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12/18/14 8:57pm
12/18/2014 8:57 PM
Riverhead guard Sharron Trent goes up for a basket against Hills West Thursday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead guard Sharron Trent goes up for a basket against Hills West Thursday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

COLTS 63, BLUE WAVES 46

Riverhead junior Ryun Moore dribbled into the paint, spun around a Half Hollow Hills West defender and lofted the ball up with one hand off the glass and through the net. It was a slick move, but one that came with an unfortunate side-note.

At 3:35 remaining in the second quarter, it was the Blue Waves’ first field goal.  (more…)

12/18/14 6:00am

Kelly Wooten and her friend Frank Ruskowski recently enjoyed an exciting and memorable trip to China. They toured the Leshan giant Buddha, carved into a cliff, and saw the terracotta warriors, over 8,000 life-size statues of soldiers and horses guarding an ancient tomb. They were able to hold a baby panda in Chen Gdu and did the plank walk on Mount Huashan, looking down 6,000 feet from a couple boards on a mountain. (more…)

12/17/14 5:00pm
12/17/2014 5:00 PM
Riverhead's Ashley Courts will compete in the jumping events this year. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead’s Ashley Courts will compete in the jumping events this year. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

For the past few years, the Riverhead track coaches have tried to nudge Ra’Shae Smith to come out for the winter track team. Last spring, competing during the outdoor track season, Smith showed promise in the shot put.

The Blue Waves had one of the top shot putters in the county last year in Madison Blom. And Smith got the chance to be the understudy to Blom.

Now as a senior, Smith agreed to join the winter track team and commit to the sport, which is good news for Riverhead.

“She’s just beginning to learn the technique and the basic skills that are involved in the sport,” said Riverhead coach Justin Cobis. “When she starts getting confident and getting everything in coordination, that’s going to be fun to watch.”

In the Blue Waves’ first crossover meet, Smith threw 33 feet 1 1/4 inch to finish in third place. To open the season throwing in the 33-foot range already puts her in the top 10 in the county, Cobis said.

And Smith has hardly reached her ceiling.

“If you saw her throw that hit 33 feet, it looked ugly,” Cobis said. “Once she gets her lower body in sync with her upper body, I would see her as one of the tops in the county.”

The Blue Waves carry over nearly the entire cross country roster into the winter track season, which should put them in good position to have strong middle distance and distance runners.

Seventh-grader Megan Kielbasa, who had a terrific cross country season, has the potential to be a big contributor right away. She ran the 3,000 in the team’s first two crossover meets. She improved her time by nine seconds from one meet to the next, finishing in 11 minutes 23.07 seconds in the most recent meet Saturday at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.

“She’s learning as she goes,” Cobis said. “When your introduction to winter track is 15 laps, that’s a trial by fire.”

After completing her 15th lap in the first 3,000, Kielbasa kept on running, unaware she had finished the race.

“She’s like a little Energizer Bunny,” Cobis said.

Senior Rachel Clement and junior Megan Carrick will provide leadership and expertise in a number of events for Riverhead. Clement is a versatile athlete who can contribute in an array of field events and on the track. Carrick is a distance runner. Junior Meghan Van Bommel is another veteran to the track who will run some of the shorter events this year. She’ll likely run mostly the 300, 600 and 4 x 400 relay.

The X-factor for Riverhead is Ashley Courts, Cobis said.

“She’s an extremely gifted athlete,” Cobis said.

Courts has the potential to long jump beyond 17 feet and could be among the tops in the county. Cobis said Courts just hasn’t had a breakout meet yet to gain the confidence she needs.

“If we can get her consistent in her craft, she can really surprise everybody,” Cobis said.

 

The strength of the Shoreham-Wading River winter track team is undoubtedly on the track with some of the middle distance and distance runners. The Wildcats carry over six of the top seven runners from the county champion cross country team.

The weakness lies in the field events.

“We’re going to try to build that up,” said Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki. “But I don’t know where that’s going to go.”

The Wildcats have depth on the track, though, including with sprinters. Two soccer players who were speedsters during the fall on the county championship soccer team will run track this winter in Alex Kuhnle and Megan Kelly, who was fifth at the league championships last year in the 55-meter dash.

“We have a lot of soccer players and they’re in shape, really good,” Koretzki said.

Emily Sopko is one of those soccer players who can run shorter races like the 300.

The top runner from cross country, state champion Katherine Lee, a freshman, will transition to track now. When asked which events Lee will run, Koretzki said “I have no idea.”

As a great distance runner in cross country, the 3,000 might seem an ideal fit. But the Wildcats already have two strong 3,000 runners in junior Kaitlyn Ohrtman and sophomore Alexandra Hays. Two years ago, they went one-two in the 3,000 at the league championships.

Lee may likely slide down to the 1,500. She’ll start off running some shorter races like the 600 and 1,000.

Hays is a welcome addition to the team this year after she played basketball last year. As an eighth-grader she ran winter track on varsity, but the way the schedule worked on the middle school team, she still was able to play basketball. Now that she’s in high school, the seasons conflict.

“That’s a big addition because it gives me more flexibility,” Koretzki said.

Senior Courtney Ricca is a strong hurdler and sophomore Payton Capes-Davis is a gymnast who can do a number of events, including the pole vault. Koretzki said she has the potential to be a triple jumper. Eighth-graders Francesca Lilly and Lexie Smith provide more depth for Shoreham in the distance events.

 

The McGann-Mercy winter track team lost a few key contributors from last year’s squad, but should be in good position for a strong season this year. Junior Meg Tuthill, who won a medal last year as part of the medley relay team at the state championships, returns as one of the top distance runners for the Monarchs.

Tuthill can run anywhere from the 600 to 3,000. Last year she finished fourth at the state qualifier meet in the 1,000 to earn a trip to the state meet.

This year, her goal is to get back to states, but this time, in an individual event.

“It’s something she has her eyes on,” said Mercy coach Collin Zeffer.

The Monarchs return sophomore Maddie Joinnides, who was sixth in the 300 at last year’s league championships. Sophomore Kaitlyn Butterfield was a fifth-place finisher in the 1,000 a year ago and she has versatility to run a number of different events on the track. Sophomore Devyn O’Brien is another strong runner.

The Monarchs are mostly a young team again this year. The one senior on the team is Adafih Blackburn, who’s a sprinter.

joew@timesreview.com

12/16/14 4:59pm
12/16/2014 4:59 PM
Riverhead senior Ed Matyka (right), pictured at the North Fork Invitational last year, is second-ranked in the county this season at 120. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)

Riverhead senior Ed Matyka (right), pictured at the North Fork Invitational last year, is second-ranked in the county this season at 120. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)

Riverhead coach Wade “Rocky” Davey isn’t in the business of making predictions just yet. But it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see the Blue Waves as a team capable of producing multiple all-county wrestlers this season.

It’s been five years since Riverhead had more than one all-county wrestler, defined as a top-six finish in the county tournament.  (more…)

12/15/14 10:00am
12/15/2014 10:00 AM
A 7,200 sf retail building is proposed for this grass lot in Applebee's parking on Rt 58

A 7,200-square-foot retail building is proposed for this grass lot in the Applebee’s parking on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

More stores appear headed to the west end of Route 58.

The owners of the property where Applebee’s restaurant is located are proposing to build a 7,200-square-foot retail building featuring two stores on what is now an undeveloped grass pad in the east end of Applebee’s parking lot.

Applicant SL Gateway II, LLC and UB Riverhead II, LLC, which have like ownership to the Applebee’s property and the adjacent Walmart and Bob’s Discount Furniture shopping center, are proposing retail stores of 4,200 and 3,000 square feet, respectively, in the new building.

The properties are both listed by New Jersey-based Lerner Properties.

According to Kimberly Judd, the attorney for the developers, the Applebee’s site plan for property was approved in 1999, when the land was zoned Industrial A. The site plan included the stores in the eastern pad and the developers proceeded to build the restaurant, the parking lot, the lights and all of the infrastructure.

The only thing never built were the stores.

In 2000, the town rezoned the property to Destination Retail Center zoning, which actually required larger stores than what was previously approved for the site.

As a result, the applicant needed to go to the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night to get variances to allow them to build less than what the zoning requires.

Under the DRC zoning, the minimum building size is 10,000 square feet, and the minimum store size is 3,500 square feet, which meant that the previously approved retail building no longer conformed with zoning.

“What we’re asking for is more restrictive” than zoning allows, Ms. Judd said.

The application also required some ZBA variances to allow the side yard setbacks, which conformed under Industrial A back in 1999 but not under DRC now, to be less that what zoning allows.

“The proposed variances are not substantial,” Ms. Judd told the ZBA Thursday. “We would have to rip up the parking and curbing otherwise.”

The ZBA approved the variances by a 4-0 vote, with ZBA member Frank Seabrook absent.

Asked afterward if there are any tenants lined up for the proposed new buildings, applicant Jason Lerner said, “None that we want to announce at this time.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

12/15/14 8:00am
(Credit: Bill Landon)

Neverson Funn goes up for a shot in Saturday’s alumni basketball game in Riverhead. (Credit: Bill Landon)

It had been 11 years since the last time Chris Harris stepped onto the court at Riverhead High School. A lot has changed since then. But the competitive juices remain.

“Coach got some of us old guys out here,” said Harris, a 2002 Riverhead graduate.  (more…)

12/12/14 4:00pm
12/12/2014 4:00 PM
Riverhead senior John Roca was joined by his sister Jenna and father John, as well as varsity coach Vic Guadagnino (standling, left) and athletic director Bill Groth for his signing. (Credit: Riverhead schools)

Riverhead senior John Roca was joined by his sister Jenna and father John, as well as varsity coach Vic Guadagnino (standling, left) and athletic director Bill Groth for his signing. (Credit: Riverhead schools)

Riverhead senior John Roca signed to play lacrosse next year at Dowling College. A goalkeeper for the Blue Waves, Roca will receive an academic/athletic scholarship to attend the Division II school.  (more…)