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.


06/08/13 3:25pm
06/08/2013 3:25 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle.


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.”


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.


05/09/13 7:37pm
05/09/2013 7:37 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Mercy junior Delina Auciello won three individual events Thursday against Port Jefferson.

The drive for five came to fruition Thursday.

The Bishop McGann-Mercy girls track & field team clinched its fifth straight League VIII championship with an 87-57 victory at Port Jefferson to finish 6-0.

Even after losing several key athletes from last year’s team, the young Monarchs complied another dominant season, winning nearly every dual meet going away.

Mercy junior Delina Auciello won three individual events against the Royals and ran the opening leg of the winning 4 x 800 relay. Battling through an illness, Auciello won the 400-hurdles (1:10.2), 800 (2:33.1) and 3,000 (12:05.4).

She opened up a big lead at the start of the 4 x 800 before Tori Barlow, Dayna Young and Meg Tuthill closed it out.

Tuthill, a freshman, had a big day as well. She won the 1,500 (5:36), took second in the 400-hurdles (1:10.4) while also running on the winning 4 x 400 relay.

Junior Danisha Carter won the 100 (13.9) and 200 (26.2). Her time in the 200 guaranteed her a spot at the state qualifiers.

The Monarchs also got first-place finishes in the 400 from sophomore Delaney Macchirole (1:03.1), the shot put from junior Jackie Spinella and the race walk from junior Colleen Edwards (9:09.4).

BILL LANDON PHOTO | McGann-Mercy freshman Meg Tuthill reaches for the baton during a relay Thursday at Port Jefferson.

04/30/13 4:00pm
04/30/2013 4:00 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Danielle Gehring has signed to play basketball for Chestnut Hill College (Penn.).

COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Gehring signs with D-II school Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Danielle Gehring signed a letter of intent to play for Chestnut Hill College, a Division II Catholic college in Germantown, Penn.

Gehring did not play basketball for McGann-Mercy her senior season. She instead opted to spend the season working out with the boys’ varsity team. She also took part in clinics, worked with basketball, speed and agility trainers and former professional players.

Gehring was McGann-Mercy’s most valuable player her junior season, averaging 12 points, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 3 3-pointers per game. She was an all-league selection.

Gehring and her younger sister, Caroline, will travel to Austria and Germany in June to represent the United States in an international basketball tournament. Her two older sisters play basketball for DeSales University, a Division III school that is a 45-minute drive away from Chestnut Hill.

Gehring said, “I visited Chestnut Hill and fell in love with the school.”

COLLEGE WOMEN’S GOLF: Accolades for Santacroce Marie Santacroce of Mattituck, a sophomore at Flagler College (Fla.), was recently named to the All-Peach Belt Conference First Team. Santacroce finished in fourth place in the conference and led Flagler in tournament scoring average this year. She was also named Flagler’s most valuable player. Santacroce ended the season with eight top-10 finishes, three top-five finishes and one first-place finish during season.

COLLEGE MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Clancy sets personal records SUNY/Oneonta sophomore Michael Clancy of Shoreham recorded two personal-best marks recently in the discus and hammer throw at the Upstate Track Classic. He took third place in the discus with a toss of 136 feet and fourth in the hammer throw with a distance of 150-2.

COLLEGE WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Two firsts for Riley UConn freshman Melodee Riley of Jamesport had a big weekend for the Huskies in an invitational meet at Brown University in Rhode Island. Riley took first place in both the long jump (5.41 meters) and the triple jump (11.90).

COLLEGE WOMEN’S ROWING: Orient rower helps league champions For the third time in as many seasons, William Smith College captured the Liberty League championship with a dominating performance on Fish Creek in Saratoga Springs. Libby Hughes of Orient competed on the varsity eight team that defeated St. Lawrence, RIT, Skidmore and Union for the title. In calm, flat conditions, William Smith’s varsity eight, ranked third in this week’s CRCA/USRowing poll, defended its league title with a 2,000-meter time of 6 minutes 44.0 seconds. It is the sixth overall league championship for the Herons.

For the third time this spring and the seventh time this year, the William Smith varsity eight was named the Liberty League Women’s Rowing Boat of the Week by the conference office.

BASEBALL: MLB pitch, hit, run competition A free Major League Baseball pitch, hit and run competition for area youths will be held May 11 at 4 p.m. at Tasker Park in Peconic. Boys and girls in four age divisions (7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14) will have the chance to advance through four levels of competition, including team championships at major league stadiums and the national finals at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. The individual pitching, hitting and running champions, along with the all-around champions in each age and gender group at the local competition, will be awarded and advance to the sectional level of competition. All participants must bring a copy of their birth certificate and have a parent or guardian fill out a registration/waiver form prior to the start of the competition. For more information, call Brian Hansen at (631) 553-3940.

RUNNING: 5K for moms The For Our Moms 5K will be run on May 11 in Cutchogue. A fun run for kids will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 5K run/walk at 8:45 a.m. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. The pre-registration cost is $25. Day-of-the-race registration costs $30. The fun run fee is $10. To register, go to www.active.com. For more information, call (631) 680-9223. All proceeds from the event will benefit Danielle Fogarty’s Campaign for the Long Island Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

03/09/13 10:59am
03/09/2013 10:59 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 FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle set a school record Friday in the pole vault at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.

Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle set a school record Friday by clearing 15 feet 3 1/2 inches in the pole vault at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York.

Normoyle finished second in the emerging elite division behind Sean McEvoy of Fordham Prep, who cleared the same height but took first based on the number of jumps.

Normoyle came into the meet after a fifth-place finish at the New York State Championships last weekend when he cleared 14-06, which matched the previous record also held by senior Jonah Spaeth.

Spaeth had an impressive showing as well at the Nationals, clearing 14-03 1/2 for fourth place. Junior Charles Villa also competed in the competition but did not clear an opening height.

It’s been a banner year for the three pole vaulters this winter. The Blue Waves nearly sent all three to states. And at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational Feb. 23, all three cleared 14 feet, a rare feet in the pole vault.

“It’s never been done on Long Island, I don’t believe, certainly not in Riverhead,” Riverhead pole vaulting coach John “Doc” Andresen said after the meet.

The Indoor Nationals continues today and Sunday. Click here for live video coverage.


02/12/13 11:26pm
02/12/2013 11:26 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia won the 1,600 Tuesday night and also was second in the 3,200 to qualify for the state meet in both events.

Ryan Udvadia’s expression never wavered. There was no hint of concern, no panic anywhere in sight.

Running from behind is his style.

Through the first few laps of the 3,200-meter race Tuesday night at the Section XI State Qualifier at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, the Shoreham-Wading River junior casually drifted in the back of a crowd of a dozen runners as if on an afternoon jog through the neighborhood.

“He’s got a very good kick,” said Shoreham coach Brian Wrinkle. “And he knows if he stays with the pack, he’ll be able to use that to his advantage.”

Udvadia put the “kick” on display late in the race, briefly surging into first before North Babylon senior Kris Moran hit an extra gear to win the race down the stretch. Udvadia, the top seed in the event, settled for second in 9 minute 25.94 seconds, which still earned him a trip to the state championship March 2. Moran won in 9:24.78.

A second-place finish left Udvadia disappointed, but his night wasn’t done yet. He still had the 1,600, which had always been his second event this winter after the 3,200. He came into the qualifier seeded fifth in the 1,600 and even his coaches before the start weren’t too sure if he could qualify, especially since he was the only one in the group to have already run a race.

Udvadia shocked everyone when he raced to the front of the pack in the final lap, comfortably winning down the stretch in 4:28.0.

“In a distance race you never know how it’s going to develop,” Wrinkle said. “You never know how it’s going to start and where it’s going to go. And both races just fit into his race strategy.”

Udvadia said with three laps to go in the 1,600, he could see Mike Branigan of Northport start to kick. Udvadia stayed with him, but didn’t want to push too hard yet. Going into the final lap on the straightaway, Udvadia passed him and turned it up for one all-out lap around the track.

“I got a little nervous at this point because I hear everyone cheering everyone’s name and I was slightly turning my eyes so I could see what was going on,” he said.

What he could see at the end was a first-place finish and two opportunities to run at the state championship.

“Once the state meet comes I should be able to break 4:20 and 9:10,” Udvadia said. “Those are my goals.”

Udvadia became the first Shoreham runner to qualify in two events in the indoor season since Bobby Andrews in 2009. Andrews did it in the same two events and won both.

“It’s a dream come true,” Udvadia said. “It really is.”

The pace in both events Tuesday wasn’t terribly fast at the start, which tends to happen at a big meet, Wrinkle said, where the times are less of a motivator.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham junior Jordan Wright finished fourth in the 55-dash.

“Big races become strategy,” he said. “I just think people run differently in these races.”

With 400 meters to go in the 1,600, Udvadia knew he had a chance of winning.

“I realized how close I was to Branigan and how much energy I had,” he said.

The slow pace at the start signaled to Wrinkle that Udvadia would be in it at the end.

“I knew it was going to be a kicker’s race and I was more and more confident,” he said. “He came back 15 seconds faster in the second half, which he does.”

Udvadia plans to run both events at the state meet and could have a chance to medal in both. The 3,200 will still likely be his better event.

“He never ceases to surprise me,” Wrinkle said.

While Udvadia was the only local athlete to qualify for the state meet, another Shoreham runner missed out by the narrowest of margins. In the 55-dash, junior Jordan Wright placed fourth in the finals, missing third place by one-hundredth of a second, which would have qualified him for states. The top two finishers in each event qualify, plus the third place finisher if the qualifying standard is met.

Wright ran 6.73 seconds in the finals, topping his previous best of 6.76 that he set in the preliminaries. The qualifying standard was 6.74.

“I was just hoping to get into the finals,” Wright said. “I did better than I expected to.”

Wright played basketball in the winter in previous years. But after a successful track season last spring, he opted to stick with the sport this year for both seasons.

At the start of the finals, Wright said it was “nerve-wracking.”

“I just figured I’d go all out,” he said. “This race may be my last, but I’ll try to get the best time I can possibly get.”

In the fall Wright played football, which delayed his start to the track season.

“I think with this conditioning in as he gets ready for the outdoor season, he’s going to be in great shape,” Wrinkle said.

Riverhead junior Daren Jefferson had the top finish for the Blue Waves. He jumped 40 feet 10 1/2 inches in the triple jump for sixth.

For the girls, Shoreham senior Laura Lee was the closest to qualifying. She ran 1:42.43 in the 600 to finish fifth. Mercy junior Delina Auciello was sixth in the 600 in 1:43.32.

In the 1,000 Mercy freshman Meg Tuthill was sixth in 3:14.09. Riverhead sophomore Maria Dillingham won her heat in a personal best time of 3:14.79 to finish seventh.

Shoreham freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman was eighth in the 3,000 (10:58.14) and 13th in the 1,500 (5:11.78).