03/25/14 8:17pm
03/25/2014 8:17 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Courtney Clasen, left, leaned forward at the finish line to nip Mattituck's Desirae Hubbard in the 100 meters. (Credit: Garret Meade).

Shoreham-Wading River’s Courtney Clasen, left, leaned forward at the finish line to nip Mattituck’s Desirae Hubbard by 1/10th of a second in the 100 meters. (Credit: Garret Meade).


It wasn’t a day conducive for good distances and times, being that it was only two meets into the high school girls track and field season and the athletes had to contend with a blast of cold weather. Regardless, the coaches of both teams said there were some fine performances, nonetheless.

Shoreham-Wading River had enough of them to pull away to a 95-55 victory over Mattituck in a Suffolk County League VII meet on Tuesday. (more…)

03/01/14 3:19pm
03/01/2014 3:19 PM
From left, Section XI's triumphant distance-medley relay team of Bishop McGann-Mercy's Meg Tuthill, Copiague's Nickeela Austin, Bayport-Blue Point's Courtney Dooley and Connetquot's Erin Melly. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

From left, Section XI’s triumphant distance-medley relay team of Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Meg Tuthill, Copiague’s Nickeela Austin, Bayport-Blue Point’s Courtney Dooley and Connetquot’s Erin Melly. (Credit: Bob Liepa)


The members of Section XI’s distance-medley relay team were essentially strangers just a few days earlier. On Saturday afternoon, they became tied together forever as state champions.

Describing the scene on the podium at Cornell University’s Barton Hall, one of those team members, Meg Tuthill, said, “It was like we were all best friends — and we don’t really know each other.”

A state winner’s medal will do that.  (more…)

12/11/13 5:00pm
12/11/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Maria Dillingham returns as one of the Blue Waves’ top runners this winter.

For the past two years, the Riverhead girls winter track team has posted the top 4 x 800 relay team in League IV. As the Blue Waves enter a new season, the defending champs aim to keep that title with another goal in mind.

“The girls have a goal of breaking the Riverhead record for the indoor season that was set a few years back,” said coach Justin Cobis.

The Blue Waves return their entire quartet of the relay, featuring senior Rachel Conti, junior Maria Dillingham and sophomores Meghan Van Bommel and Megan Carrick.

“All of them have been there and done that and now want to kind of get their times down and maybe go for that school record,” Cobis said.

All four runners will be key athletes in a number of running events for the Blue Waves, who return a strong core of middle and distance runners.

Conti, who was third in the 1,000 at the league championship last year, will focus on the 600 and 1,000 again, Cobis said. Carrick and Van Bommel could end up running a number of different events and Cobis said as the season goes on, they’ll determine which events to focus on.

Dillingham ran the 600 last year at the league championship and was fourth.

Van Bommel, Carrick and Conti all ran cross country during the fall season. Dillingham was a key player on the field hockey team.

“She loves team sports and for her, winter track is kind of a little something different,” Cobis said.

The Blue Waves do lose several key athletes in field events to basketball. But they do return their pole vaulter, senior Danielle Thomas, who has tied the school record in the event for outdoor and indoor. Thomas will set her sights on setting that record for herself this year.

“She’s always been someone who really pushes herself every year to get a little bit better,” Cobis said. “She’s one of the best female pole vaulters we’ve ever had.”

Cobis said the next goal for her to reach is clearing 9 feet 6 inches.

A newcomer to the team this year is junior Ashley Courts, who Cobis said has a chance to be a solid 300 runner.

Freshman Gabriella Marcucci had a strong cross country season and will likely anchor the 3,000 for Riverhead.

“It’s something she asked for, which is something you never hear,” Cobis said. “That’s the longest race you can run, 15 laps indoors. It’s going to be exciting to see someone who wants to run that.”

The Blue Waves also return senior Madison Blom, who missed last year while away on an exchange program. Blom was an outstanding shot-putter as a sophomore two years ago.

Cobis said he’s excited to have her back on the team.

“She’s coming back with a lot to prove,” Cobis said.

The majority of kids on the winter track team will carry over to the spring season, so Cobis said it’s a good springboard.

With construction ongoing at the high school, the Blue Waves will be limited to how much indoor running they can do in the event of poor weather. It’ll be an obstacle, but one the Blue Waves are ready to overcome.

[email protected]

05/31/13 8:54pm
05/31/2013 8:54 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck pentathlon athlete Shannon Dwyer competing in the 100-meter high hurdles on Friday.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck pentathlon athlete Shannon Dwyer competing in the 100-meter high hurdles on Friday.


Delina Auciello is headed upstate and while she is up there, she will undoubtedly enjoy a piece of cake.

Auciello and another Bishop McGann-Mercy junior, Danisha Carter, both qualified on Friday for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls track and field championships. The timing is interesting, with the state meet to be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School. June 8 will be Auciello’s 17th birthday.

“That’s why I really wanted to go,” she said. “Yeah, it’s a birthday present.”

Auciello was ninth overall and the top Division II finisher in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10 minutes 58.39 seconds on Friday in the Section XI individual championship state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School. It was only her third time running the 3,000 competitively, and she was emotional following her race.

“I’m going to cry,” she said, but she successfully held back tears during an interview.

Auciello went to the state meet when she was a freshman as an alternate on a 4×400-meter relay team.

Cater punched her ticket to the state meet in both the 100- and 200-meter events by virtue of her performances on Friday. She clocked times of 13.03 seconds, bringing her 12th overall in the 100 preliminaries, and 26.22, good for seventh overall in the 200, but also qualifying her for Saturday’s finals in that event.

“We made it, yes,” Carter said. “I’m really, really excited, and it’s totally unbelievable.”

Carter said she was so amped up about the state qualifier that she “could not go to sleep last night at all. I was so pressured. I really, really wanted to do so good.”

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Carter did well in the 200. She said it’s her favorite and best event. “That’s my race,” she said.

Earlier this season, Carter broke the school record in the 200 with a time of 26.20, which is just 2/100ths of a second off the time she recorded on Friday.

Now the two Monarchs will get to run on an even bigger stage.

“That’s all we wanted from the beginning of the year,” Carter said. “It’s what we’ve been looking forward to.”

If nothing else, it should make for a memorable birthday for Auciello.

TRACK NOTES Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill took sixth place in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet 6 1/2 inches, a personal record.

The second and final day of the state qualifying meet will be tomorrow.

[email protected]

05/13/13 11:17pm
05/13/2013 11:17 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Denise Brunskill of Riverhead took first place in the 100-meter high hurdles in 17.9 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Denise Brunskill of Riverhead took first place in the 100-meter high hurdles in 17.9 seconds.

Riverhead’s girls track and field team sealed the League IV championship in its final dual meet of the season on Monday, an 84-56 victory at East Islip.

Rachel Conti led the way for the Blue Waves, posting wins in both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter races. Her times were 5 minutes 18 seconds in the 1,500 and 12:26 in the 3,000. Another Riverheader, Denise Brunskill, finished first in the 100-meter high hurdles in 17.9 seconds.

Undefeated Riverhead completed its dual-meet season with a 6-0 record. East Islip is 4-2.

05/03/13 7:40pm
05/03/2013 7:40 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Kaitlin Ohrtman carried the baton for Shoreham-Wading River on the anchor leg of the 4x1600-meter relay that the Wildcats took first place in.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Rose Andrews carried the baton for Shoreham-Wading River on the opening leg of the 4×1600-meter relay that the Wildcats took first place in.


So, you think throwing the shot put is simple? Think again.

There is a lot more to throwing that large, metal ball than meets the eye. That is what Meghan Serdock quickly learned when she took up throwing events for Shoreham-Wading River’s girls track and field team last year. Imagine Serdock’s surprise when coach Paul Koretzki told her that there are no less than 62 body movements involved in throwing the shot put properly.

“The speed, the spin, where the foot’s got to go, is it turning, is it this, is it that?” Koretzki said. “The whole bit, 62 moves.”

Serdock said, “When he told me that, I was like, ‘Well, I got about three down, and 59 to go.’ ”

Don’t think there isn’t a purpose to each of those 62 moves, either. Some may be subtle, but they matter.

“They all really do make a big difference,” Serdock said. “You fix one thing, and it will go an extra foot.”

That may help explain Serdock’s rise as a thrower in the shot put as well as the discus.

Last year, Serdock’s best throws were 88 feet in the discus and about 26 feet in the shot put. This year the senior has reached 95 feet in the discus and 33 in the shot put, and she’s looking forward to a collegiate career competing for SUNY/Oneonta.

Serdock went undefeated in both events during the dual-meet season, which the Wildcats completed Wednesday with a 100-50 loss to rival Bayport-Blue Point. In finishing their League VII schedule with a 5-1 dual-meet record, the Wildcats hold a remarkable record of 264-14 (.950) since 1980 when the program began.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Meghan Serdock, who made big strides in the discus and shot put, will join SUNY/Oneonta's team next year.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Meghan Serdock, who made big strides in the discus and shot put, will join SUNY/Oneonta’s team next year.

Serdock reached the state qualifying meet last year, but said she didn’t do much. She’s a better thrower this season, though.

“I worked all winter with the shot put and hit 30 by the end of the winter season, and discus just seemed to work recently,” she said.

Regarding the discus, she said: “I wanted to hit a hundred, and I’m really close. Who knows? I’m almost there.”

Serdock helped host Shoreham-Wading River to third-place finishes in both the discus and shot put in the 35th annual Marvin Goldberg Relays on Friday with respective throws of 89-8 and 31-11 1/2. Not too shabby.

The Wildcats also had throws of 53-5 from Emma Stoll and 45-0 from Natalie Lapadota in the discus and distances of 20-4 from Katie Dunn and 15-6 1/4 from Lapadota in the shot put.

Serdock has a background as a sprinter, and Koretzki said the explosiveness she has from sprinting has helped her as a thrower. “I think the quick feet create the torque,” he said. “That’s very important.”

Serdock is a former soccer player, but she has taken a liking to track and field’s throwing events. She watches videos of Olympic throwers to see what throws are supposed to look like.

“I love it,” she said. “I do.”

So, of the 62 components to the shot put, how many more does Serdock have to master?

“Probably about 50 still,” she said. “I have a lot to go.”

For many Suffolk County track and field athletes, their season concludes with the dual-meet season while the higher-caliber athletes have big county and state meets to look forward to. The Marvin Goldberg Relays give athletes such as Shoreham-Wading River’s Tara Sanders, who ran in the 4×100 relay, one last chance to compete in high school.

“For a lot of the kids, this is really their last competition,” Koretzki said. “Some of them aren’t going to make the counties. They might go to the freshman/sophomore meet or this could be the end.”

It’s also a chance to win medals. Altogether, 484 medals were presented to athletes from the 10 teams that competed, said Koretzki.

Additionally, there are also some unusual events that are rarely, if at all, seen anywhere else, such as the 4×100 shuttle hurdles, the 2xpole vault and the 4×1600 relay.

“I really like this meet just because it’s fun,” Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Rose Andrews said. “There’s a relay for everything.”

Andrews was part of a young foursome that took first place in the 4×1600 relay. She ran the opening leg and was followed by eighth-grader Alexandra Hays, sophomore Maddy Kelly and freshman Kaitlin Ohrtman as they turned in a winning time of 23 minutes 40.7 seconds. Comsewogue was second in 24:35.5.

Two Shoreham-Wading River pole vaulters, Megan Safranek and Amanda Welischar, both cleared 9 feet to give the Wildcats a winning total of 18-0 in the pole vault relay.

[email protected]

05/22/12 7:51pm
05/22/2012 7:51 PM

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Shannon McDonnell led virtually from start to finish in the Division III 800-meter final.


Melodee Riley may not need a tape measure to figure out how far she has triple jumped. As incredible as it sounds, the Riverhead High School senior claims that she can “feel” the difference between, for example, a 38-foot jump and a 39-foot jump, or a 39-foot jump and a 40-foot jump.

So, when Riley executed her first triple jump in the Division II finals of the Suffolk County Division Championships on Tuesday at Bellport High School, “I knew it had to be something good.”

And it was: 39-1.

That alone would have been enough to give Riley her third straight division title in the event, but she went on to stick a season-best 40-4 on her final attempt to win by an even larger margin. Riley’s nearest competitor, Copiague senior Janel Francis, was second at 38-8. Riverhead sophomore Kyra Braunskill Miller took third at 36-10.

The UConn-bound Riley has made her mark, not only in Riverhead’s track program, but in the school’s athletic program. She holds school records in the triple jump (41-3 1/4, which she set in last year’s state qualifying meet), the long jump and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. (Riley said she doesn’t practice running the hurdles. “I wing it,” she said.) She has been a member of school-record-holding teams in the distance-medley relay and the 4×400-meter relay. In addition, she is 10ths of a second away from the Riverhead 400 record.

Last year Riley pulled off a tremendous feat, winning New York State Division I long jump and triple jump titles as well as a state federation crown in the triple jump.

That’s quite a list of accomplishments for an athlete whose introduction to track and field came when she was a freshman.

“Melodee is probably the best female athlete that Riverhead has ever had,” Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis said. “She’s just unbelievable.”

Riley was kept busy on Tuesday, the first day of the two-day meet. In addition to competing in the triple jump trials and finals, she also qualified for the finals in the 400 and the 400 intermediate hurdles, which she will compete in Thursday along with the long jump.

But there is no doubt that her true love is the triple jump.

“I was always good at it, I guess, and I could always get better, so now it’s my event,” she said. “It’s what I do.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Melodee Riley at the start of a 400-meter semifinal.

Riley’s athleticism and exceptional leaping ability have helped her succeed in the technical event. Still, one wonders how many more feet and inches she has in her triple-jumping future. That may be hard to say.

“She’s capable of more than she’s doing now,” said Dounelis.

Riley said: “I have so much more to learn. I don’t know everything. Coaches know everything.”

Riley said she doesn’t take a strategic approach with her when she steps onto the triple-jump runway. She said she just gives everything she has on each attempt. “Whatever happens happens, really,” she said.

Good things happened to Shoreham-Wading River senior Shannon McDonnell on Tuesday. McDonnell, who will run for Yale University next year, flew first to the finish line in the Division III 800 meters in a season-best time of 2 minutes 16.50 seconds. It was her second division title in a row. Her nearest challenger, Hampton Bays junior Shanna Heaney, clocked a time of 2:20.12. Bishop McGann-Mercy sophomore Delina Auciello was third in 2:21.10.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said McDonnell.

McDonnell said she has been trying to run more consistent 400-meter split times. She said that before the race, Shoreham-Wading River assistant coach Roger Sullivan told her to aim for a 66-second time in the first 400 meters. “I missed it by a little bit, but I came back faster than he wanted in the second” half of the race, she said. “It’s fast enough that I’m still in the race, but that I have enough for the final lap. You want to feel like you left it all out there. I’ve had that feeling before where you feel you could have gone faster, and that’s the worst.”

The only other running final held on Tuesday was the 3,000 meters. In the Division II final, Riverhead freshman Maria Dillingham took 11th place in 11:27.72.

In the Division III 3,000 final, Shoreham-Wading River eighth-grader Kaitlyn Ohrtman finished eighth in 11:14.32. McGann-Mercy eighth-grader Meg Tuthill was 11th in 11:45.58.

Two Riverheaders placed among the top six in the discus. Madison Blom, a sophomore, took third place with a throw of 99-5. Her teammate, senior Kerrysha Pittman, was sixth at 92-9.

McGann-Mercy senior Shannon Nuñez reached the finals of the Division III discus and finished fifth with a distance of 82-6.

Another McGann-Mercy senior, Meghan Donnelly, was a fifth-place finisher in the Division III triple jump on the strength of a 34-4 effort.

McGann-Mercy coach Tricia Nuñez said it was a good day for her team. “Hopefully, Thursday I’ll have a lot more to talk about,” she said.

Riverhead, which has never won a division championship, according to Dounelis, led all Division II teams through four events with 23 points. Kings Park was second with 20.

Through four events in Division III, Miller Place held the top spot with 25 points. McGann-Mercy, Sayville and Shoreham-Wading River were tied for fifth with 10 points each.

Riley has a college track career awaiting her at Connecticut. The break between her high school career and her new life in college will be a quick one. Two days after her high school graduation, she will begin a summer class in Storrs, Conn. “The day after graduation, I’m leaving,” she said.

Of course, Riley hopes to take care of some track business between now and then. She is seeking a fourth straight trip to the state meet. Anything less would be a serious disappointment for her.

“Mel doesn’t like to lose,” explained Dounelis.

As Riley sees it, a fourth state meet is a must for her.

“It’s got to be, senior year,” she said. “If I don’t do this, I’ll be an emotional wreck, and I’m not kidding.”

[email protected]

02/01/12 9:11am

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Melodee Riley won state titles in the long jump and triple jump last spring.

Last year, Riverhead junior Melodee Riley took the state track and field world by storm, winning three state titles and posting one of the top triple jump distances in the nation.

Next year, she’ll leap her way to the University of Connecticut.

The Riverhead track star will sign a letter of intent Thursday morning to attend the Big East power on a full athletic scholarship.

Riley set a Riverhead school record in the triple jump at last year’s Section XI championship with a mark of 41 feet 3 1/2 inches. The school record she broke was none other than her own.

She then won both the long jump (18-9 3/4) and triple jump (39-9) at the Division I state championships last year, before also capturing a federation title in the triple jump.

Her performance earned her a spot at the national championships last year.

She’ll join fellow Blue Wave triple jumper Treval Hatcher at UConn.