05/22/13 9:08pm
05/22/2013 9:08 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Rachel Clement finished fourth in the pentathlon on the second day of the Division II Championship Wednesday at Connetquot High School.


After winning the triple jump on the first day of the Division II Championship Monday, Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill picked up two more medals Wednesday on the final day of competition at Connetquot High School.

Braunskill ran 12.71 seconds in the 100-meter dash to finish third. She followed that with a second-place finish in the long jump. On her first attempt, she cleared 17 feet 2 1/4 inches, her best mark of the year. She couldn’t top that on her next five attempts and settled for second behind North Babylon’s Nailah Jones (17-08).

A second-place finish would have been great for most jumpers. Not for Braunskill, who was visibly frustrated after the long jump ended.

“She wants to be No. 1,” said Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis. “If she’s not No. 1, she’s not satisfied. She’s pretty hard on herself.”

The Blue Waves finished fifth as a team in Division II with 41 points. Braunskill accounted for 24 of those.

Sophomore Rachel Clement competed in her first-ever pentathlon and tallied 2,226 points to finish fourth. She long jumped 14-08 1/2 Wednesday before running the 800. She finished fourth in that race in 2:38.18. On Monday she ran 20.02 in the 100-hurdles, high jumped 4-07 3/4 and threw 24-11 3/4 in the shot put.

Junior Destiny McElroy came into the meet with high hopes in the 400-hurdles. But she caught an unfortunate break.

She ran in the 400-dash Monday and surprisingly qualified for the finals Wednesday. That meant she had to run the 400 finals before her main event, the 400-hurdles. There was supposed to be one event in between the two, which would have given her about 35 minutes between events, still a quick turnaround.

But as she prepared to run the 400, an official announced that the 400-hurdles were being switched with the 800 of the pentathlon, pinning McElroy’s two events back-to-back.

“They’re trying to kill me,” McElroy said, smiling, on the track before starting the 400.

McElroy ran a slow pace in the 400 to try to conserve energy and finished a distant sixth in 1:05.4. Still, she didn’t have enough left in the tank for the hurdles and settled for fifth in 1:08.52.

She had about 10 minutes between races.

“She’s a victim of her own success,” Riverhead coach Justin Cobis said.

Junior Danielle Thomas cleared a personal best 9 feet in the pole vault and finished fourth. Teammate Christy Brewer was fifth after clearing 8-6.

Thomas was a surprise in the long jump as well. She qualified for the finals and took seventh with a top mark of 15-11 1/4. Thomas had little left in the tank on her final three jumps after already pole vaulting earlier in the meet.

Riverhead’s 4 x 800 relay team shaved 16 seconds off its best time. The quartet of Rachel Conti, Maria Dillingham, Megan Carrick and Meghan Van Bommel ran 10:17.08 for ninth.

In Division III Shoreham-Wading River finished sixth with 40 1/2 points. Senior Meghan Serdock had a huge performance in the throwing events. She won the discus Monday with a top mark of 100-11. She followed that with a second-place finish in the shot put Wednesday by throwing 31-07 1/2.

McGann-Mercy was 11th in D-III with 18 points. Junior Danisha Carter was third in the 100 in 13.02 and fourth in the 200 in 26.55. Junior Delina Auciello ran the 2,000 steeplechase and finished third in 7:38.19.


04/18/13 8:56pm
04/18/2013 8:56 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy junior Danisha Carter won two individual events Thursday after breaking a school record in the 200 last Saturday.

When Danisha Carter joined the track & field team at McGann-Mercy last year for the first time, she found the perfect mentor in Sasa Vann.

As an all-state sprinter, Vann finished her career last spring with multiple school records, including in the 100, 200 and 400 for the outdoor season.

“She was always the one to go to for anything,” Carter said. “I’ve always looked up to her and wanted to be, if not as good as her, just match up to her time wise.”

Now a junior, Carter has become the go-to runner for the Monarchs in sprinting events. And it didn’t take her long to match her former teammate in one event.

At the Suffolk Coaches’ Meet Saturday in Bay Shore, Carter ran 26.4 seconds in the 200-meter dash to break the school record previously held by Vann.

“It was a big thing for me,” Carter said.

It’s not often records fall so early in the season. Carter’s ability to run a personal best time at this point in the season speaks volumes on her potential.

Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said Carter has a good chance of making it to states later this spring. Babylon junior Ashley Lucas would be the toughest challenger to Carter in Division II, Turnbull said.

“Next year she could probably be top-three [overall] in the county,” Turnbull said.

There were no record runs for Carter Thursday, but she still did her part in helping the Monarchs roll past Ross School in a dual meet at Mercy. Carter won the 100 and 200 and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4 x 100 relay team.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Matt Abazis races ahead of teammate Patrick Derenze Thursday.

The Monarchs cruised to a 105-27 victory against the short-handed Cosmos, who had only seven girls at the meet.

In a meet that didn’t feature much drama — several races had runners competing unopposed or only against a teammate — Carter and three teammates delivered the highlight.

In the 4 x 100 relay, Ross raced out to about a seven-meter lead after the first two legs. But Lindsey Woodhull quickly closed that gap after grabbing the baton on the third leg. By the time Carter received the baton, she had only a few strides to make up.

Carter surged into first and cruised down the final straightaway for the victory in :57.3.

“When we started I was like, ‘Oh God, we’re so far behind,’ ” Carter said. “But [Lindsey] picked it up.”

It was a mishmash group running the relay. For Carter it was her first time running the 4 x 1 after running the 4 x 4 in previous meets. Carter and Woodhull had never exchanged the baton before in the event.

“It was pretty good,” Carter said. “I’m glad [Lindsey] picked it up. We switched up positions in the beginning a couple times and then we got it down.”

In the 100 Carter ran 13.2 and in the 200 she ran 27.8.

Junior Delina Auciello won a pair of events Thursday for Mercy. She ran the 400-hurdles in 1:14.4 and the 1,500 in 5:36.8. Freshman Meg Tuthill won the 3,000 in 11:56 and was second in the 400-hurdles in 1:18.3.

Auciello finished third in the 3,000 at the Suffolk Coaches Meet in 11:22.1. Tuthill ran a 5:03.7 in the 1,500 at the same meet.

Against Ross, Adafih Blackburn won the 100-hurdles in :20.7 and Dayna Young won the 800 in 2:52.4. Maddie Joinnides won the 400 in 1:03.3.

The Mercy boys competed against Ross at the same meet Thursday and won in similarly dominant fashion. Ross had only seven boys competing and the Monarchs won 101-19.

Junior Matt Abazis won the 1,600 (5:10) and the 800 (2:11.7).

Junior Luis Cintron ran uncontested in the 110-hurdles and posted a time of 18.4. He also won the 400-hurdles in 1:03.2.

Riley Joinnides won the 400 in :57.1 and the 3,200 in a race all by himself in 11:41.9. Alex Fabrizio won the 100 in 12.3.


04/11/13 8:23pm
04/11/2013 8:23 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Isreal Squires jumped 21 feet in the long jump Thursday in a dual meet against Mount Sinai.


Isreal Squires is no fan of the cold. Especially when it comes to jumping.

When the Shoreham-Wading River boys track team competed in its first dual meet of the season in late March, snowfall forced the final few events to be cancelled.

“It was really cold,” the Shoreham-Wading River sophomore said.

Under more ideal conditions Thursday against Mount Sinai, Squires showed off his versatility and potential by winning three individual events plus running in a victorious relay as the Wildcats won 86-57 in League VII.

The highlight for Squires came in the high jump, where he cleared a personal best 6 feet.

“When the weather gets warmer, he’ll perform better,” said Shoreham coach Bob Szymanski. “He doesn’t like the cold. I tried to get him out for winter track, but he injured his ankle in football.”

Back to full strength, Squires came close to clearing 6-2 in the high jump. He could have taken another attempt, but with the meet winding down, his legs were needed to anchor the 4 x 100 relay team.

Squires darted from the high jump area to the track where he lined up to take the baton for the final 100 meters. By the time the baton arrived in his hand, the victory was well in hand and Squires cruised in for the victory as the Wildcats finished in 46 seconds.

Squires was a part of a three-headed monster for the Wildcats. Junior Ryan Udvadia took care of the distance events by winning the 3,200, 1,600 and 800. Junior Jordan Wright dominated in the sprints by winning the 100 dash and 200. Wright  ran the opening leg of the 4 x 100 relay and Udvadia closed out the 4 x 800 relay for the Wildcats.

As Udvadia cruised around the bend for the final 200 meters of the relay, a teammate yelled out to him that someone was right behind him. Udvadia didn’t flinch, knowing he was all by himself.

“It’s awesome,” Squires said of watching Wright and Udvadia. “Because you know you’re going to win, especially with Ryan. He runs like a 4:17 mile. That’s crazy.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia leads the pack in the 800.

Udvadia ran the 1,600 in 4:47 against the Mustangs to conserve some energy with no real threat to him on the track. With a competitive fight for second place unfolding, Udvadia slowed down at times to try to rally in teammate Keith Steinbrecher. It wasn’t enough, however, as Steinbrecher settled for third.

In the 3,200 Udvadia won in 10:10.1 Steinbrecher took third in 10:14.4.

“Udvadia stepped up for me,” Syzmanski said. “I usually will not put him in more than three races in a meet, particularly how hard that is.”

In the 800 Udvadia won in 2:01.

“It just shows how gutty a kid he is that he ran all four races,” Szymanski said.

Udvadia had about 10 minutes to recover between his first two races, the 1,600 and 800. Then he had about 30 minutes before running the 3,200.

Squires began the meet by jumping 21 feet in the long jump. He followed that with a victory in the 400 dash in 52.7.

The 400 will ultimately be his top event when the season heats up in May.

“The 400 is my favorite,” Squires said.

Szymanski said Squires has the potential to be top-three in the division in the long jump and high jump.

“If he’s fresh he’ll do 6-2, 6-3 this year,” Szymanski said. “And he’s only a sophomore.”

Wright, a state qualifier during the winter season, ran the 100 in 11.0 and the 200 in 22.9. The Wildcats also got a big day from junior Matt Leunig, who won the 400-hurdles in 1:01.7 and was second in the 110-hurdles in 18.0.

Senior Kyle Fleming won the shot put with a top mark of 43-6 1/2 and was second in the discus (123).

In the pole vault senior Tom Sager cleared 12-0 for second place. Junior Max Maritato was second in the high jump at 5-8 and also ran on the 4 x 100 relay team.

Shoreham improved to 3-0 in dual meets, setting the stage for what will likely be a fight to the finish with Bayport-Blue Point. The Wildcats and Phantoms will meet in the final meet of the season.


04/08/13 9:47pm
04/08/2013 9:47 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead junior Rachel Conti (left) crossed a step ahead of sophomore Maria Dillingham in the 3,000 Monday against Hills West.


There were no happier girls on the Riverhead track team Monday afternoon than Rachel Conti and Maria Dillingham.

Before the start of the relays against Half Hollow Hills West — the final three events of the League IV dual meet — the coaches for both teams conferred to determine the score. When the points were tallied, the Blue Waves realized they had enough points to clinch the victory without needing to win any relays.

That meant a chance for Conti, a junior, and Dillingham, a sophomore, to catch their breath.

The duo had already combined to a run a total of 10,600 meters in the two-hour meet. They went first and second in the 1,500, 800 and 3,000 — the three longest individual events of a dual meet not including the race walk.

“I was honestly ecstatic,” Dillingham said of learning she didn’t have to run a relay. “This is the only time we haven’t had to run a relay. After running the longest events, it was so tiring.”

“I don’t think we’ve ever been so relieved,” Conti added. “Today was a hard day for sure.”

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Kyra Braunskill won three events, including the long jump, Monday to help the Blue Waves to a critical dual meet victory over Hills West.

If the meet hadn’t been locked up, Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis would have needed Conti and Dillingham in the 4 x 800 relay. But a first-place victory in the long jump by Kyra Braunskill gave the Blue Waves (2-0) enough points to hang on for a 77-73 victory in a huge early season dual meet.

Hills West (1-1) was expected to be the Riverhead’s toughest competition in league. The Blue Waves’ victory at Riverhead High School on the first warm day of spring put them in the driver’s seat for the dual meet title.

“We all came out hungry for it,” said Braunskill, who had a big day with three individual victories.

While Conti and Dillingham took care of the distance events, Braunskill dominated in the jumping events plus sprints. She won the triple jump (37 feet 1/2 inch), the long jump (16-9 1/4) and the 100 dash (12.4 seconds). In the 200 she finished second by the slimmest of margins. She crossed in 26.4, a tenth of a second behind Hills West.

An all-state triple jumper last year, Braunskill has expanded her game this year by starting to do the long jump and 200. It’s been a learning process early on in the season.

“I’m not so sure as to how to run the 200 as I’m sure of how to run the 100,” she said. “So I wing it. But I was satisfied with my time in the 200 as far as someone who doesn’t do it.”

The jumping events are her speciality and Braunskill said she hopes to develop into a state qualifier in the long jump.

“I’m hungry for it and I’m going to do it,” she said.

The Blue Waves needed  a big jump for Braunskill in the long to lock up the meet and she delivered the 16-9 1/4 on her second attempt. Hills West took second and third in the event.

Conti and Dillingham began their afternoon by running stride for stride in the 1,500 to cross in 5:25 for first place. They followed that with a victory in the 800. Conti was first in 2:33.5 and Dillingham was second in 2:33.7.

There wasn’t much of a break before they stepped back on the track for the 3,000. The good news was they didn’t have to run at a high pace. The race more resembled a casual jog than competition. Conti and Dillingham hung with the pack before making their move on the final lap to surge into first.

“It was like a cool down except for in the end,” Dillingham said. “We all had to sprint it out.”

Hills West did most of its damage in the field events. The Colts swept the shot put, went first/third in the discus and first/third in the high jump.

The Blue Waves got a first-place finish in the 400 hurdles from Destiny McElroy, who ran 1:08.6. Also taking first for Riverhead was Nina Schlosberg in the 1,500 race walk. The Blue Waves swept the event with Denise Brunskill second and Isabella Marcucci third. Brunskill was also second in the 100 hurdles in 18.0. McElroy was third in 18.5. She was also third in the 400 in 1:01.3.

In the pole vault the Blue Waves grabbed first and second with Danielle Thomas and Christy Brewer both clearing 8-6.

The Blue Waves got a surprise second-place finish in the discus from Rashae Smith, who threw 91-2 1/2 in her first competition. Rachel Clement cleared 4-10 in the high jump for second.



04/03/13 12:00pm
04/03/2013 12:00 PM
BILL LANDON FILE PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Courtney Clasen won three events against Hampton Bays Tuesday.

BILL LANDON FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Courtney Clasen won three events against Hampton Bays Tuesday.

Courtney Clasen did her best to convince Shoreham-Wading River coach Paul Koretzki last spring of her jumping ability. But with Clasen coming off a hip injury, Koretzki was reluctant to push her too hard.

“She said I can really jump,” Koretzki recalled.

The first time Clasen got a chance to long jump at a meet, Koretzki was convinced.

When the Wildcats opened the dual meet season Tuesday against Hampton Bays, Clasen got her first opportunity to triple jump. She didn’t disappoint, taking first place with a top mark of 33 feet 4 1/2 inches.

“That’s what we’re looking for,” Koretzki said. “We didn’t have a triple jumper in the winter.”

Clasen, along with Cari Gostic, has provided a big boost to the Wildcats’ depth coming off the winter season, where both girls played basketball. The duo helped lead the Wildcats (1-0) to a 114-35 victory over the Baymen (0-2) Tuesday in a League VI dual meet at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

It was a superb start to the season, not just because of the win, but by the individual performances from many of the girls, Koretzki said.

“I was very pleased with the team,” he said. “There were great numbers in the cold.”

It may not have been ideal conditions on a chilly afternoon, but the Wildcats already looked to be in midseason form.

Clasen was a big part of it, winning the long jump (14-07) and 100-meter dash (13.2 seconds). Gostic was third in the long jump at 13-03 and second in the high jump at 4-07.

The Wildcats swept the 400 and 200 behind the trio of Laura Lee, Emily Blunnie and Makayla Meeker.

The Wildcats were also strong in the distance events, sweeping the 3,000 and taking second and third in the 1,500.

Kaitlyn Ohrtman won the 3,000 in 11:26 and was second in the 1,500 in 5:14.

Maddy Kelly (12:48) and Laura Shanklin (13.31) finished second and third in the 3,000.

Amanda Welischar had a big day with a second-place finish in the 100 (13.8). She also cleared 8-0 in the pole vault along with Megan Safranek as they took first and second. Welischar also ran 17.0 in the 100 hurdles.

In the discus Megan Serdock had the top distance (82). A newcomer to the team making her first varsity appearance, Katie Dunn threw 63-02 for second.

“She had never thrown before except practice,” Koretzki said.

Kylie Trettner won the race walk in 8:37.5. Rose Andrews was second in the 800 in 2:40.3.

In the 400 hurdles Ashlyn Vicari took first place in 1:18.6.

The Wildcats capped the meet off by sweeping all three relays.

On Saturday a handful of Wildcats competed at the Lindenhurst Relays. Shanklin cleared a personal best 8-06 in the pole vault and Gabriella Massa cleared 6-06, her personal best. Their combined height of 15-0 was third in the two-person relay.


03/14/13 9:00pm
03/14/2013 9:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | From left, Travis Wooten, Anthony Galvan and Joe Gattreso led Riverhead on a run at practice.

It usually only takes a week into the high school boys track and field season before Riverhead coach Steve Gevinski can map out which events suit each athlete best. So much so, he can practically predict the scores of each dual meet before the team ever steps onto the track.

“This is one of the first years that there are so many unanswered questions,” Gevinski said. “I have some kids battling injuries, a lot of inexperience.”

He may not have all the answers yet, but he found a silver lining.

“One thing I love about this team is we’re going to get a lot better as the year goes on,” he said.

It doesn’t help that the Blue Waves open their season unusually early and against the best team in the league. The Blue Waves will travel to Half Hollow Hills West on Wednesday to kick off the league season.

It will be a tough challenge early on, especially as the Blue Waves try to fit all the pieces in place.

“You almost wish you could have caught these guys at the end of the year when a lot of these questions are answered and we’re in more of a rhythm,” Gevinski said.

One question the Blue Waves won’t have to answer is who will be pole vaulting. Riverhead features a dynamite trio in the pole vault, an event they can likely sweep in every dual meet. The three vaulters — seniors Dan Normoyle, Jonah Spaeth and junior Charles Villa — are all coming off a superb indoor season. Normoyle set the school record Friday at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, clearing 15 feet 3 1/2 inches.

Gevinski knew it was going to be a big year for the trio when he would see them practicing on their own during the fall while he coached the football team.

“They’d be on their own researching stuff off the Internet and running drills out on the track while I’m at football practice,” he said. “I’m like, these guys aren’t messing around.”

Spaeth was an all-state vaulter during the spring last season.

Gevinski said all three vaulters are “booming with confidence” coming into the spring.

“If you’re going with any bad thoughts in your head [during a jump], something’s going to go wrong with it,” Gevinski said.

The Blue Waves should be strong in the jumps and sprints as well. Senior Jeff Pittman returns to run the 100 and 200 meters. Last year he won the division title in the 200. Pittman can also long jump or triple jump, as well as run relays.

Pittman never got fully on track during the indoor season after an ankle injury in the fall while playing football. Gevinski said he may limit Pittman’s jumping and have him focus more on the sprints.

In running events, the Blue Waves return senior Anthony Galvan and junior Travis Wooten. Galvan will likely lean toward the middle distances like the 800 while Wooten can run the 3,200.

Junior Clifton Russel is a versatile athlete who is battling some injuries to start the season. Last year he competed in the pentathlon at the division meet. He will run the hurdles, relays and do some long jumping this year.

Junior Marcus Moore is a strong triple jumper. Junior Davion Porter is a high jumper who has cleared 6 feet. Both of them may also run in the 400 or 800. Junior Daren Jefferson can run both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Jefferson is also dealing with some injuries to start the season.

The weaker areas to start the season are in the throws and middle distances, Gevinski said.

“We have some young kids that I think will be good, but how good right away, that remains to be seen,” he said.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia will look to build off superb indoor and cross-country seasons. A state qualifier in two events during the winter, Udvadia will lead the Wildcats in the long-distance events once again.

After a grueling indoor season, Udvadia has taken some time to recoup at the beginning of the spring.

“He’s wiped,” said Shoreham coach Bob Szymanski, who returned for the spring season after working in a reduced role last spring as an assistant.

Junior Jordan Wright will run the sprints. He recently set the school record in the 55-meter dash at 6.41 seconds during the indoor season. Another versatile athlete is sophomore Isreal Squires, who can run sprints, middle distance and do jumping events.

Junior Keith Steinbrecher, the division champion in the steeplechase last year, returns. Sophomore Matt Gladysz returns as an 800 runner. Junior Matt Leunig will run the hurdles. In the throwing events, the Wildcats feature senior Kyle Fleming. He will throw the discus and the shot put.

The Wildcats are seeded second in their league behind Bayport-Blue Point, the team that knocked them off in the dual meets last season. The two teams will square off in the final dual meet of the season this year when the league title may be on the line.

Bishop McGann-Mercy struggled during the indoor season and will look to improve during the spring. The Monarchs scored only 2 points at the division meet last spring and those came in the 800 from Matt Abazis. The Monarchs, though, were without Abazis during the indoor season this year as he chose to play basketball.

Senior Patrick Derenze, who had a strong showing in the steeplechase last year, returns. He can run middle distances as well. Junior Luis Cintron is a strong hurdler.

McGann-Mercy will open the dual-meet season on April 2 against Mattituck.


03/14/13 7:00pm

HAL HENTY FILE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill Miller was second in the federation state triple jump championship last spring.

At the start of last season’s spring girls track and field season, the name Melodee Riley was synonymous with success in the triple jump. At the end of the season, Riley once again proved herself as an elite jumper for Riverhead. By then, however, she wasn’t the only one who stood out for the Blue Waves.

Kyra Braunskill Miller emerged behind Riley as one of the best triple jumpers in the state, a designation she earned with a second-place finish in the federation championships in Syracuse.

While Riley — and all her dynamic abilities — is running for the University of Connecticut now, the Blue Waves can still look forward to two more seasons with Braunskill Miller, a junior who will be a key athlete heading into this spring.

“She does the sprints — the 100, 200,” said Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis. “She also has high jumped a little bit at a couple dual meets and she’s in our 4×1 relay. She’s a big kid coming back.”

The Blue Waves, who were third in the Suffolk County Division II Championships last season, return the core of last year’s young team. Of course, losing an athlete of Riley’s caliber is hard to replace. In almost any dual meet, the Blue Waves could count on four victories from Riley.

[Related: Boys track & field preview: Questions remain for Riverhead]

This year, they will need to rely on everyone to pick up the slack.

“As a whole we definitely have a lot of young kids, a lot of new recruits and we’re hoping for some good things,” Dounelis said.

Junior Destiny McElroy returns in the hurdles. Last season she placed third in the division meet in the 400-meter hurdles. Both McElroy and Braunskill Miller played basketball in the winter.

“[McElroy] had a fantastic finish to her season [last year],” Dounelis said. “She looks great right now. She’s really focused and came into the season raring to go.”

Senior Denise Brunskill will also run hurdles and is on the 4×100 relay team with McElroy and Braunskill Miller.

In the long-distance events, the Blue Waves return sophomore Maria Dillingham and junior Rachel Conti, both of whom had strong seasons in the winter.

“Between the two of them alone they racked in the points [last season],” Dounelis said. “They’re great kids. They feed off each other in practices and they’re only getting better.”

Two freshmen who saw varsity action last year are Meghan Van Bommel and Dezarae Brown. Van Bommel can run the 1,500 and 3,000 meters. Brown is a 200 and 400 runner.

Danielle Thomas and Christy Brewer return in the pole vault. Thomas was fourth in the division meet last year, clearing 8 feet 6 inches.

The Blue Waves will open the dual-meet season on April 3 at West Babylon. Until then, the focus is on finding the right spots for some of the younger athletes.

“Really, it’s like a trial and error with a lot of the kids,” Dounelis said. “We put them into things and say just try it, and we found a couple hurdlers that way.”

One key loss for Riverhead was Madison Blom, who excelled in the shot put and discus last season. Dounelis said Blom, a junior, is in France this spring as part of an exchange program.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Laura Lee will run middle distance events for the Wildcats.

Shoreham-Wading River transitions much of its winter lineup into the spring season, plus a few additions from the basketball team. The Wildcats, a fifth-place team in the Division III Championships last year, return a balanced team.

“Generally, we have almost all the positions covered,” said Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki.

Leading the charge are senior Laura Lee and freshman Kaitlyn Ohrtman. Lee will likely focus on the 200 and 400 while Ohrtman runs the distance events.

Lee was third in the 400 at the division meet last spring and was also a key runner on the 4×400 relay team.

A few additions from the winter are sophomore Courtney Clasen and senior Cari Gostic. They will compete in jumping events and run sprints.

Sophomores Rose Andrews and Maddy Kelly can both run long-distance events.

In the pole vault, seniors Amanda Welischar and Megan Safranek return. Welischar also runs hurdles. Senior Kylie Trettner will compete in the race walk. Senior Meghan Serdock will handle the throwing events.

One loss for the Wildcats was junior Krista Braaten. A sprinter and jumper, Braaten injured her ankle and will be out for the season.

Bishop McGann-Mercy will have big shoes to fill after the loss of Sasa Vann, who left with a boatload of school records after graduating last spring. Vann, who runs for Buffalo State, advanced to the state championships last spring in the 400.

The Monarchs come into the season as the three-time defending League VIII champions. McGann-Mercy knocked off Port Jefferson in the final dual meet of the season last year to clinch another title.

While Vann was a big loss, the Monarchs also lost strong all-around athletes in Tori Tremble, Meg Donnelly and Lauren Valle.

The Monarchs will turn to junior Delina Auciello, a third-place finisher in the 800 last year at the division meet.

Freshman Meg Tuthill will run long-distance events. Junior Danisha Carter can run sprints. She was fourth in the 55-meter dash at the league championships this winter and just missed scoring in the 300.


02/16/13 4:00pm
02/16/2013 4:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO  |  Riverhead pole vaulters (from left) Dan Normoyle, Jonah Spaeth and Charles Villa all cleared personal bests Saturday at the Armory in New York.

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead pole vaulters (from left) Dan Normoyle, Jonah Spaeth and Charles Villa at a meet earlier this season. Normoyle and Spaeth qualified for states.

Three days after qualifying for the state championship in the pole vault, Riverhead senior Jonah Spaeth will compete at one of the most prestigious track and field meets today: the Millrose Games.

The 106th Millrose Games will take place at the Armory in New York after switching from Madison Square Garden last year.

The high school pole vault begins at 4:30 p.m. Live coverage of the games begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

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Spaeth is one of 14 athletes competing in the pole vault.

The school record holder in the pole vault, Spaeth cleared 13 feet 9 inches Wednesday to qualify for states. Teammate Dan Normoyle won the competition by clearing a personal best 14-0. His previous best was 13-04. The Blue Waves narrowly missed sending three vaulters to states. Charles Villa was fourth at 13-06, which was also his personal best.

The pole vault is not contested during the league and county meets in the winter season. However, individuals can still qualify for the state meet.