BOYS WINTER TRACK PREVIEW: Riverhead hopes to run far on veteran legs

The Riverhead Blue Waves may have lost talented shot putter Mike Smith to graduation, but Coach Sal Loverde’s team still returns a core of veteran athletes in seniors Treval Hatcher (triple jump, sprints), Rob Mullen (1,600 and 3,200 meters), Jeremy Warner (1,600 and 3,200) and Michael Beierle (1,600 and 3,200), along with junior Kevin Williams (triple jump, 600 and relays).

Hatcher made it to the state meet in the triple jump last winter.

“Treval has made a significant commitment,” Loverde said. “He has strength and speed. He has the coordination and a very competitive edge. Treval has a dedicated work ethic.”

Loverde said the Blue Waves have a young group of talented shot putters and jumpers that he is excited about.

Week by week, Loverde wants his team to keep improving so it peaks at the right time. He wants the Blue Waves to be able to challenge traditionally strong opponents like the Half Hollow Hills West Colts and Bellport Clippers.

“The key,” he said, “is to develop a good core of peer leadership to accent the coaching staff. Strong senior leadership makes a difference. We are encouraging kids to step up to the plate. We have a high level of expectations. The last 10 years we have established the Riverhead track and field program to be very competitive.”

This is the first year the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs have fielded a boys track winter team and Coach Matt Perry is pleased with the number of athletes that tried out for the team.

“We had a good turnout,” Perry said. “We are really excited that 30 kids want to participate.”

Perry said five seniors — John De Suno (sprints and shot put), Sean Cappiello (middle distances and triple jump), Matt Di Landro (triple jump and middle distances), Ryan Walker (middle distances), and Matthew Stetler (long distances) — will lead the way.

De Suno made all-league in the shot put last spring.

“John is a hard worker,” Perry said. “He is knowledgeable and very coachable.”

Perry talked about how he has a lot of options to fill in other holes.

“We have a lot more guys in the sprint and field events,” he said. “We’ve got to get some more guys in the distance races but, overall, this is very encouraging.”

Perry’s goal is for each athlete to continue to improve.

“We are vastly improved from the spring,” he said. “The kids have a better understanding of what they need to do. We are very encouraged.”

Shoreham-Wading River Coach Bob Szymanski could not be reached prior to the deadline.