Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia won the 3,200-meter race for the second straight year Saturday at the Small School County Championship. (more…)
Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia won the 3,200-meter race for the second straight year Saturday at the Small School County Championship. (more…)
For the second weekend in a row, Riverhead’s Charles Villa topped 15 feet in the pole vault as he chases the indoor school record. Villa cleared 15-01 to take first place Saturday at the Molloy Stanner Games at the Armory in New York.
Villa was two inches shy of the mark he cleared last week at the Hispanic Games, also at the Armory.
Villa was the only competitor to top the 15-foot mark. Joseph Crispi of Msgr. Farrel was second at 14-07. Riverhead’s indoor school record was set last year by Dan Normoyle at 15-03 1/2.
Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia finished fourth in the 3,200-meter race at the Stanner Games Saturday morning.
Udvadia ran 9 minutes, 23.75 seconds, finishing behind three runners from Northport, who swept the top three spots. Tim McGowan (9:17.96) and Mike Brannigan (9:17.99) crossed at nearly identical times.
Riverhead’s Marcus Moore was sixth in the triple jump at 42 feet 11 1/2 inches.
In other results, Jack Kelly finished 20th for Shoreham in the 1,000 (2:43.22) and Matt Gladysz was 22nd (2:43.46).
On the girls side, Riverhead’s Madison Blom continued her strong start to the season by finishing eighth in the shot put with a top mark of 33-09.
Whether it was indoor track, outdoor track or cross country, Shoreham-Wading River runner Ryan Udvadia tallied win after win in 2013.
Going back to winter track at the start of the year, Udvadia dominated at the league championship, winning the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. He went on to win the 3,200 at the small-school county championship and earned a trip to states in two events.
He continued to excel through the spring outdoor season, when he once again qualified for the state meet in both events. He was the top 3,200 runner in the county. Most recently during the cross country season, he was the top runner in Class B and, at the state championship, finished second in Class B.
Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.
NEW YORK STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia ran a season-best 15 minutes, 19.3 seconds to finish second in the Class B New York State Championship race Saturday morning at Queensbury High School.
Udvadia helped lead the Wildcats to a fifth-place finish as a team. Udvadia, who was first among the team scorers, finished three seconds behind T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore.
Shoreham’s top five all runners all posted sub-17 times. Junior Matt Gladysz finished second for Shoreham and 17th in team scoring in 16:21.4, followed by seniors Connor McAlary (16:30.7), Keith Steinbrecher (16:42.9) and Jack Kelly (16:45.8).
Shoreham eighth-grader Katherine Lee finished 13th overall in the girls Class B race in 18:32.7. Her teammate, sophomore Kaitlyn Ohrtman, was 29th overall in 18:53.7. They were the only girls for Shoreham to qualify for the state meet.
SECTION XI DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS
Runners often refer to the final stretch of a race as “the kick.” In Suffolk County, few — if any — runners have a better “kick” than Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia.
Whether in a cross country race or track & field, Udvadia is known for his ability to close out races with perfect efficiency. As Tuesday afternoon’s Section XI Division Championship race unfolded at Sunken Meadow State Park in what was going to be the toughest race for Udvadia so far this season, he knew it would come down the “kick.”
The race, which featured the top runners from across the county, ultimately came down to Udvadia and Northport’s Mike Branigan.
Udvadia was aiming to keep his perfect record intact this season, but on this day, Branigan’s “kick” outdid Udvadia, who settled for second place in 16 minutes 16.65 seconds. Branigan finished four seconds ahead of him at 16:12.61.
“Today I had a kick, but it wasn’t as strong as it normally would be,” Udvadia said. “Branigan just had a stronger kick.”
It wasn’t all bad for Udvadia, who still finished first among Division III runners. And the Wildcats won the Division III team title, edging out East Hampton, 41-94.
The championship race features the top two teams from each league plus four at-large teams. From that race, an overall winner is determined, as well as winners for four divisions, which are based on school enrollments. The Wildcats finished second overall behind Northport to top their third place finish from a year ago.
Udvadia said he tried to take the lead from Branigan going up the infamous cardiac hill.
“I wasn’t getting as big of a lead, so I decided to just hold back and let it come down to a kick,” he said.
Udvadia’s time was his fastest at Sunken Meadow this year, but well off his previous bests. That’s due in large part to the different configuration of the 3.1-mile course, which some coaches believed was slightly longer, extending some times by as much as 40 seconds.
Last fall’s hurricane wreaked havoc on much of the course, which had to be altered this season until a new bridge could be completed in one spot. Coaches were hopeful that the old course could be ready for the state qualifier race Nov. 1.
It was the second straight year the division race came down to Udvadia and Branigan. Last year Branigan edged Udvadia by less than a second as both runners clocked in under 16 minutes.
“It is disappointing when you lose your first meet,” Udvadia said. “But I just got to look forward to next week.”
Connor McAlray (17:26.67), Matt Gladysz (17:30.55) Keith Steinbrecher (17:46.54) and Jack Kelly (17:56.45) rounded out the top five for Shoreham, which clinched its 11th straight league title last week in a dual meet win.
“These guys never do bad,” Udvadia said. “They always have a good day.”
The Wildcats finished first as a team in the Varsity 1 race at the Brown Invitational Saturday in Rhode Island behind Udvadia’s first-place time of 15:34.6. That was his best time this year. Steinbrecher, Gladysz and McAlary finished ninth-11th.
The Riverhead boys, fresh off their first league title in 15 years, ran in the championship race Tuesday and finished fifth as a team in Division II.
“I think we kind of gave everything we had to get that title,” said Riverhead coach Patrick Burke.
Senior Travis Wooten, who posted Riverhead’s top time Tuesday in 18:37.44, said it was a challenge as a team to rise up to another level in this race after achieving the goal they so adamantly sought.
“It’s a mental thing,” he said. “We had a goal in mind to be league champions. We achieved that goal and now we also have to say we want to do more than that. It’s hard to do that when we told ourselves all season, ‘let’s win dual meets, let’s win the league.’ ”
The next finishers behind Wooten for Riverhead were: Nick Cunha (18:46.84), Joseph Gattusso (19:22.89) Luke Coulter (19:35.62) and Eric Cunha (19:42.41).
The Blue Waves began the race lined up all the way toward the left of the starting line, which added another challenge. The Riverhead runners needed to run at an angle first to cut down toward the main course. The teams are lined up based on seedings.
“We knew we had to go out a little quick,” Wooten said. “The problem is if you got out fast for too long than you’re stuck with that lactic acid buildup for the rest of the race and it makes the race miserable.”
In the girls’ championship race, Shoreham-Wading River eighth-grader Katherine Lee finished seventh overall in 20:21.48. She helped lead the short-handed Wildcats to a fifth-place finish in Division III.
The Wildcats were without three regular runners due to sickness and injury. Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki said he didn’t want to push the kids in this race in hopes of having them fresh for the state qualifier.
Lee finished first at the Brown Invitational Saturday in the Varsity 1 race in 18:37.2.
“She’s very good,” Koretzki said.
Alexandra Hays finished second for Shoreham in 21:15.47.
The Riverhead girls ran in the team qualifier race Tuesday. Freshman Gabriella Marcucci posted the top time for the Blue Waves in 23:00.03.
“She’s come from like our fifth strongest runner to now probably our strongest runner for the future,” said Riverhead coach Justin Cobis.
Sophomores Meghan Van Bommel (23:44.54) and Megan Carrick (23:48.12) were next for the Blue Waves. Eighth-grader Grace Dillingham ran 24:18.55.
McGann-Mercy sophomore Meg Tuthill ran the fastest time for the Monarchs in the team qualifier race in 22:25.71. She was 17th overall in the race. For the boys, senior Matt Abazis ran 19:54.61 for the Monarchs’ top finish.
Ryan Udvadia is no stranger to winning races. After a banner season last year as a junior for Shoreham-Wading River’s cross country and track teams, Udvadia kicked off his summer with a pair of victories in the SWR July 4 Foot Races.
Udvadia won the 5K race in 16 minutes 39.32 seconds, well ahead of the second-place finisher. He warmed up for the 5K by running the 13 and over 1-mile race. He crossed the finish line together with Dan Purschke and Keith Steinbrecher.
Udvadia will be going into his senior year at Shoreham.
The 29th annual race, which raises money for scholarships, featured a large turnout despite the humidity and heat early in the morning. The race began near the Miller Avenue School in Shoreham.
A Shoreham graduate was the top female finisher in the 5K. Kathryn Sheehan, who ran track at Marist College, crossed in 18:42. Sheehan said she is planning on running the New York City Marathon.
Before the proceedings began, Dan Normoyle dubbed the occasion “Big Pole Saturday.” It was appropriate enough, with the 29 best high school boys pole vaulters in the state competing in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships at Middletown High School.
The theory is that the longer the pole, the higher it will propel pole vaulters through the air. Normoyle, though, actually used two poles of the same length: 15 feet, one a little thicker than the other. Afterward, he acknowledged that, in his case at least, it wasn’t “Big Pole Saturday.” Normoyle didn’t quite go as high as he would have liked, but the Riverhead senior still turned in the third-best performance in the competition, and that’s not bad at all.
Normoyle cleared 14 feet 6 inches, finishing behind Justin Farrenkopf of Ellenville (15-0) and James Steck of Shaker (14-6). Another Riverheader, junior Charles Villa, was ninth at 14-0.
“It was tough today,” Normoyle said. “It wasn’t my best, but I put my all into it. There was nothing else I could have done. It wasn’t the best day for a lot of people.”
That includes the meet favorite, Warwick Valley junior Todd Uckermark, one of two pole vaulters who failed to clear a height.
Normoyle, the Section XI champion who broke his own school record by reaching 15-0 in a state qualifying meet eight days earlier, complained afterward that he lacked confidence. Then, using a phrase Yogi Berra would have appreciated, he said pole vaulting is “90 percent mental, and the rest is in your head.”
Because of heavy rain on Friday, the scheduled two-day meet was condensed into one day. Normoyle said he was in a better mental state to compete on Friday. Instead, he went to lunch with his parents and saw a movie that day.
Villa entered the competition at 13-0, and Normoyle started at 13-6. They both made heights without missing to be among the 12 pole vaulters still standing after reaching 14-0. For some of the athletes, that height represented a ceiling.
“That’s the dividing line right there,” Villa said. “That’s where it starts to really get hard.”
Both Riverheaders passed on 14-3, going straight to 14-6. That’s when Villa ran into trouble, fouling on his first two attempts and then failing on his third and final one. Normoyle made good on his first attempt at 14-6, but he couldn’t handle 14-9, although he came awfully close on his final try, just nipping the bar.
“I just didn’t have the rhythm today, I guess,” said Normoyle, who gave up playing football to devote himself to pole vaulting.
Normoyle may have been disappointed, but his coach, Steve Gevinski, wasn’t disappointed in him.
“I thought he was amazing, just the strength and the speed he showed was unbelievable,” said the Riverhead coach.
Friday’s postponement made life difficult for Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, who had to run two long-distance finals on Saturday as a result. Udvadia clocked a time of 9 minutes 10.24 seconds to take sixth place in the 3,200 meters, which saw Nick Ryan of Fayetteville-Manlius triumph in 8:58.28.
“I dozed off during the race,” Udvadia said. “I wasn’t paying attention. I let the front pack get too far ahead.”
Ryan nearly pulled off an impressive double later in the day, with only a few hours to recover. He was nipped at the finish line by Eric Holt of Carmel in the 1,600 final. Holt’s winning time was 4:07.00, just 55/100ths of a second faster than Ryan. Udvadia was eighth in 4:17.11.
“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Honestly, anything under 4:20 I’ll be happy with.”
Two Mattituck athletes made their first appearance in the state meet. Darius Brew, a freshman and the youngest competitor in the triple jump, came in 23rd place with a distance of 40-3 1/2.
“I feel I did O.K,” Brew said. “It’s acceptable because I’m young, but I feel I could have done better.”
His teammate, junior Sal Loverde, did not have one of his better days, throwing 126-0 for 28th place. The winning throw was 181-9 by Jericho’s Noah White.
“It was unreal,” Loverde said. “The amount of competition is great.”
CARTER SETS HER BEST TIME IN 100 Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Danisha Carter posted a personal-best time in the 100 meters. The junior was 16th in the 100 in 12.89. She was 13th in the 200 in 26.32.
“I think I did [well] for the competition that I was up against,” Carter said. “My back has been killing me, so I came in thinking I wasn’t going to do [well] at all.”
McGann-Mercy was represented by another athlete at Middletown’s sparkling Faller Field. Delina Auciello, a junior celebrating her 17th birthday, was reportedly not feeling well with a stomach ache, but still competed in the 3,000 finals. She finished 25th in 11:28.73.
Competing in the state meet can be a humbling experience. Even top runners can find themselves near the back of the pack.
McGann-Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said, “New York State is a big state.”
SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP STATE QUALIFIER
Looking for the names of double winners in individual events in the Section XI boys track and field individual championship state qualifier, one will find Christopher Belcher of Sayville (100 and 200 meters), James Burke of Port Jefferson (800 and 1,600) and John Stallworth of Connetquot (110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles), but no Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River.
Udvadia, who was seeded first in both the 3,200 and 1,600 meters, took care of the first half of business on Friday when he triumphed in the 3,200 in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds. On Saturday, the second and final day of the meet at Port Jefferson High School, Udvadia ran the fastest 1,600 he ever did before — and he had to settle for second place.
Udvadia and Burke, the top two seeds, were actually the last two runners among the section of 11 runners for most of the first lap of the 1,600 final. Udvadia, a junior, had moved up to fifth after 800 meters, and was then third around 1,000 meters. But Burke was on Udvadia’s right shoulder and moved ahead of him into second at the 1,200-meter mark. Burke took the lead on the bell lap as Udvadia moved in to second. But Burke held onto the lead despite a desperate effort by Udvadia, who couldn’t catch him.
The Port Jefferson sophomore took the race in 4:13.72. Udvadia was right behind him in second with a personal-best time of 4:14.73. Northport senior James Dickinson was third in 4:15.66. Those three times are the fastest in Suffolk County this season.
“That was a fast race,” said Udvadia, who lost a 1,600 race to a Suffolk runner for the first time this season.
Asked if he had any regrets, Udvadia replied: “I did everything I could. Maybe, looking back on it now, I say to myself now, ‘I could have kicked harder,’ but I know when I was doing the race I couldn’t. I couldn’t move my legs any more.”
Udvadia said he was taken aback when the purple-uniformed Burke passed him.
“I couldn’t believe it was him,” Udvadia said. “When I saw that it was him, I said, ‘Alright, it’s time to go.’ ”
The times posted were impressive, especially considering the heat the runners had to endure.
“Burke ran a great race,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “The weather also is not conducive to fast times, and those guys ran fast times.”
After the race, Udvadia shook Burke’s hand and told a reporter he was happy for the Port Jefferson runner.
Even before the race started, Udvadia had qualified for the state meet in both the 3,200 and the 1,600.
“I’m happy that I get to go for both,” he said, “but it would have been nice to go as a Section XI champ for both of them.”
TWO TUCKERS HEADED UPSTATE Two Mattituck athletes, junior Sal Loverde and freshman Darius Brew, qualified for the first time for the state meet that will be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.
Loverde threw the discus a personal-record distance of 135 feet 1 inch on his first throw, making him the top Division II finisher and ninth over all.
“I pr’d, I’m going to the states now, too,” he said. “It was a good day.”
Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said Loverde was ready for a big day. “The last two weeks he’s been really focused,” the coach said. “There was a lot of mental preparation. He’s always had the tools to throw.”
Ironically, Brew’s good day in the triple jump can be traced to his bad day in the high jump. Despite his disappointment at finishing tied for 13th place in the high jump at 5-8, Brew triple jumped 41-9 1/2, good enough for No. 1 in Division II and 11th place over all, and a ticket to the state meet. It was the best triple jump of his young career.
Brew said he was angry over his performance in the high jump, his primary event, but transferred that anger in a positive direction in the triple jump. “The triple was basically like secondary,” he said. “It was like Plan B, something to fall back on, and it ended up working.”
Loverde dedicated his performance to Hansen, who will be leaving the team and the school after this season.
“Even though Coach Hansen isn’t going to be here next year,” Loverde said, “I want to wish him the best with whatever he does, and I did this for him.”
TRACK NOTES Medals were presented to the top four finishers in each individual event. Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright grabbed a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 100 (11.09) and the 200 (22.65). Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:09.76.