Burke takes over focused team

By listening to the new Riverhead Blue Waves boys cross country coach, Pat Burke, it sounds as if his team is ready for the new season.

Burke was an assistant coach last year when Riverhead finished 3-3 in Suffolk County League IV. But with an experienced, veteran team returning, led by seniors Rob Mullen, Jeremy Warner, Michael Beierle, Zachary Escallier and Rob Wesson, Burke said his team is “focused and dedicated and ready to go.”

“These kids are serious about cross country,” he said. “They have a great deal of passion and discipline. Their focus is evident right from the beginning.”

Burke said Mullen, one of the co-captains of the team along with Warner, has done a great deal of work over the summer. “He has improved a lot,” Burke said. “He is focused and his qualities rub off on the other runners. We have great expectations for him.”

Burke also talked about Wesson, and how “every day he shows up and tries to be the best competitor he can be.” In addition to the veterans, junior Kevin Williams, along with freshmen Travis Wooten, Ryan Hubbard, Mark Huysman and Matt Tuthill all have promising potential. Burke feels that any of them could break into the top seven runners. “Our goal,” Burke said, “is to make a run at the league title. We want to win races and win meets. These kids are all so focused; it is a pleasure to work with them. By their junior and senior year, this is going to be a contending program.”