05/21/13 9:09pm
05/21/2013 9:09 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Fleming threw a personal record 140 feet 8 inches in the discus.

DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

It was typical Ryan Udvadia.

After the Division III 3,200-meter final started, the Shoreham-Wading River junior was hanging well back in the bottom third of the field, as if toying with the opposition, who surely knew what was coming. Early in the third lap, Udvadia made a tremendous move, passing a half-dozen runners and easing into the third position. By the time there were three laps to go, he was in the lead, coasting to a victory he made look almost effortless.

Udvadia ran about 28 seconds slower than his personal record for the distance, and yet still managed to beat his nearest competitor, Bayport-Blue Point senior Adam LaFemina, who was over 10 seconds behind him in the Suffolk County Division Championships at Connetquot High School on Tuesday. Udvadia’s time was 9 minutes 29.82 seconds. Further back was Shoreham-Wading River junior Connor McAlary, who was fifth in 10:01.92.

Although the top-seeded Udvadia may have been saving his legs for Thursday, when he will run in the 1,600 (he is the favorite to win that event as well, having clocked a personal-best time of 4:15.64 earlier this year at the Penn Relays) and the 4×800 relay, he blew away the field.

“He doesn’t surprise me anymore,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “I mean, he doesn’t lose.”

Connetquot has a nice looking track, but Udvadia is not a fan of it. “I really hate this track, just because the turns are bigger than the straightaways,” he explained.

Not that one could tell by his performance, but the weather conditions irritated Udvadia’s allergies.

“The pollen was unbelievable,” he said. “It was horrible. I can feel it in my throat right now, so I’m expecting to feel sick on Thursday.”

That would be a setback Shoreham-Wading River could ill afford. As it was, the Wildcats took a blow on Tuesday when one of their top athletes, Israel Squires, injured his ankle while playing basketball in a physical education class. The sophomore, who was seeded third in the triple jump, fouled and did not record a distance in the event.

Squires also anchors Shoreham’s 4×100 relay team, the No. 1 seed which qualified for Thursday’s final. The meet will conclude on Thursday, when most of the finals will be held.

Szymanski fears Squires’ injury could cost the Wildcats 30 points.

“That’s not a good thing,” Szymanski said. “I’m totally depressed. I feel bad for the kid, but he’s got to use better judgment than what he did by playing hoops right before” the meet.

A more encouraging development for Shoreham was the discus, which senior Kyle Fleming took first place in with a personal-record throw of 140 feet 8 inches. Fleming, whose best throw going into the meet was 132 feet, surpassed that distance on four of his six throws Tuesday despite throwing into the wind.

“The wind was tricky,” Shoreham’s throwing coach, Bill Hiney, said. “Throwing into the wind, you really have to have hand control. If the tip of the discus is up, it will just sail right over and cut distance off your throw. Kyle controlled that very well.”

Fleming left the school before a reporter could interview him.

The Wildcats also received a fourth-place finish from senior Thomas Sager in the pole vault. He cleared 12 feet.

Riverhead junior Marcus Moore took second place in the Division II triple jump, covering 42-10. North Babylon senior Kamar Marston-Mills (44-3 1/2) was the only one to throw farther than him.

“I don’t think he had his best legs today, so I was happy with 42-11,” Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski said of Moore. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. I think he’s just growing into his body, too. I think as he builds a little more strength, he’ll be even better.”

Mattituck freshman Darius Brew, one of the youngest athletes to compete in the triple jump, was congratulated by his coach, Pete Hansen, after covering 41-1 during the preliminaries. But then Hansen delivered the distressing remark that he didn’t believe Brew had qualified for the Division III finals.

That did not sit well with Brew.

“It was terrible,” Hansen said. “It was like I killed his puppy.”

As it turned out, Hansen was wrong. Brew did indeed reach the finals, and turned in a personal-best 41-2 1/2, which brought him sixth place.

“I think the biggest thing for him is he does not like to lose,” said Hansen. He added, “There are so many good things about him, I can’t say anything bad.”

Brew, whose best triple jump before Tuesday was 40-11, said he has more distance in his legs. “Every time I get a best, a personal best, I feel that my body is able to do better,” he said.

Mattituck junior Sal Loverde finished eighth in the discus with a throw of 124-6.

BRAUNSKILL TAKES TRIPLE JUMP Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill won the Division II triple jump title in the girls division championships on Monday at Connetquot High School. Braunskill’s winning distance was 39-3 3/4.

Riverhead also received a fifth-place finish from sophomore Rashae Smith in the discus (96-6).

Through three events of the pentathlon, Riverhead sophomore Rachel Clement held sixth place with 1,209 points. She took second in the high jump (4-7 3/4), third in the shot put (24-11 3/4) and sixth in the 100-meter high hurdles (20.02).

Following the first day of the two-day meet, which concludes Wednesday, Riverhead was tied for third place in the team scoring with Half Hollow Hills West. They both had 12 points, trailing Kings Park (21) and North Babylon (18).

In Division III, Shoreham-Wading River was in a third-place tie as well with Elwood/John Glenn. Both teams had 14 points. Miller Place (39) is first and Hampton Bays (16) is second. Bishop McGann-Mercy is 10th with two points.

Shoreham received 10 points from Meghan Serdock’s victory in the discus. The senior threw 100-11.

The Wildcats also received a fourth-place finish from freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman in the 3,000 meters (10:33.89). McGann-Mercy junior Delina Auciello was behind her in fifth place in 11:22.00.

Mattituck junior Shannon Dwyer was fourth in the pentathlon after three events with 1,244 points. Dwyer was second in the shot put (28- 1/4), third in the high jump (4-4) and seventh in the 100-meter high hurdles (19.10).

bliepa@timesreview.com

05/11/13 5:46pm
05/11/2013 5:46 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, shown here earlier this season, ran the fastest 3,200 time in the state Friday.

Before the start of the 3,200-meter race Friday at the prestigious Loucks Games in White Plains, Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski hoped to see junior Ryan Udvadia run around 9 minutes 15 seconds.

Udvadia had his sights set a little higher, hoping for about 9:10.

Neither, though, could have imagined what came next.

Udvadia — already the Suffolk County runner of the year in cross country and state qualifier in winter track — blitzed the course at White Plains High School in 9:02.05, running away with first place.

The school record time was the fastest in New York this year.

Most amazing, his second-half split was faster than the first half, Szymanski said.

“You can’t make this story up,” he said. “It sounds like it’s science fiction.”

Udvadia was awarded the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer Award. He was the first boy from Suffolk County to ever win the award since its inception in 1985 (several girls have won it from Suffolk, most recently Vanessa Stewart of North Babylon in 2010).

Sticking to his strategy that goes back to cross country season, Udvadia started the race toward the back of the pack, patiently waiting to make his move. In the last half-mile, Udvadia surged ahead of seven runners, Szymanski said.

At the final 100-meter mark, he was neck-to-neck with Liam Mullet from Pingry.

“With about 60 meters to go the kid just folded,” Szymanski said. “Ryan blew by him.”

The race came late in the day Friday and the temperature had cooled, creating an ideal running condition.

“Everyone’s asking me, how are you training this kid?” Szymanski said.

The meet record for the 3,200 at Loucks is 8:56.02, set in 2011 by Chad Noelle.

Udvadia’s performance at Loucks was set up by a strong showing at the Penn Relays April 25 in Philadelphia. Running the 1-mile, Udvadia finished seventh in 4:15.51. He was seeded 14th going into the meet.

Szymanski warned him that he would probably be last at the half-way point.

“In the last half he passed several runners and wound up seventh,” Szymanski said. “4:15 was his fastest mile ever.”

The race qualified him for the Loucks Meet, which featured athletes from 10 states and Canada this year.

joew@timesreview.com

04/13/13 5:39pm
04/13/2013 5:39 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

SUFFOLK TRACK OFFICIALS HOLIDAY CLASSIC

One has to wonder just where Ryan Udvadia gets all that energy.

Less than 48 hours after running and winning three individual events (the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters) and anchoring a winning 4×800-meter relay team in a dual-meet win over Mount Sinai, the Shoreham-Wading River junior was back on the track again on Saturday.

In only Shoreham-Wading River’s fourth meet this season and first invitational, Udvadia made a strong case for himself as arguably the best long-distance runner in Suffolk County. He did that with his victory in the open 1,600 against some tough competition in the Suffolk Track Officials Holiday Classic at Mount Sinai High School.

It wasn’t the first-place finish that was so impressive as the time: 4 minutes 20.98 seconds. That is only a few seconds off Udvadia’s best time. Coming so relatively early in the season, before the weather has truly warmed up, was impressive.

“I was a little nervous about the mile because it was pretty stacked, great competition,” he said, “but I knew I had the race when there was like a half-mile to go and I realized how slow it was in the beginning, and how much energy I actually had left.”

Udvadia took the lead briefly going into the last lap, lost it, but then surged forward with 200 meters to go. He ended up winning by a fair margin over the next two finishers, Tom Meehan of Eastport/South Manor (4:23.32) and Tim McGowan of Northport (4:23.92).

“Nobody runs 4:20 this early,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “I didn’t want him to run that fast … but he also wants to establish himself.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Udvadia’s day was not done. He had an open 800 final to run after that.

Szymanski, concerned about his star runner’s health, warned him beforehand not to do anything “stupid.”

Udvadia almost hurt himself before the 800 race, trotting into a hurdle while talking to someone and warming up at the same time. He took a fall, Szymanski said, but was O.K.

During the first half of the race, Udvadia had fallen back to about the final one-third of the field. Some may have wondered if Udvadia’s legs were giving out on him. Szymanski was watching the race from the press box when someone asked him, “What happened to your man, Udvadia?” The coach replied, “It’s not over yet.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

True enough. Playing track and field’s version of opossum, Udvadia then made his move. It was all part of the plan. Passing about a dozen runners in front of him, and making it look ridiculously easy in the process, Udvadia went on to win the heat in 1:58.61, his fastest 800 time ever. It stood for fourth place.

Udvadia said he even surprised himself.

“Usually in the beginning [of a race] I just sit [back] on them, and when I feel like I can do it, I’ll go for the kick, and that’s what I did for the last lap,” he said.

Is that kick always there?

“Ninety percent of the time,” he said, smiling.

Szymanski said Udvadia reminds him of Bobby Andrews, one of the greatest runners the Wildcats have ever produced.

A driven athlete who doesn’t like second-best, Udvadia does research about his competition and trains. Oh boy, does he train, so much so that Szymanski said he needs to rein him in sometimes for fear of overtraining and injury.

After the 800, his sixth competitive race in three days, Udvadia conceded he was glad his running day was over.

“Now I’m tired,” he said. “I don’t want to run any more.”

Like Udvadia, Isreal Squires competed in four events for Shoreham-Wading River on Thursday. Squires said he felt soreness in his legs, and because of that he didn’t feel good about his chances of winning on Saturday.

He was wrong — twice.

Squires turned in a personal-best distance of 21 feet 3 3/4 inches, good enough for first place in the open long jump. He also flew to the finish line in 51.89 seconds to win the sophomore 400 final.

What was his motivation?

A clock.

The winners of open events were presented with specially designed clocks bearing the meet logo.

“I just wanted to get the clock, really,” Isreal said. “It looks pretty cool in the box.”

Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Fleming was seventh in the open discus with a throw of 123-6. A teammate, junior Keith Steinbrecher, won the 2,000-meter steeplechase novice race in 6:43.10.

Mattituck’s 5-foot-8 freshman, Darius Brew, set a personal record, clearing 6-0 to finish in a tie for fourth place in the high jump with North Babylon senior Kamar Marston-Mills. It didn’t hurt that Brew had a little luck on his side.

“I was very surprised because I went over and I kind of hit the bar and it moved, but I didn’t hit it enough to knock it over, so I got lucky, I guess,” he said.

In addition, Brew also took sixth place in the frosh-soph long jump, covering 18-6 3/4.

Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said, “He’s got a lot of talent.”

Brew acknowledged that 6-0 is a magical number for high school high jumpers. It means instant credibility.

“I wanted to achieve 6 feet, and I did it,” he said. “That number [means] you’re good and you have a chance to win.”

Another Mattituck freshman, Jack Dufton, didn’t do badly for himself, either. Dufton set personal records in the freshman 800 (13th place in 2:18.62) and the freshman 1,600 (21st in 5:04.41).

“There’s definitely a lot more competition here, so you’re running harder just because you play to the level of your competition,” Dufton said. “There’s a lot of schools here, a lot of good kids. It’s tough. I’m usually looking at the clock in that last 100 meters, just chasing the clock.”

Dufton said that helps him run faster. “That,” he said, “and Hansen screaming at you.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

03/05/13 8:00pm
03/05/2013 8:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia finished 10th in the 3,200 at the state meet Saturday.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia finished 10th in the 3,200 at the state meet Saturday.

Everything had built this season toward an all-state finish at the New York State Championships for Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia. He had qualified in two events, the 3,200 and 1,600, at the state qualifier Feb. 13. Then at the Long Island Elite Invitational Feb. 22, he ran a superb time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds in the 1,600 as a final tune-up for the championship.

But in the week leading up to the big meet at Cornell University in Ithaca, Udvadia came down with a head cold, wiping away crucial practice time.

“The day of the race he felt all right,” said Shoreham coach Brian Wrinkle.

But the missed time slowed Udvadia enough to keep him off the podium. He still ran a respectable time of 9:31.34 in the 3,200 for 10th place in the federation Saturday. With an hour to recover, he ran 4:37.2 in the 1,600 to finish 30th overall.

“He wasn’t feeling good after the two-mile,” Wrinkle said. “He persevered and did his best.”

There was never any thought to scaling back to one event, Wrinkle said. Backing out of an event at the last minute would have denied the fourth-place finisher from the qualifier an opportunity to compete as a replacement. Udvadia was the first Wildcat to qualify for states in two events since Bobby Andrews in 2009.

The Wildcats got such a break with junior Jordan Wright, a fourth-place finisher in the 55-meter dash at the qualifier. Wright learned a little over a week before the state meet that he would get a chance to run. William Floyd senior Diamonte Corley finished second at the state qualifier in the 55. He also won the 300 and was a member of the winning 4 x 200 relay team. So he opted to skip the 55 at the state meet.

Wrinkle said they were hopeful Wright could get a spot at states so they never stopped training.

“I took the paper work from the meet that day because I really thought it would happen,” he said. “We stayed fresh and prepared and ran right through.”

Wright had an impressive showing, finishing third in his first heat in 6.65. In the semifinals he ran 6.68 to finish 14th. The top eight advanced to the finals. Sayville senior Chris Belcher was the state champ in 6.35, just shy of the state record of 6.31.

Udvadia will get one more chance to run the 1,600 this weekend at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York. Udvadia will compete in the emerging elite division, which is second to the championship race.

“He wants to get some speed in and end the season on a high note,” Wrinkle said.

joew@timesreview.com

02/23/13 12:00am
02/23/2013 12:00 AM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Dan Normoyle, one of three Blue Waves to pole vault 14 feet in the same meet, took first place in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Dan Normoyle, one of three Blue Waves to pole vault 14 feet in the same meet, took first place in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational

LONG ISLAND ELITE TRACK INVITATIONAL

After all the drama and all the excitement subsided, it was time for photographs. Photos for posterity.

Five smiling pole vaulters posed for photos in front of the pole vault mat, each athlete holding up one finger from one hand and four fingers from the other to represent the number 14. That is 14, as in 14 feet, the height each of them cleared.

Most high schools don’t have one pole vaulter who can clear 14 feet. Riverhead had three of them reach that height on Friday night.

Dan Normoyle, Charles Villa and Jonah Spaeth all reached 14-0 — along with two other pole vaulters — in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School. Riverhead’s pole vaulting coach, John “Doc” Andresen, said it is the first time in the school’s history that three Blue Waves cleared 14 feet in the same meet.

“It’s never been done on Long Island, I don’t believe, certainly not in Riverhead,” he said.

Because the three Riverheaders handled 14-0 along with Smithtown West’s Karl Nilsen and Syosset’s Michael Wilkens, a tiebreaking procedure was used to determine the places. Normoyle finished first, Villa was second and Spaeth finished in a tie for third with Nilsen, leaving Wilkens fifth.

“I thought it was unbelievable,” Normoyle, a junior, said. “Five guys over 14 is just crazy. … It’s great to be part of the legacy of our school, to make a name for ourselves.”

For Villa, a sophomore, the height was a personal record. Villa said that as the bar was raised higher, he started getting nervous and began doubting himself a little bit.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia moved up from the middle of the pack and finished second in the 1,600 meters in a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia (6) moved up from the middle of the pack and finished second in the 1,600 meters in a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds.

In the end, there was no need for doubt or nerves.

“It was great, all of us just getting 14,” Villa said. “It was just amazing.”

Villa’s first vault was at 12-6, with Normoyle and Spaeth entering the competition with the bar at 13-0.

One of the challenges of pole vaulting is dealing with the fatigue factor as the height rises.

“I was getting a little light-headed near the end,” said Spaeth, a senior who set the Riverhead indoor record of 14-6 earlier this season.

Pole vaulting can be a fickle event, as Andresen knows only too well. “Any time something goes wrong, we have the expression, that’s pole vaulting,” he said. “You know, it’s like a horse race, anything can happen.”

Spaeth will compete in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships along with Normoyle on March 2 at Cornell University.

“We’re coming to the point of the season where [personal records] start to weigh in,” Spaeth said. “This is when it’s supposed to happen, now.”

The Long Island Elite Track Invitational, which brings in many of the top athletes in Nassau and Suffolk counties, is seen as good preparation for the state meet. It surely was a good run for Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia and Jordan Wright.

Udvadia achieved several things with his race in the 1,600 meters. The junior posted a personal-best time of 4 minutes 17.26 seconds that was good enough for second place. The time should also place him in the seeded race at the state meet. Plus, the performance was a timely confidence boost.

“When you have good competition, it’s good,” Udvadia said. “Everybody says low competition, it’s easy to win, but I’d rather get second and do a great time.”

The one person Udvadia didn’t outrun was Northport senior James Dickinson, who won in 4:16.60.

“Coming into this meet, I didn’t see him as a threat, but he really came through,” Udvadia said. “He really did a great job, and he really pushed me to what I needed to do.”

Wright, competing in the 55-meter dash, also clocked a personal record, 6.65 seconds, to win his preliminary heat. The junior then posted a 6.67 in the final, good enough for third place.

Wright said the moments near the starting line before the gun goes off may test the nerves of some runners, but are important, nonetheless.

“It helps you a little bit, though, the adrenaline,” he said.

Two Riverhead juniors turned in sixth-place finishes: Davion Porter (5-10 in the high jump) and Marcus Moore (42-3 1/2 in the triple jump).

Porter said the quality competition helped him, too. “It gets you motivated and [helps you to] try to strive for higher heights,” he said.

Another Riverheader, senior Anthony Galvan, was 11th in the 1,000 in 2:43.51, slicing a second off his personal record. “That’s really something right there,” he said.

Riverhead sophomore Jacob Robinson finished first in the frosh/soph 300 in 37.73 seconds.

As the meet was winding down, and after Riverhead’s pole vaulters had finished their night’s work, the mild-mannered Andresen may have been among the most satisfied people in St. Anthony’s beautiful fieldhouse.

“He just had a smile on his face,” Normoyle said. “He doesn’t say much, but he was excited.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

01/29/13 3:14pm
01/29/2013 3:14 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan set a school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes 31.17 seconds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan set a school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes 31.17 seconds.

LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ryan Udvadia has made quite a name for himself as a long-distance runner. What the Shoreham-Wading River junior accomplished on Sunday further added to that name.

Udvadia was a two-event winner in the Suffolk County League V Championships that were contested at Suffolk County Community College West in Brentwood.

In the 1,600-meter final, Udvadia flew to the finish line in a time of 4 minutes 35.62 seconds. His nearest competition came from Bayport-Blue Point senior Adam LaFemina, who was second in 4:42.57. Another Shoreham-Wading River junior, Keith Steinbrecher, came in sixth place in 4:55.15.

Udvadia also triumphed in the 3,200 in 10:03.80. Port Jefferson sophomore James Burke was second in 10:14.08.

Shoreham-Wading River also received second-place finishes from its 4×200-meter relay team (1:39.79) and senior shot putter Kyle Fleming, who recorded a throw of 44 feet 1 1/2 inches. (Shoreham-Wading River senior Charles DeMaio was fourth in the shot put at 43-8 1/2.)

The Wildcats also took third in the 4×800 relay in 8:55.07.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright was third in the 55-meter dash in 6.95 seconds.

A pair of sophomores, Colin Rickey (2:49.46) and Matt Gladysz (2:49.74), brought Shoreham-Wading River fourth and fifth place in the 1,000.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeffrey Pittman, who has been battling a sore ankle, covered 18 feet 11 3/4 inches to take sixth place in the long jump.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeffrey Pittman, who has been battling a sore ankle, covered 18 feet 11 3/4 inches to take sixth place in the long jump.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Max Maritato finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the high jump along with Mount Sinai junior Steven Boyce and Port Jefferson junior Daniel Gross. All three jumpers cleared 5-4.

Bishop McGann-Mercy’s 4×400 relay team clocked a time of 4:02.99 to finish fourth. The Monarchs also received sixth-place showings by junior Riley Knowles Join in the 1,000 (2:52.44) and senior Robert Folkes in the shot put (39-8).

Bayport-Blue Point was the top League V team with 128 points. Shoreham-Wading River (61 1/3) was fourth and McGann-Mercy (6) eighth.

A school record had been in Anthony Galvan’s sights for a while. On Sunday, he turned his dream into a reality, breaking Riverhead’s 3,200-meter indoor record by 3.07 seconds.

Galvan, a senior, posted a time of 10:13.17, which was good enough for third place in the League III Championships, not to mention a place in the Riverhead record books. The previous mark of 10:16.24 was set by Connor Marengo in 2006.

Finishing ahead of Galvan were North Babylon senior Kris Moran (9:56.50) and Hauppauge senior Ronny Cavaliere (9:59.97).

“He had a very deep personal commitment to breaking that record, and it certainly helps when you’re running with excellent competition to drive you to that,” Riverhead coach Sal Loverde said. “He’s a strong runner. He’s a committed athlete to his craft. He does all the work that he needs to do.”

Galvan also took fourth place in the 1,600 in 4:45.91 and ran a 2:12 leg in the 4×800 relay, which Riverhead took seventh in. “He had a great day,” said Loverde.

Riverhead finished fourth in the team scoring with 44 points. Half Hollow Hills West ran away with the league title with 125 points, 18 more than second-place North Babylon.

Loverde figured that Riverhead lost anywhere from 14 to 20 points by not having its best hurdler and best long jumper available to compete. Clifton Russell, a junior, was not feeling well and not present at the meet. “Not having Clifton Russell was a bit of an issue,” said Loverde.

But the Blue Waves still took 10 points from the triple jump thanks to the efforts of two juniors, Marcus Moore and Darren Jefferson. Moore finished second to Half Hollow Hills West’s Frederic Fils Aime (41-9 1/4) with a distance of 39-10. Jefferson, competing despite a sore ankle, was sixth at 38-8 1/4. Loverde said Moore landed a jump of around 41 feet, but lost distance when he tilted back upon hitting the sand, leaving a handprint.

Jefferson also grabbed third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.66 seconds. His teammate, sophomore Andrew Smith, was fourth in 8.76.

Riverhead senior Jeffrey Pittman didn’t do too badly himself, finishing fourth in the 55-meter dash in 6.81 and sixth in the long jump at 18-11 3/4.

Pittman had been working on a reduced training regimen because of a sore ankle. “He did what he needed to do to keep us competitive,” said Loverde.

Another Riverheader, sophomore Jacob Robinson, was fifth in the 300 meters in 38.67.

“It brings to a close a league competition that was very good for us,” Loverde said. “The kids rose to the occasion.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

12/10/12 4:34pm
12/10/2012 4:34 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia was honored as the top runner in the county.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia was honored as Suffolk County’s top runner at the cross country awards dinner following a tumultuous end of the season for everyone involved in the sport.

Udvadia became the third Shoreham runner to win the award, joining Dion Telting and Bobby Andrews in the exclusive club.

Udvadia ran 15 minutes, 57.1 seconds at the Division Championship in late October in one of the best races at Sunken Meadow State Park in years. Mike Branigan of Northport narrowly edged him for the victory.

Based on his body of work over the season, which included six invitational victories, Udvadia was selected over Branigan as the top runner.

At the state championship Udvadia was ninth overall in 16:08.8 among Class B runners.

He was one of four players to earn all-county honors along with Joe Whelan, Matt Gladysz and Dan Purschke.

The Wildcats won their 10th straight league title during the season and the county crown for the eighth time in the last 10 years. The two years they didn’t win they were second.

The end of the cross country season was thrown into disarray by Hurricane Sandy. The state qualifier meet had to be cancelled and the results from the divisions were used to determine which runners advanced.

Then, at the state championship, Southold freshman Ronan Guyer slipped and hit his chest on the ground during a practice run. He went into cardiac arrest and then into a coma at a Buffalo hospital. He later died from his injuries at the age of 14.

Shoreham coach Bob Szymanski looked over the Southold runners at the state meet while coach Karl Himmelmann stayed at the hospital.

joew@timesreview.com

10/23/12 6:31pm
10/23/2012 6:31 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia (454) at the front of the pack for the start of Tuesday’s championship race at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski has seen just about everything during his long tenure as the boys cross country coach.

But two sub-16 minute times at Sunken Meadow State Park?

Well, that’s about a once-a-decade kind of achievement.

Shoreham junior Ryan Udvadia ran personal record time of 15 minutes 57.1 seconds Tuesday afternoon at the Section XI Division Championship. It was a superb time that landed him the top spot in Division IV by more than a minute.

Amazingly, however, it still wasn’t the best time of the day.

Northport sophomore Mike Branigan narrowly edged Udvadia for the best time by running 15:56.3. Udvadia held a slight lead on Branigan as they raced down the final straightaway before Branigan found an extra kick with about 20 meters to go.

“I got near the finish and I started to kick,” Udvadia said. “I thought I had him.”

While Udvadia was disappointed in finishing second overall, Szymanski was thrilled to see him run such a fast time, even if it meant second place.

“This is one of the great races at Sunken Meadow,” Szymanski said.

In almost any other year, Udvadia would have been a winner by a wide margin. Only three runners have ran under 16 minutes at a division meet at Sunken Meadow since 1998 before Tuesday.

In 2004 two runners both ran under 16 minutes at the division championship when Kevin Tschirhart of Northport clocked in at 15:46.6 and Ryan Sheridan of Walt Whitman followed in 15:47.0.

The championship race at Sunken Meadow features the top two teams from each league. As the runners come across, the results are divided into four divisions. So the Wildcats ended up winning Division IV for the fifth time in the last six years.

It came down to Shoreham and Bayport-Blue Point. The Phantoms had the second and third runners behind Udvadia. But the Wildcats grabbed fourth and fifth behind senior Dan Purschke (17:22.4) and sophomore Matt Gladysz (17:28.9). Senior Joe Whelan (17:39.8) and junior Keith Steinbrecher (17:55.7) rounded out the top five for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats tallied 28 points to Bayport’s 37.

Shoreham narrowly edged Bayport in the first dual meet of the season, which propelled the Wildcats to an undefeated League VII title. Bayport will again be the team that stands in the way of the Wildcats winning the Class B county title, which would allow the entire team to head to the state championship.

Szymanski said the way Shoreham beat Bayport Tuesday, “it could psyche them out,” come the county championship. Although in that race, it’ll be a different makeup.

“You won’t see all these bodies in front,” Szymanski said, noting that it’ll basically be the two teams racing against each other in what will be the Class B-C-D championship.

Szymanski said Udvadia is a great hill runner, which makes Sunken Meadow an ideal course for him with its infamous ‘cardiac’ hill.

“He’s probably the best hill runner here,” Szymanski said. “If you saw the race, you don’t see him most of the time. He’s fourth, fifth. So when he came out someone said, ‘Look, it’s Udvadia!’ And I said I told you, he’ll be there, no worse than third.”

Branigan is a standout 1,600-meter runner in track, giving him better leg speed than Udvadia.

Szymanski said the only mistake Udvadia made was giving Branigan too much room going into the cardiac hill.

“You made up 25 meters and he beat you by a second,” Szymanski told him. “If you’re 10 yards closer, you win that race.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan ran 17:13.7 to finish sixth in Division II Tuesday.

Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan ran a personal best time of 17:13.7 to finish in sixth place in Division II. He’ll get a chance to compete next week at the state qualifier.

Coming into the race Galvan hoped to break 17 minutes. But he was still happy to shave two seconds off his previous best.

“My last PR before this was 17:29 and then I dropped it to 17:15 a week ago,” he said. “I knew if I wanted to get into guaranteed states I’d have to do it again by 15 [seconds]. But at least I PR’d and I’m into all-league, all-county.”

Riverhead coach Patrick Burke said Galvan has been improving his time every race since his sophomore season.

“I’m really proud of him,” Burke said. “As a coach he’s everything you ever wanted. I just feel for him that he didn’t meet his goal in his mind. If you PR every single race, you can’t do more than that.”

Galvan has been a two-time captain for the Blue Waves, who went 3-2 in League IV dual meets putting them in a three-way tie for second place.

In a competitive championship race that features the top runners in the county, it can create a crowded race. Galvan said he prefers it that way.

“You always have someone to stick next to you,” he said. “Someone’s always trying to pass you. You just latch on to someone and you’ll be fine.”

Galvan started the race near several Walt Whitman runners, who he met during the summer at a camp.

“I tried to stick with them, but I know they’re a lot better than me,” he said. “So I’m like, if I lose them, I lose them. But at least I have them in sight.”

Riverhead junior Joseph Gattuso ran the next fastest time for the Blue Waves in 19:02.9. He was 21st overall in Division II.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman ran 20:32.5 in the championship race Tuesday.

The Shoreham-Wading River girls competed in the team championship race and freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman posted the top time in 20:32.5 for 10th in Division III.

Four of Shoreham’s top five runners were in 10th grade or younger. Eighth-grader Ali Hays ran 21:32.3 and sophomore Maddy Kelly ran 21:59.0, which was the first time she cracked 22 minutes, Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki said.

The Wildcats had a strong league season, going 4-1 and losing only to Miller Place, the Division III champion.

Looking ahead to the state qualifier, Ohrtman will have the best chance to qualify for the state meet. The top five in each class go the states in addition to the winning team.

“She’s probably sitting fifth, sixth now in the B’s,” Koretzki said.

The Riverhead girls ran in the team qualifier race. Junior Rachel Conti posted the top time in 22:36. She was 28th overall in a race of 179 runners.

“She’s a top athlete in track and this is her first year [running cross country],” Burke said. “I told her it’s a mental game. They don’t understand that cross country is a completely different animal.”

The Blue Waves have a young team, which could be primed for big things next year, Burke said.

“We’re going to be focused next year on putting the girls team on the map,” he said. “I’ve said that before, but I really feel we finally have a commitment.”

joew@timesreview.com