Track & Field: Riverhead girls go 1-2 in triple jump at state meet

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead senior Melodee Riley and sophomore Kyra Braunskill Miller finished first and second in the triple jump Friday at the state championship.

CICERO, N.Y.—When a fellow competitor asked Riverhead senior Melodee Riley how she fared Friday afternoon in the triple jump, her response didn’t quite tell the story.

“Horrible,” was the word Riley used to describe her afternoon.

The other girl seemed taken aback at that response, only to have the mood swiftly lightened when Riley filled in the rest of the details.

She still won. First place. State champion.


Riley claimed first for the second straight year in the triple jump to win the Division I public school title at the New York State championship at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. She jumped 38 feet 10 3/4 inches, which was off the previous bests for her career.

“I’m still not happy with the way I jumped,” Riley said after stepping off the podium.

While the podium was a familiar place for Riley, it was a first for sophomore Kyra Braunskill Miller, who finished right behind Riley for second place. Braunskill Miller jumped a personal best 38-03 1/2 in her first appearance in the triple jump at the state meet.

When the season began, Braunskill Miller said she never could have imagined she’d be standing on the podium in June, second in New York.

“I would have laughed,” she said.

Both jumpers advance into the federation triple jump Saturday afternoon. That includes the Division II jumpers as well as competitors from private or Catholic schools.

“I’m a little greedy,” Braunskill Miller said. “I want to do good [Saturday].”

In Friday’s competition both girls finished behind Kellenberg senior Ordine Belot, who jumped 39-09. But since Kellenberg isn’t a public school, it didn’t count against the final standings for Riverhead’s jumpers.

Belot will be a teammate of Riley’s next season at the University of Connecticut.

Riley won the federation title last year and will look to defend that title and bounce back from a difficult first day at states.

“Today was just really bad,” Riley said. “All my jumps, I feel like I was reaching and everything. My head wasn’t in it.”

Braunskill Miller nailed her best jump on her final attempt.

“I was focused,” she said. “I knew I was going to get it.”

Braunskill Miller’s success came as no surprise to Riley.

“We knew she could it,” Riley said. “I always knew it was in her. She just had to do it for herself.”

Riley made it to the state meet for the triple jump all four years in high school.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Shannon McDonnell competed in the 800, one of only two races on the track that was a final Friday. McDonnell ran 2 minutes 16.96 seconds to finish 13th overall.

McDonnell said she came into the meet hoping to break 2:13.

“I should have gotten out faster in the beginning,” she said. “I got stuck behind the front pack. I didn’t want to get out too fast because the girls who run under 2:10, I know they’re going to have a lot faster splits than I would. I didn’t want to get burnt out, but also I just didn’t go out fast enough.”

McDonnell’s season isn’t over yet. She’ll run at a meet at St. Anthony’s Monday and as part of the 4 x 400 relay team next weekend at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina. She’ll be joined by Laura Lee, Courtney Clasen and Genevieve Kuczewski.

“We’ll be down there for two days so it’ll be fun,” McDonnell said.

McGann-Mercy senior Sasa Vann ran the preliminaries of the 200 and 400 Friday. In the 400 she finished third overall in Division II  in 57.30 to advance to the finals Saturday. She was 11th overall in the 200 in 26.65 and missed qualifying for the finals.

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