To have expected the season-opening high school boys track and field meet between the Bellport Clippers and the Riverhead Blue Waves to be decided in the relays — the final three events of the day — was not unreasonable. That is how past meetings between these two rivals were decided.
But not on Tuesday.
It might have been somewhat surprising, not that Riverhead won the Suffolk County League III dual meet, but that it did so by 30 points — and that was with Bellport taking the three relay races. Kashaun Boynton accounted for 15 points himself, winning three events in Riverhead’s 82-52 victory on its own track.
The Blue Waves put up 46 points in the field events, including 13 of 18 possible points in the throwing events alone.
“It’s a nice experience to win, especially against Bellport,” Jaylin Jeffries, a senior thrower for Riverhead, said. “I expected it to be a lot closer than what it was.”
With the high caliber of competition in League III, Riverhead Coach Steve Gevinski believes one of the traditionally strong teams, whether it be Bellport, the Smithtown West Bulls, the Half Hollow Hills West Colts or the North Babylon Bulldogs, will finish the season with a losing record.
Riverhead took a step in the right direction, and that was gratifying for the Blue Waves, plenty of whom were smiling when it was over.
“The team really drives off of winning,” Riverhead junior Kevin Williams said. “You just want to win so bad.”
No one got more of a taste for winning than Boynton. The junior finished first in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.0 seconds, first in the 100 in 11.2 and first in the 400 intermediate hurdles in 58.8 on a day when wind gusts made running, jumping and throwing difficult.
Another Riverhead athlete, Jeffrey Pittman, was a double winner. The sophomore took the 200 in 24.0 and the long jump in a personal-best distance of 20 feet 10 inches.
Pittman led Riverhead’s sweep of points in the long jump. He was followed by second-place Treval Hatcher at 19-11 and third-place Clifton Russell at 19-10.
The only other sweep of the day was in the shot put, which was won by Jeffries with a throw of 41-2. Shawn Yarborough (38-9) was second and Anthony Stimpfel (37-5) third.
Williams didn’t have a bad day himself, clearing 5-6 to win the high jump and placing second in both the triple jump (39-10 3/4) and the 800 (2:03.9, a personal-best time).
Hatcher won the triple jump, covering 42-3.
But Gevinski said a key to the meet was Hatcher taking second in the 400 in 53.9 and Williams grabbing the runner-up spot in the 800 in 2:03.9, thereby preventing Bellport from sweeping those events.
Derek Palafos of Bellport finished first in the 1,600 (4:57) and the 3,200 (10:33). In addition, he led off the winning 4×400 relay team that included Travis Correa, Osei Albhaso and Sheldon Derencourt. Their time was 3:37.
Correa was the 800 winner in 2:03. Derencourt was first in the 400 in 52.6.
The meet was a homecoming of sorts for Bellport’s coach, Don Nelson. Nelson, a former track standout for Riverhead (he was on the 4×400 relay team that still holds the school record), is also the attendance officer at Riverhead High School.
“This is a rivalry. It’s always a big meet,” Nelson said. “We love coming here. Our kids get up to come here. It’s always a good meet. It’s always a good atmosphere.”
Nelson acknowledged, however, that he has mixed feelings about competing against his alma matter. “You come back home and it’s tough,” he said.
Like Bellport, Riverhead has a young team. Gevinski said the freshmen and sophomores have energized the coaching staff.
“They’re always charged up, 24/7,” he said of the underclassmen.
Williams was one of the Riverheaders who competed in four events. He felt it afterward, but he wasn’t complaining.
“It’s wearing, but the payoff’s good,” he said. “I like the results.”