Track & Field: Riverhead girls wrap up undefeated league title

JUSTIN COBIS PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Maria Dillingham, shown here at St. Anthony's last weekend, won both the 800 and 3,000 Thursday against East Islip.

For one final hurrah at the end of Thursday’s dual meet against East Islip, the Riverhead girls track team opted to run an all-senior 4 x 100 relay team.

It didn’t end quite as planned.

“They ended up getting disqualified because they dropped the baton,” said Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis. “But they finished anyway. It was fun.”

The Blue Waves could laugh it off as the final result had long been decided. The Blue Waves cruised to a 93-57 victory at home to wrap up an undefeated dual meet season at 6-0. Riverhead clinched its first league title since 2005.

“It feels good to finally get that,” Dounelis said. “We were close last year. This year the difference is just having a little more depth.”

The Blue Waves excelled across the board against East Islip, from the sprints, to distance events to the field events.

Senior Melodee Riley continued her dominant spring with three individual victories. She won the triple jump at 38 feet, 9 3/4 inches, the long jump (18-03 1/4) and the 400 hurdles in 1 minute, 6.7 seconds.

Riley won every individual event this season in a dual meet except for one. She took second in the long jump against Copiague, narrowly finishing behind Janel Francis, who has the top mark in the county so far this season.

Dounelis said the three individual events for Riley was a light day considering her usual workload.

While Riley grabs the headlines in the triple jump, sophomore Kyra Braunskill Miller has been steadily climbing into the upper echelon of jumpers in the county as well.

She finished second against East Islip with a jump of 36-07 1/4. That has her top-10 in the county in what has become one of the most competitive events this season.

“The county as a whole, the jumping is insane,” Dounelis said. “I can’t tell you how many kids are jumping over 36 feet. I don’t know what’s in the water out here.”

Section XI this year probably has the deepest group of jumpers in the state, Dounelis said. And that, of course, is anchored by Riley, the defending state champion.

Braunskill Miller also ran a personal best in the 100 dash in 12.6 for second place. She was also second in the 200 in 27.4.

The Blue Waves dominated the distance events with victories in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000.

Freshman Maria Dillingham had a pair of victories. She won the 800 in 2:39 and the 3,000 in 12:35. Sophomore Rachel Conti won the 1,500 in 5:26.

Sophomore Madison Blom picked up two victories. She won the shot put (35-03) and the discus (94-04).

“She’s been great,” Dounelis said.

Sophomore Destiny McElroy won the 400 in 1:04.

The Blue Waves still have a few smaller meets before preparing for the division championship, where they’ll set their sights on a county title. Last year the Blue Waves finished third in Division II behind Kings Park and Copiague.

“The goal is always to finish in the top three,” Dounelis said. “Hopefully we’ll go for that No. 1 spot this year.”

The Blue Waves came into the dual meet off a strong performance at the St. Anthony’s Invitational over the weekend. Dounelis said the momentum from that meet carried right over.

“They were on a high,” she said. “Some kids had personal bests, our relays did well, we set a couple school records. They’re feeling good right now.”

The Blue Waves’ 4 x 400 relay team set one of those school records at St. Anthony’s. Looking ahead, Dounelis said the group is excited about sticking together to make a run at reaching the state championship. Only one relay team earns a bid to states.

“We’re going to give it a shot,” Dounelis said.

The Blue Waves ran 4:00.14 at St. Anthony’s and the goal now is to crack the 4-minute barrier.

“We were so close,” Dounelis said. “That’s the goal.”

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