06/01/13 7:33pm
06/01/2013 7:33 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Port Jefferson's James Burke, left, ran around Shoreham-Wading River's Ryan Udvadia about 1,200 meters into the 1,600-meter final.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Port Jefferson’s James Burke, left, ran around Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Udvadia about 1,200 meters into the 1,600-meter final.


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.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

“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.

[email protected]

05/31/13 9:14pm
05/31/2013 9:14 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle cleared 15 feet, breaking his own school record by 3 inches. He took first place while teammates Charles Villa (14-0) and Jonah Spaeth (14-0) were second and third, respectively.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle cleared 15 feet, breaking his own school record by 3 inches. He took first place while teammates Charles Villa (14-0) and Jonah Spaeth (14-0) were second and third, respectively.


Dan Normoyle has a personal motto that he is ready to offer whenever he is asked how high he can pole vault. “The sky’s the limit,” he says.

It’s an apropos motto for a pole vaulter. Pole vaulters, after all, are a special breed. They are adventurous, courageous, often free-spirited, and they tend to not put limits on themselves as they soar to greater and greater heights.

They are dealing with a flukish event in which so many things can go wrong. But on Friday, so many things went right for Normoyle and his fellow Riverhead pole vaulters.

It was as simple — and impressive — as one, two, three.

Riverhead pole vaulters, led by Normoyle’s record-setting performance, swept the top three places in the Section XI individual championship state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School.

Normoyle, a senior, cleared 15 feet on his last attempt at that height, surpassing the school record of 14-9 that he set last week in the division championships. But that wasn’t the only notable element of the day’s proceedings. Riverhead junior Charles Villa took second place at 14-0, edging teammate Jonah Spaeth, a senior who also cleared that height, by a tiebreaker.

“Being able to say we took one, two, three in the county championships is really cool,” said Normoyle.

Normoyle cleared 14-6 on his first try, and that must have helped him toward the record, saving energy required for each attempt. He said he believed he could handle 15 feet. “That was the big thing,” he said. “I knew I could do it, so it definitely gave me the confidence to do it.”

Normoyle missed all three of his attempts at 15-5.

“Fifteen-five would have been nice,” said Normoyle, who qualified along with Villa for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.

The three Riverheaders were among the top four seeds in the meet, with Normoyle the favorite. A persuasive argument could be made that this is the golden era for Riverhead pole vaulting.

Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski thinks it is.

“I never heard of that [happening] in the pole vault, that the top three [places] are swept,” by one team, he said. “It’s not like it’s a bad year in the pole vault. It’s probably one of the better years in the pole vault in Suffolk County. So, to do it, they almost raised the bar for the whole county, these guys.”

Referring to the one, two, three finish, Riverhead’s pole vaulting coach, John Andresen, said, “It is almost unheard of.”

Smithtown West senior Karl Nilsen, who was obviously struggling with an ankle injury, was tied for fourth with Mount Sinai junior Charlie Kollmer at 13-6. After the three Riverheaders were the last ones still in the competition, Normoyle said he told a coach, “This might be history.”

It is the third time this season that Riverhead’s pole vault record was raised. Spaeth set a school record last year when he reached 14-6. Then, earlier this season, Normoyle and Villa both cleared 14-6, leaving a three-way tie for the school mark that lasted for about five minutes before Normoyle hit 14-9.

Spaeth, who went to the state meet last year, will miss out this year, but Normoyle and Villa will make their first appearances in the state competition.

“I always wanted it,” Villa said. “I get to go, finally, after all the years of dreaming of going to the states.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River made up ground quickly and surged to victory in the 3,200-meter final in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River made up ground quickly and surged to victory in the 3,200-meter final in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

UDVADIA GIVES SZYMANSKI A SCARE Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski was kidding — or at least it sounded like he was kidding — when he said he thought he was going to need a defibrillator as he watched the thrilling finish to the 3,200-meter final.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia trailed Northport sophomore Mike Brannigan by about 25 meters with some 200 meters to go, and Szymanski appeared to be panicking, worrying that Udvadia had given Brannigan too much of a cushion.

Not so, though. The top-seeded Udvadia made up ground quickly, taking the lead for the first time while coming off the final turn and winning in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds.

Szymanski could do without that kind of drama.

“I have faith in him, but … it’s still scary,” the coach said. “The only thing I saw that was in our favor was the kid looked back over his shoulder. Someone heard Ryan was coming.”

Brannigan ended up in third place in 9:23.72. He was passed by a teammate, junior Tim McGowan (9:20.60), for second place.

Another Shoreham junior, Connor McAlary, was 10th in 10:01.37. Riverhead junior Travis Wooten came in 18th in 10:22.77.

Udvadia said he was nervous, but confident at the same time. He sensed Brannigan starting to slow down with 400 meters to go.

Known for his late kick. Udvadia had something left in the tank for the strong finish.

“It was painful and tough, but I got it,” said Udvadia, who is headed to his first outdoor state meet. “Even when I don’t think I have a kick, I do have a kick.”

An example was the Penn Relays earlier this season. Udvadia was seeded 14th in the 16-runner 1,600 race. He went from dead last to finish seventh in 4:15.64.

Udvadia said he took a glance at Szymanski during Friday’s race and knew his coach was stressed. “I saw the look on his face,” Udvadia said. “I could tell he was talking to himself.”

TRACK NOTES Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Israel Squires finished fourth in the long jump, covering 21-9.

[email protected]

05/23/13 11:35pm
05/23/2013 11:35 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright crosses the finish line first in the 200-meter dash Thursday at the Division III Championship.


Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright sprinted to a pair of victories Thursday at the Division III Championship and nearly led a relay team to another win.

Wright won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at Connetquot High School as the Wildcats finished second in team scoring behind Bayport-Blue Point.

Wright ran 10.99 seconds in the 100. He easily secured the victory in the 200 by running 22.10. Jared Gray of Bayport finished behind Wright in 22.64 for second.

The Wildcats tallied 95.33 points for second place behind the Phantoms, who ran away with the championship with 172.

The Wildcats finished second in the 4 x 100 relay by the slimmest of margins. Wyandanch crossed the finish line a tenth of a second ahead of the Wildcats.

Wright ran the opening leg of the relay, before handing off to Max Maritato. Bryce Casey ran the third leg before handing the baton to Isreal Squires for the final 100 meters.

The Wildcats finished in 44.33 while Wyandanch crossed in 44.32.

Squires ran the last leg on an injured ankle he suffered just before the meet on Tuesday, the first day of competition. The injury prevented Squires from competing in the triple and high jump. He long jumped 22 feet for third.

Junior Ryan Udvadia won the 1,600 in 4:25.79. He outckicked Port Jefferson sophomore James Burke down the final 100 meters for the victory.

Shoreham’s 4 x 800 relay team of Udvadia, Keith Steinbrecher, Jack Kelly and Matt Gladysz took first in 8:27.3.

Steinbrecher was third in the 3,000 steeplechase in 10:28.24.

[email protected]

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.


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).

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

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.


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.”

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

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


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.”

[email protected]