Boys Track and Field: For Canellys, phone call follows record pole vault

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Jonah Speath was 11th in the pole vault at 12 feet 6 inches.

Soon after the biggest pole vaulting triumph of his young life, Ben Canellys made one of the most satisfying phone calls of his young life.

The Shoreham-Wading River High School senior placed a teasing call to a former member of the Wildcats’ boys track and field team, Mike Murphy, to pass along some news: Murphy no longer holds Shoreham’s pole vault record. That distinction now belongs to Canellys.

A version of this played out earlier this season when Canellys cleared 14 feet in practice. He called Murphy, who set the old school record of 13-10 four years ago, to tell him about it. Canellys said Murphy told him to call him back when he actually broke the record in a meet.

That day came on Friday.

Canellys prevailed over Miller Place junior Joseph Miceli in a jump-off to take first place in the Section XI Individual Championships/State Qualifier at Port Jefferson High School. Both pole vaulters had missed 14-0 on their first four attempts at that height. The bar was brought down to 13-9, which they both cleared, and then raised back to 14-0. After Miceli missed at that height again, Canellys didn’t waste the opportunity.

“As soon as he left the door open at 14 feet, I had to take it,” Canellys said. “It was a lot of pressure.”

With the victory, he qualified for the first time for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held Friday and Saturday at Caledonia-Mumford High School in Caledonia.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jeff Pittman's long jump of 19 feet 4 1/2 inches left the Riverheader in 21st place.

“I kept telling [Murphy] since I was a freshman that I was going to beat his record, so it was nice to actually do it,” Canellys said. “He used to beat the [heck] out of me on a regular basis. I promised myself and Mike that I would do it. It’s just fulfilling something that I’ve been waiting four years for.”

Shoreham Coach Paul Anderson sees a similarity between Canellys and Murphy.

“They’re both pretty determined kids,” he said. “They competed with each other and they pushed each other a lot.”

Canellys, who will pole vault for SUNY/Geneseo next season, took up the event as a freshman, the same year Murphy made his record pole vault.

The pole vault is a rather unique event. It’s a complicated event. A crazy event. A humbling event.

Because a pole vaulter finishes a meet with three failed attempts, there is always that sense of coming up short. The way Anderson puts it is, “The bar always wins.”

Still, Canellys said the event is a good fit for him.

“It’s a challenge against you,” he said. “It also helps you keep your perspective. Think about it: At the end of the day, you’ve always fouled out three times. You’re always going home with three strikes. There’s always the next height, the next challenge, the next thing to do. There’s always that next thing pushing you on.”

Riverhead triple jumper Treval Hatcher pushed himself into the state outdoor meet for the first time on Saturday. Hatcher, a senior, recorded a personal-best distance of 46-11 1/4 that met the qualifying standard for the state meet. The only person who jumped further than him was Central Islip senior Ryan Satchell, who turned in a jump of 47-5. Those two finished in line with their seeding.

“I was consistent, and that’s a good sign,” Hatcher said. “I just want to go a little further. My best jumps, I was either behind the board or I was fouling.”

It’s quite an achievement for Hatcher, who injured his right ankle while playing basketball shortly before the state indoor meet this past winter. Although Hatcher competed in that indoor meet, he finished 14th at 43-7 1/4, well off his indoor best of 47-1.

But the ankle injury delayed Hatcher’s start to the spring season. When the outdoor practices began, he was limited to light jogging. He didn’t take on a full training regimen until the sixth week.

“It was a big deal what he did today,” Riverhead Coach Steve Gevinski said. “He looks awesome.”

A powerful jumper with an explosive takeoff, Hatcher hit the weight room hard the last two years, said Gevinski.

Hatcher said he didn’t achieve his goal of reaching the school record of 47-6 that was set by Bruce Giles over 40 years ago. He is encouraged, however, that he was a foot behind the board on his first jump of 46-11.

“I guess I’m going to have to get it this weekend upstate,” Hatcher said. “I definitely can get it.”

Shoreham high jumper Eric Anderson, a senior who is the son of the team’s coach, tied with Copiague sophomore Maurice Epps for fourth place. They both cleared 6-4.

In the 3,200 meters, Shoreham junior John Lee turned in a time of 9 minutes 29.51 seconds, bringing him fifth place.

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