.

joew@timesreview.com

10/24/12 7:00am
10/24/2012 7:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTOS | Mercy junior Delina Auciello (left) and freshman Meg Tuthill finished third and fifth in the team qualifier race Tuesday at Sunken Meadow.

Delina Auciello and many of her track teammates at McGann-Mercy were already working out and training in late August. They figured they were preparing for the winter track season, which was still more than three months away.

Only a few weeks before the start of the school year did they learn that Mercy had brought back a cross country program.

“We were running over the summer,” Auciello said. “Our coach gave us schedules from track. But we found out the last few weeks and everyone was like, Yeah!”

The newest team on the block has been turning heads all year, especially Auciello, a junior running her first season of cross country. At the Section XI Division Championship Tuesday, Auciello ran an impressive time of 20 minutes 32 seconds over the five-kilometer course at Sunken Meadow State Park.

The Monarchs ran in the team qualifier race (the top two teams in each league ran in the championship race) and Auciello finished third out of 179 runners. Her time would have been good enough for third place in Division IV of the championship race.

It was her best time by more than 25 seconds.

“My coach really wanted me to win, but I’m fine with third place,” Auciello said. “I’m so happy about what I did. By the end of the season I want to at least get down to 19′s.”

Auciello began the season running in the mid-21′s.

“I PR’d at every race, which is all I could ask for,” she said.

Her teammate, freshman Meg Tuthill, wasn’t far behind. She finished fifth in the team qualifier race in 21:05.5.

An outstanding distance runner during the track season last year, Tuthill also got her first taste of cross country this fall.

“I was really excited,” Tuthill said about the chance to run cross country. “I just knew it would make me a better runner for track.”

Her times have improved by about two minutes from the beginning of the season, she said. One of the biggest challenges she faced was learning how to run downhill.

“I’m afraid I’m going to fall so I slow myself down,” she said.

Running uphill, however, was less of an issue. “I think I like running uphill,” she said, a statement rarely before uttered in human history.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mercy senior Patrick Derenze ran a personal best time Tuesday of 19:45.2.

Junior Jen Perugi ran 24:22.6 and senior Courtney Walsh ran 25:58.4.

On the boys side junior Matt Abazis posted the top time for Mercy in 18:28.4. He finished 34th overall in the team qualifier race.

Abazis said he started cross country to help train for track. But he found cross country might be his calling.

“After doing the season I think this became my more prominent sport,” he said.

All the runners said a big part of the success this season was the closeness between everyone. Neither the boys or girls had many runners, but they trained together and formed a close bond.

“I don’t know what it is about cross country, but I feel like the team was a lost closer than the track season,” Abazis said.

Auciello said: “We’re so small, but we’re so close.”

Abazis noted how while the small team has brought them together, the lack of depth has also been their biggest weakness.

“It’s a weird tradeoff,” he said.

Mercy senior Patrick Derenze ran the second-fastest time for the boys with a personal best of 19:45.2. Like many other runners, he joined cross country as a means to train for track.

“I want to run in college, so I was trying to build for my track performance later in the year,” he said.

Mercy coach Tricia Nunez said a goal this season was to teach the kids to run their own race.

“Now it’s toward the end of the season and I think they have a good feel for the course,” she said. “It’s like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

joew@timesreview.com

10/23/12 6:31pm
10/23/2012 6:31 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia (454) at the front of the pack for the start of Tuesday’s championship race at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski has seen just about everything during his long tenure as the boys cross country coach.

But two sub-16 minute times at Sunken Meadow State Park?

Well, that’s about a once-a-decade kind of achievement.

Shoreham junior Ryan Udvadia ran personal record time of 15 minutes 57.1 seconds Tuesday afternoon at the Section XI Division Championship. It was a superb time that landed him the top spot in Division IV by more than a minute.

Amazingly, however, it still wasn’t the best time of the day.

Northport sophomore Mike Branigan narrowly edged Udvadia for the best time by running 15:56.3. Udvadia held a slight lead on Branigan as they raced down the final straightaway before Branigan found an extra kick with about 20 meters to go.

“I got near the finish and I started to kick,” Udvadia said. “I thought I had him.”

While Udvadia was disappointed in finishing second overall, Szymanski was thrilled to see him run such a fast time, even if it meant second place.

“This is one of the great races at Sunken Meadow,” Szymanski said.

In almost any other year, Udvadia would have been a winner by a wide margin. Only three runners have ran under 16 minutes at a division meet at Sunken Meadow since 1998 before Tuesday.

In 2004 two runners both ran under 16 minutes at the division championship when Kevin Tschirhart of Northport clocked in at 15:46.6 and Ryan Sheridan of Walt Whitman followed in 15:47.0.

The championship race at Sunken Meadow features the top two teams from each league. As the runners come across, the results are divided into four divisions. So the Wildcats ended up winning Division IV for the fifth time in the last six years.

It came down to Shoreham and Bayport-Blue Point. The Phantoms had the second and third runners behind Udvadia. But the Wildcats grabbed fourth and fifth behind senior Dan Purschke (17:22.4) and sophomore Matt Gladysz (17:28.9). Senior Joe Whelan (17:39.8) and junior Keith Steinbrecher (17:55.7) rounded out the top five for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats tallied 28 points to Bayport’s 37.

Shoreham narrowly edged Bayport in the first dual meet of the season, which propelled the Wildcats to an undefeated League VII title. Bayport will again be the team that stands in the way of the Wildcats winning the Class B county title, which would allow the entire team to head to the state championship.

Szymanski said the way Shoreham beat Bayport Tuesday, “it could psyche them out,” come the county championship. Although in that race, it’ll be a different makeup.

“You won’t see all these bodies in front,” Szymanski said, noting that it’ll basically be the two teams racing against each other in what will be the Class B-C-D championship.

Szymanski said Udvadia is a great hill runner, which makes Sunken Meadow an ideal course for him with its infamous ‘cardiac’ hill.

“He’s probably the best hill runner here,” Szymanski said. “If you saw the race, you don’t see him most of the time. He’s fourth, fifth. So when he came out someone said, ‘Look, it’s Udvadia!’ And I said I told you, he’ll be there, no worse than third.”

Branigan is a standout 1,600-meter runner in track, giving him better leg speed than Udvadia.

Szymanski said the only mistake Udvadia made was giving Branigan too much room going into the cardiac hill.

“You made up 25 meters and he beat you by a second,” Szymanski told him. “If you’re 10 yards closer, you win that race.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan ran 17:13.7 to finish sixth in Division II Tuesday.

Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan ran a personal best time of 17:13.7 to finish in sixth place in Division II. He’ll get a chance to compete next week at the state qualifier.

Coming into the race Galvan hoped to break 17 minutes. But he was still happy to shave two seconds off his previous best.

“My last PR before this was 17:29 and then I dropped it to 17:15 a week ago,” he said. “I knew if I wanted to get into guaranteed states I’d have to do it again by 15 [seconds]. But at least I PR’d and I’m into all-league, all-county.”

Riverhead coach Patrick Burke said Galvan has been improving his time every race since his sophomore season.

“I’m really proud of him,” Burke said. “As a coach he’s everything you ever wanted. I just feel for him that he didn’t meet his goal in his mind. If you PR every single race, you can’t do more than that.”

Galvan has been a two-time captain for the Blue Waves, who went 3-2 in League IV dual meets putting them in a three-way tie for second place.

In a competitive championship race that features the top runners in the county, it can create a crowded race. Galvan said he prefers it that way.

“You always have someone to stick next to you,” he said. “Someone’s always trying to pass you. You just latch on to someone and you’ll be fine.”

Galvan started the race near several Walt Whitman runners, who he met during the summer at a camp.

“I tried to stick with them, but I know they’re a lot better than me,” he said. “So I’m like, if I lose them, I lose them. But at least I have them in sight.”

Riverhead junior Joseph Gattuso ran the next fastest time for the Blue Waves in 19:02.9. He was 21st overall in Division II.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman ran 20:32.5 in the championship race Tuesday.

The Shoreham-Wading River girls competed in the team championship race and freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman posted the top time in 20:32.5 for 10th in Division III.

Four of Shoreham’s top five runners were in 10th grade or younger. Eighth-grader Ali Hays ran 21:32.3 and sophomore Maddy Kelly ran 21:59.0, which was the first time she cracked 22 minutes, Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki said.

The Wildcats had a strong league season, going 4-1 and losing only to Miller Place, the Division III champion.

Looking ahead to the state qualifier, Ohrtman will have the best chance to qualify for the state meet. The top five in each class go the states in addition to the winning team.

“She’s probably sitting fifth, sixth now in the B’s,” Koretzki said.

The Riverhead girls ran in the team qualifier race. Junior Rachel Conti posted the top time in 22:36. She was 28th overall in a race of 179 runners.

“She’s a top athlete in track and this is her first year [running cross country],” Burke said. “I told her it’s a mental game. They don’t understand that cross country is a completely different animal.”

The Blue Waves have a young team, which could be primed for big things next year, Burke said.

“We’re going to be focused next year on putting the girls team on the map,” he said. “I’ve said that before, but I really feel we finally have a commitment.”

joew@timesreview.com

10/23/12 12:00pm

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Ryan Udvadia leads Shoreham-Wading River into the division championship today.

After an undefeated dual meet season in League VII, the Shoreham-Wading River boys cross country team will race against the top teams in the county this afternoon at the Section XI Division Championship at Sunken Meadow State Park.

The top two teams in each league, plus four at-large teams, make up the main championship race. An overall winner is declared, as well as for each of the four divisions.

Shoreham has won Division IV in four of the last five years, including last season.

For teams that didn’t qualify for the championship race, they compete in the team qualifier race.

Be sure to check back tonight for a full recap with results from all local teams.

09/20/12 8:00pm
09/20/2012 8:00 PM

BILL LANDON FILE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy freshman Meg Tuthill ran indoor and outdoor track last season and will now run for the newly formed cross country team.

For a school that prides itself on its track and field program, which for the girls has become a consistent league champion in recent years during the spring, McGann-Mercy was missing a key part of developing runners: cross country teams.

That is until now.

Mercy reintroduced cross country for both boys and girls this fall for the first time in several years.

“Mercy is known as a running school,” said coach Tricia Nunez. “That’s what we do and we do it well. So it seemed logical to add cross country back.”

Nunez is coaching both teams, which have started off small in the first year. The Monarchs have 14 runners total between the two teams.

“It’s quite small right now, but that’s fine,” Nunez said. “You start small and then you build off the momentum.”

The Monarchs may be new to cross country, but they begin the season with some strong runners. For the girls, junior Delina Auciello and freshman Meg Tuthill are the top two runners. Both girls were two of Mercy’s top runners in the track season last year. Auciello was third at the Division III championship last spring in the 800-meter run. Tuthill was Mercy’s top distance runner in the 1,500 and 3,000.

“The first two meets we had the girls ran beautifully,” Nunez said.

The Mercy girls opened the season with a 21-34 dual meet victory over Port Jefferson, the team that has become their biggest rival in track and field.

Nunez said her team got a warm welcome from Port Jefferson coach Don Slingerland.

“He’s one of the nicest and most knowledgeable coaches out there,” she said.

The girls also ran at the Peconic Invitational at Red Creek Park last week and finished fifth as a team. Auciello ran 21 minutes 15.47 seconds for second overall. Tuthill was ninth in 22:42.26.

Seniors Jen Perugi and Courtney Walsh were next, followed by juniors Francesca Vaccari and Carrie Gehring.

The boys are led by junior Matt Abazis and senior Patrick Derenze. Abazis posted Mercy’s top finish at the Peconic Invitational in 20:09.06 for 12th overall. Derenze was 22nd in 20:46.36. Freshman Daniel Dern, junior Elijah Louis and sophomores Brandon Perez and Jake Gardner were the next to cross the finish line for Mercy.

Nunez said the addition of cross country will only help the winter and spring track teams improve.

“The kids are coming in with such a strong base off of cross country where before many of them didn’t have a sport or were doing soccer, which is great for that initial burst of speed, but this is the best training,” she said. “If you can get athletes that are running year round, there’s nothing better than that.”

Next year Nunez hopes the team will grow even more. Students had a bit of short notice for cross country this year, which contributed to some low numbers to start.

joew@timesreview.com

09/19/12 9:00pm
09/19/2012 9:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman will be the Wildcats’ top runner this season.

At this time last year, in her first season running varsity cross country, Shoreham-Wading River’s Kaitlyn Ohrtman would clock in on the plus side of 21 minutes. As the season progressed, the eighth-grader continued dropping her time, emerging as one of the Wildcats’ top runners.

Now as a freshman, Ohrtman comes into the season as the Wildcats’ No. 1 runner. She’s already gotten off to a strong start, finishing 10th overall Saturday at the Suffern Invitational at Bear Mountain State Park. She ran the three-mile course in 19:51.45 as the Wildcats finished sixth as a team.

Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki said the Wildcats are still young this year but have a lot of strong runners. The Wildcats lost their first dual meet to Miller Place, but the Panthers will likely be in contention for the county title.

“We got a shot at the rest of the people,” Koretzki said. “Our goal is to make the county championship race and see what happens there.”

Sophomore Rose Andrews returns for the Wildcats. She finished 34th overall at the Suffern Invitational in 21:04.45.

Senior Laura Lee is one of the few upperclassmen among the Wildcats’ top runners. Sophomore Maddy Kelly and eighth-grader Ali Hays will both be key runners this year for Shoreham. Hays was Shoreham’s fifth runner across the finish line Saturday.

The team will also rely on seniors Claire and Laura Shanklin and Anya Uzo.

The Wildcats will run this weekend in the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Riverhead girls assistant coach Christy Salerno couldn’t believe the number of girls who came out for the cross country team this season.

“The team doubled in size,” the second-year coach said.

The Blue Waves benefitted from several track runners deciding to run cross country this season. Salerno said the track coaches suggested to many of the girls that they run year round and use cross country as preparation for the winter and spring seasons.

The Blue Waves had a young team last year and just about all the girls are back this season. Salerno, who takes the lead with the girls team while head coach Pat Burke focuses on the boys, said the commitment from the runners over the summer was outstanding.

Junior Rachel Conti and freshman Megan Van Bommel are two of the track runners who will be running cross country. The two ran together on the 4 x 800 relay team last winter that won the League III title.

Sophomore Maurinne Sullivan returns for the Blue Waves after a strong season last year. She was one of three runners to compete in the team qualifier race at the division championship last year.

Freshman Megan Carrick should be another key runner.

The Blue Waves lost their first League IV dual meet to Bellport, 22-37. Salerno said the team’s goal is to win a few dual meets and for each girl to continue hitting her personal best times.

“I’ve never seen such team spirit,” Salerno said. “The girls are always cheering each other on.”

joew@timesreview.com