11/15/14 5:53pm
11/15/2014 5:53 PM
Riverhead's Raheem Brown pursuing Hills West quarterback Jacob Robinson in Saturday's loss in Dix Hills. (Credit: Garrett Meade)

Riverhead’s Edward Wills pursues Hills West running back Ray Lyte in Saturday’s loss in Dix Hills. (Credit: Garret Meade)


A season that felt like a constant uphill climb, from Week 1′s last-second win over West Islip to a blocked field goal in the final seconds of Week 8 to defeat Bellport, came to an end Saturday.

The Riverhead Blue Waves’ quest for a third straight county championship — the first such feat for a Division II team since 1998-00 — was ultimately dealt a final blow in Dix Hills, as the Half Hollow Hills West Colts prevailed 28-13 behind the explosive running of halfback Ray Lyte.  (more…)

09/15/14 8:20pm
09/15/2014 8:20 PM
Harley Alvarado of Riverhead boots the ball while teammate Jenna Rocca looks on. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Harley Alvarado of Riverhead boots the ball while teammate Jenna Rocca looks on. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Arianna Sabatino scored 58 seconds into the game and Half Hollow Hills West never looked back as the hosts recorded a 7-0 win over Riverhead in a Suffolk County League III girls soccer game in Dix Hills on Monday afternoon. (more…)

10/15/13 5:31pm
10/15/2013 5:31 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | With team captain Joe Gattuso raised on the shoulders of teammates, the Blue Waves posed for photographs after completing a 5-0 dual-meet season on Tuesday. Riverhead is a league champion for the first time in 15 years.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | With team captain Joe Gattuso raised on the shoulders of teammates, the Blue Waves posed for photographs after completing a 5-0 dual-meet season on Tuesday. Riverhead is a league champion for the first time in 15 years.


The Riverhead High School boys cross-country team had not won a league championship in 15 years. Judging by the happy looks on the faces of the Blue Waves, it was well worth the wait.

Having secured its first league title since 1998 with a vital victory over East Islip a week earlier, Riverhead was the favorite, on paper at least, to beat Half Hollow Hills West on Tuesday and put the finishing touches on a perfect dual-meet season. Then again, as Riverhead senior Travis Wooten said, “You never know until the finish.”

Spectators had a good idea of what direction the race was headed when a blue Riverhead uniform made the final turn out of the woods at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead before hitting the final straightaway to the finish line.

And then came another blue uniform. And then another. And another. And another.

The first five finishers — and six of the top seven — were Riverheaders. By bolting to a 15-47 victory, the Blue Waves completed their dual-meet season with a sparkling 5-0 record in Suffolk County League IV. It was the first time this season that Riverhead swept the top five places in a race.

“I couldn’t have asked for something better,” Wooten said. “This is amazing.”

Two seniors running in the final dual meet of their high school careers, Wooten and captain Joe Gattuso, led the way for Riverhead. Wooten was the first to complete the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes 53 seconds. The next four runners crossed the finish line within 18 seconds of Wooten. Gattuso (17:58) was followed by junior Nick Cunha (18:02), sophomore Connor Behr (18:06) and sophomore Luke Coulter (18:11). Riverhead freshman Eric Cunha, Nick’s brother, was seventh in 18:58.

Half Hollow Hills West finished the league season with a 1-4 record.

“Fifteen years. Oh my God,” said Gattuso, who wasn’t even old enough to go to school 15 years ago. “That’s a long time, 15 years.”

Perhaps the long wait made the achievement even more special.

“It hasn’t happened in a while … and it’s just a great feeling,” said Nick Cunha.

Hills West was added to the list of defeated Riverhead opponents that includes Hauppauge (21-34), West Babylon (19-44), Deer Park (19-54) and East Islip (21-36). The triumph over East Islip, though, at Sunken Meadow State Park was the critical one. Both teams entered that contest with 3-0 records. Recalling that race, Wooten said, “We added up the numbers, and the odds weren’t in our favor.”

That victory clinched at least a share of the title for Riverhead and set the path for the 5-0 season.

“I asked them to do extraordinary things [against] East Islip,” Riverhead coach Patrick Burke told reporters. “We had athletes run 40, 50 seconds faster [against] East Islip. Those are remarkable times. In this race, [it was] more of do what you do, stay in your comfort zone, and if there was a Hills West guy in front of you, pass him.”

Burke said the key to his team’s success has been depth, which in the cross-country world is gold. “I can’t say we have this outstanding team that runs sub-17s at Sunken Meadow, but we have a very good quality team for our division, our league,” he said. “I didn’t want to be overly confident, but I felt good and I felt if we were going to do it, this was the year, and everything was in place.”

After the race, the Blue Waves posed for photos, with Gattuso raised on a couple of shoulders. They had good cause to be happy. All the off-season training and weekend practices had paid off.

“As corny as it sounds, we have heart, you know?” Wooten said. “We haven’t had it for a long time. None of the guys here have ever experienced a league championship before.” He added: “We got it for Coach Burke. It means a lot to him. It means a lot to the team. It means a lot to the school.”

So, the Blue Waves will get a banner to hang in their gym. More immediately, mention during the school’s morning announcements was expected.

Nick Cunha said, “I think we’re going to get our names announced on the loudspeaker.”

Fifteen years later, it’s a deserving honor.


05/07/13 7:19pm
05/07/2013 7:19 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Matt Crohan gave up his first runs of the season Tuesday against Half Hollow Hills West.


Over the course of 44 innings this season, Riverhead’s towering left-hander Matt Crohan has stared down batter after batter, delivering out after out, 75 percent of which were a strikeout.

Over 44 innings, Crohan appeared as unhittable as any high school pitcher can. In the fifth inning of a tied game Tuesday against Half Hollow Hills West — the score fittingly knotted at zero — Crohan finally met his match.

Hills West shortstop Luke Stampfl drilled a long drive into the right-centerfield gap for a three-run home run — the first runs Crohan has allowed this season.

Stampfl’s home run on a 1-1 curveball was enough to propel the Colts to a 4-2 victory, putting a huge dent in the Blue Waves’ playoff hopes. Riverhead (9-9, 8-8 League IV) will need to win its final two games against Hills West (13-5, 11-5) to qualify for the postseason.

Crohan was still dominant, striking out 16 batters in the loss. He raised his season total to 104 strikeouts in 47 innings, a school record.

His ERA now stands at 0.595.

If not for a hit batsman, Stampfl (2-for-4) likely never would have gotten the chance to deliver the big blow. With two out and a runner on second, the Colts had their ninth hitter, Sal Lovaglio, at the plate with Stampfl on deck.

Lovaglio took the first pitch he saw off his left shoulder, sending him to first base and bringing the Fordham-bound slugger Stampfl to the plate.

After the home run the Colts punched another run across the plate when Tom Digiorgi hit an RBI double to left field.

The Blue Waves tried to rally in the seventh. Ryan Gaffney hit a line drive to right field that got past the right fielder, allowing him and Cody Smith to score.

Jon Faraci got the next two outs for Hills West to end the game. Sophomore Aaron Glickstein earned the win for Hills West with five scoreless innings.

The Blue Waves had plenty of chances early in the game to grab the lead. They stranded 10 runners — six in scoring position — through the first five innings.

Crohan allowed only three hits over seven innings.