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).