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.

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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.”

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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.

06/20/11 12:39am
06/20/2011 12:39 AM

Melodee Riley of Jamesport, a Riverhead High School junior, finished fourth in the triple jump in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals that were held Thursday through Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. Riley’s best effort of 39 feet 8 1/2 inches placed her behind Thea Ford of Silver Spring, Md. (40-5), Jessica Caldwell of Randallstown, Md. (40-3 1/4) and Essence Mayers of Lakewood, N.J. (40-0).

Two Bishop McGann-Mercy High School seniors ran in the 400-meter emerging elite event. Kayleigh Macchirole of Greenport was 23rd in 59.18 seconds, and Olivia Schumann of Manorville was 28th in 59.61.

06/04/11 10:38pm
06/04/2011 10:38 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Melodee Riley posted one of the best triple jumps in the country this season and won the long jump as well.

A merry Melodee was on display in Port Jefferson High School’s triple-jump pit on Saturday, and for good reason.

Melodee Riley was beaming in the mid-afternoon sun. The Riverhead High School junior had barely started to rise to her feet following her final triple jump of the day when a smile creased her face. She undoubtedly knew the jump was a good one. It was only several seconds later when the distance was announced that her sense was confirmed: 41 feet 3 1/2 inches.

Riley’s jump was not only a school record and an effort worthy of first place in the Section XI Individual Championships/State Qualifier, but it is the best triple jump in New York State and one of the best in the nation this season, coaches said.

“I was amped,” Riley said. “I feel great. This is what I wanted to do, and I did it.”

The triple jump capped a wonderful meet for Riley. Just the day before she turned in a personal record in the long jump, 19-1/4, which was good enough for first place. She will compete in both events in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held Friday and Saturday at Caledonia-Mumford High School in Caledonia.

But it was the triple jump, which Riley describes as her favorite and best event, that produced the greatest satisfaction for her. She broke the previous school record of a little over 40 feet that she set earlier this year.

“We’ve been waiting for this because she’s been hitting 40 feet consistently,” Riverhead Coach Maria Dounelis said. “Oh, it’s impressive. She’s probably got to be top five in the nation.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Olivia Schumann will compete in the state meet for the fourth year in a row.

Riley’s nearest competitor in the triple jump was Kings Park senior Tara Greco, who took second place with a distance of 38-3. Another Riverheader, freshman Kyra Braunskill, was sixth at 36-8.

Riley, who was a fifth-place finisher in the triple jump in last year’s state meet, will be making her third appearance in New York’s biggest high school meet.

“I think her expectations are big, and that’s good,” Dounelis said. “She’s very athletic, but it’s just that jumping ability. That’s why she’s able to do what she can do.”

Riley said she surprised herself on Friday by winning the long jump with a leap that bettered her personal record by 6 1/4 inches. Northport junior Sara Ronde was second at 18-9 1/2. It was during that competition when Dounelis encouraged Riley to smile and be happy.

“When she’s relaxed and she’s coming down the runway, that’s when she jumps her best, and that’s why she won yesterday,” said the coach.

Riley was certainly happy on Saturday. In fact, she said it was the happiest she has ever been in connection with the triple jump.

“Once I hit 40, I felt I could go farther, but I had to work at it. It doesn’t come easy,” she said. “Jumping 41 feet, that’s crazy.”

Shannon McDonnell of Shoreham-Wading River had a productive meet. The junior finished second in the 800 meters and fifth in the 1,500.

Sachem East junior Rachel Paul (2 minutes 11.59 seconds) edged out McDonnell (2:13.53) in the 800. McDonnell’s time in the 1,500 was 4:44.10.

Two Shoreham sophomores did well. Laura Lee was fifth in the 400 in 58.87, and Kylie Trettner came in sixth in the 1,500-meter race walk in 7:24.33.

Olivia Schumann will compete in the state meet for the fourth year in a row. This time, though, she will run in both the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and as a member of Bishop McGann-Mercy’s 4×400-meter relay team.

Schumann, a senior, clocked a personal-best time of 1:05.13 that brought her fourth place in the 400 hurdles. She also anchored the 4×400 relay team that was fifth in 4:00.53. That was three seconds off their season-best time. Sasa Vann, Kayleigh Macchirole and Lauren Woodhull ran the first three legs.

“It was the perfect day for running,” Schumann said. “You can’t really get any better than this.”

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06/01/11 11:12am
06/01/2011 11:12 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck sprinter Desirae Hubbard raced an unidentified Hampton Bays runner in the 100 meters.

Melodee Riley and her Riverhead High School teammates certainly enjoyed a winning and memorable time at the Suffolk County girls track and field division championships last week.

Riley, a junior, won two individual events and finished second in another one in Division II.

The Blue Waves enjoyed a strong showing at Connetquot High School in Bohemia last Wednesday and Thursday, finishing third with 63 points, behind the Kings Park Kingsmen (105) and the Copiaque Eagles (70).

Riley certainly met the challenge and then some during a busy and productive two days.

She captured the 400-meter high hurdles in 1 minute 6.75 seconds and the triple jump with a leap of 40 feet 1 1/2 inches. She also was runner-up in the long jump at 17-11 3/4.

Riley was far from a one-girl show as she had help accruing points for the Blue Waves, who will compete in the state qualifying meet at Port Jefferson High School on Friday and Saturday.

Kyra Braunskill, a freshman, took third in the long jump with a leap of 35-10 and fellow ninth-grader Destiny McElory also finished third in the 400 intermediate hurdles in 1:09.39.

In the discus, freshman Madison Blom (95-2) and junior Kerrysha Pittman (94-10) earned third and fourth, respectively. Alexandra Ingram (18-6) also earned a point with a sixth-place showing in the pole vault.

The Blue Waves also registered eight points behind a second-place performance in the 4×400 relay (4:05.81) and four more behind a fourth-place showing in the 4×400 relay (51.98).

In Division III, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats took home second-place honors with 81 points behind the team champions, the Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms (121).

Shannon McDonnell, a junior, led the way for Shoreham with two individual victories and a second-place finish. She crossed the finish line first in the 800 (2:14.60) and in the 1,500 (4:50.52) in additions to taking second in the high jump (16-8 1/2).

Shoreham senior Danielle Opatovsky won the 1,500 race walk in 6:55.75 and found time to take third in the 3,000 in 11:12.36. Her teammate Audrey Kelly was right behind her in sixth place in 11:23.59.

Laura Lee, a sophomore, was second in the 400 (60.38) and fifth in the 200 (29.06).

One of Shoreham’s seniors, Samantha Maier, enjoyed a strong day in the field events with a throw of 32-8 in the shot put, good for second place. She also hurled the discus 92-6 for a third-place finish.

Another senior, Shannon Gallagher, also gained a point in the shot put (30-1 3/4).

Shoreham sophomore Kylie Trettner was third in the 1,500 race walk in 7:22.42.

Shoreham also finished fourth in the 4×400 relay and sixth in the 4×800 race.

Bishop McGann-Mercy collected 14 points as several athletes decided to attend the school’s senior prom over last Thursday’s finals. The Monarchs’ highlights included junior Sasa Vann capturing the 400 in 58.32 and its 4×800 relay team coming in fourth in 10:17.80.

Mattituck grabbed a point in Division III on the strength of freshman Shannon Dwyer’s sixth-place showing in the pentathlon. Dwyer totaled 1,737 points after competing in the final two events last Thursday. She earned 299 points with an eighth-place finish in the long jump (3.96 meters) and another 437 points with a ninth-place showing in the 800 (2:52.62).

05/25/11 10:56am
05/25/2011 10:56 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Bishop McGann-Mercy's Delina Auciello, Miller Place's Kate Pouder and Mount Sinai's Nina Volino during an 800-meter heat.

Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School seniors Kayleigh Macchirole, Olivia Schumann and Lauren Woodhull qualified for the finals in their respective races at the Suffolk County girls track and field championships, but there is no way they can win a title on Thursday, the final day of the meet.

Instead, they have decided to attend their senior prom, which is scheduled for the same day. That decision wasn’t made lightly by the athletes.

“It was probably one of the toughest decisions that these kids have had to make so far in their young lives,” said McGann-Mercy coach Tricia Nunez, who added that she understood her athletes’ plight.

“It was a tough decision, but you only get one prom,” Macchirole said.

They might be athletes — top-flight athletes — but they also are teenagers who want to be, well, teenagers and like everyone else.

“I’m looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun,” Macchirole said. “I’m bummed that I can’t be there.”

Woodhull said that “it’s a little upsetting” that she won’t be able to compete on Thursday.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead pole vaulter Nicole Mielnicki wore a determined look on her face as she cleared a personal-best height of 8 feet.

The Monarchs, undefeated League VIII champions, had a strong showing at Connetquot High School in Bohemia on Tuesday. But any McGann-Mercy competitor who was not going to compete Thursday was not awarded a place or points by track officials in the semifinals.

So, the official records won’t show Macchirole finishing second in the 400-meter run (59.51 seconds) or third in the 200 (26.75).

It won’t state that Schumann took second in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 1:06.05.

It also won’t show that Woodhull qualified by finishing sixth in the 400 in 1:02.12.

And it also won’t show that the 4×100 relay team of junior Sasa Vann, sophomore Tori Cataldo, Woodhull and Macchirole qualified with a first-place performance of 52.53.

“That’s why the girls were in such bad lanes today because [officials knew] they wouldn’t run” on Thursday, assistant coach Gregg Cantwell said. “They were put in exhibition lanes, the outside lanes. Unfortunately, some of their seed times got them in some of the best. They had to run in the worst ones.”

Still the girls acquitted themselves quite well.

“We were really just working for [personal records] today because we knew we weren’t able to come back,” Woodhull said. “We knew that today was the day to make something happen to really go out there and put what we’ve done and worked for the whole season on the track and do our best.”

The Monarchs will have several athletes competing in the finals, including Vann, who finished first in the 400 in 58.26 and third in the 800 in 2:26.33 in heat runs. Meghan Donnelly, a junior, had accrued 966 points in the first five events of the pentathlon. She finished 12th in the 100-meter high hurdles (21.39), fifth in the high jump (4 feet 2 inches) and fourth in the shot put (24-3 1/2).

For them and their teammates, there will be at least one other day for the seniors to run — in the state qualifiers at Port Jefferson High School on June 3 and 4.

“That was the saving grace in the whole division thing,” Nunez said.

“We still have time to improve,” Woodhull said. “We still have time to show what we’ve been working for.”

In Division II, Riverhead found itself atop the team rankings with 27 points after the first day of the two-day meet, followed by Smithtown East with 22.

Junior Melodee Riley won one event and reached the finals of two others. She topped the triple jump with at 12.23 meters. She also qualified for the 400 final by winning her heat in 1:07.04. Ninth-grader Destiny McElroy also reached the finals with a strong third-place showing in 1:08.78.

Freshman Kyra Braunskill was third in the triple jump at 10.92 meters.

Both Blue Waves relay teams reached the finals. The 4×100 relay quartet of Christy Brewer, Denise Brunskill, Braunskill and Tyesha Harrell clinched a spot as it finished third in 52.17. Likewise for the 4×400 squad, which was second in 4:07.78 behind Riley, Rachel Conti, Wynisha Hatcher and McElroy.

Riverhead freshman Madison Blom took third place in the discus (29 meters), earning six points, followed by junior Kerrysha Pittman in fourth (28.90). Alexandra Ingram recorded a point in the pole vault with a sixth-place finish at 2.59 meters.

Mattituck freshman Shannon Dwyer enjoyed a strong showing in the first three events of the pentathlon. She finished fifth in the 100 (20.27), sixth in the high jump (4 meters) and third in the shot put (25-9 1/4 meters). She accrued 901 points entering Thursday’s final two events.