05/29/14 2:23pm
05/29/2014 2:23 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Keith Steinbrecher is seeded second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the state qualifier. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Keith Steinbrecher is seeded second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the state qualifier. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

The Section XI track and field state qualifier will be held at Port Jefferson High School Friday and Saturday. The winner of each event earns a spot at the state meet, as well as the second-place finisher who has posted the qualifying standard. One athlete from Division II also qualifies in each event. (more…)

05/24/14 1:00pm
05/24/2014 1:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Matt Gladysz hands off the baton to Connor McAlary in the 4 x 800 relay Friday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Matt Gladysz hands off the baton to Connor McAlary in the 4 x 800 relay Friday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Reflecting back on his running career, Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Syzmanski described the steeplechase as the “toughest event I’ve ever done.”

Considering the length of the race (3,000 meters), and obstacles (a water pit included!), it’s no surprise Shoreham senior Keith Steinbrecher agrees with his coach on that assessment.  (more…)

05/23/14 8:58pm
05/23/2014 8:58 PM
Riverhead sophomore Zikel Riddick jumped 20-11 1/4 in the long jump Friday at the Division II Championship. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead sophomore Zikel Riddick jumped 20-11 1/4 in the long jump Friday at the Division II Championship. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SECTION XI DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

Charles Villa doesn’t measure his success by the heights he clears in the pole vault. Rather, the Riverhead senior judges himself by the pole he uses to vault.

“I set goals in poles,” he said. “Because I know the height will come. It’s there. I just got to get on the right pole with the right steps.”  (more…)

05/22/14 5:00pm
05/22/2014 5:00 PM
McGann-Mercy senior Danisha Carter, shown here Monday in the preliminaries, ran a personal best time in the 200-dash Wednesday at the Division III Championships. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

McGann-Mercy senior Danisha Carter, shown here Monday in the preliminaries, ran a personal best time in the 200-dash Wednesday at the Division III Championships. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

In a 4 x 100-meter relay, every handoff is crucial. One small misstep can be all that it takes to squash a top time.

When McGann-Mercy’s relay team ran the preliminaries of the Division III Championships Monday at Connetquot High School, a shaky handoff between the first two legs served as important reminder. Back at practice the next day, the Monarchs spent a good chunk of time rehearsing the critical handoffs.  (more…)

02/27/14 5:44pm
02/27/2014 5:44 PM

New York’s best high school track and field athletes will compete Saturday in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships. Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa will not be among them.

Although Villa had qualified for what would have been his first indoor state meet, the senior has been withdrawn from the event because of an ankle injury, said Riverhead coach Sal Loverde. Villa sprained his left ankle during a warmup at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational last week and didn’t compete in that meet. (more…)

01/25/14 5:06pm
01/25/2014 5:06 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | The Riverhead 4 x 400 relay team won the League III title Saturday afternoon. The team consisted of (from left) senior Davion Porter, junior Jacob Robinson and seniors Marcus Moore and Daniel Czelatka.

LEAGUE III CHAMPIONSHIP

Before the start of the League III Championship Saturday afternoon, Riverhead coach Sal Loverde talked to his team about coming to compete, rather than simply coming to run.

The message got through. (more…)

01/11/14 3:23pm
01/11/2014 3:23 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead’s Charles Villa cleared 15-01 in the pole vault at The Armory Saturday to finish in first place.

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.

12/12/13 5:00pm
12/12/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Charles Villa enters this season as the favorite in the county for the pole vault.

The three Amigos are down to one.

Last year, the Riverhead boys track team had a pole-vaulting group for the ages. Three pole vaulters were all among the top in the county, each with the potential to clear the highest height at any particular meet.

Now, with two of those vaulters in college, it’s junior Charles Villa who’s left to carry the torch this year as the winter season begins.

Villa comes into the season off a tremendous spring season at the end of last year. He cleared 14 feet at the state qualifier to earn a trip to states along with teammate Dan Normoyle.

“It is a little strange,” coach Sal Loverde said of having the other two pole vaulters no longer around. “What’s really nice about it is, he’s really accepting that independence in a sense of leadership and really cultivating some young talent. We’ve got some young kids that are very, very motivated and interested in pole vaulting. He’s starting to lay that hook in them.”

Pole vaulting is not an event that’s contested at the crossover meets during the winter season, but Villa will still be working toward the end of the season and the state qualifier.

Villa enters the season as the favorite to earn a trip to the state championship.

Loverde said Villa is already clearing big heights.

“He’s rocking and rolling,” Loverde said. “He’s looking very, very solid.”

The Blue Waves return a deep team all-around, including one of the strongest running cores that Loverde said the school has ever had. Coming off a league championship season in cross country, runners have taken the next step into winter track.

“We have a lot of kids that are really building and moving toward being very point-scoring competitive,” Loverde said.

Travis Wooten, Ryan DiResta, Joseph Gattusso and Eric and Nick Cunha will all make up the distance core for Riverhead.

Loverde said he’s excited in the potential of some of the younger runners as well.

The distance core gives the Blue Waves the chance to run a competitive 4 x 800 relay team, something the team hasn’t had in recent years. The 4 x 400 team should also be strong this year, with a chance to break the school record, Loverde said.

Senior Marcus Moore returns in the triple jump after placing second in the league championship last year. Loverde said Moore is already jumping around 43 feet at the start of the season. He jumped 39-10 at last year’s league championship.

Sophomore Curtis Flippen returns in the jumping events as well. Loverde said Flippen has the potential to clear 6-2 or 6-4 in the high jump this season.

Junior Andrew Smith returns in the sprints and hurdles.

“I think that he’s going to surprise a lot of people and have a very solid season in the hurdles,” Loverde said. “He’ll be competing to a county level, no question.”

Junior Jacob Robinson returns as sprinter as well who can also compete in some jumping events.

The ongoing construction at Riverhead will make it difficult for the Blue Waves to practice indoors at times if the weather is poor.

“It limits our versatility in terms of inside workouts, so we’re going to be outside with snow shovels if we have to,” Loverde said.

joew@timesreview.com