Before the start of the 3,200-meter race Friday at the prestigious Loucks Games in White Plains, Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski hoped to see junior Ryan Udvadia run around 9 minutes 15 seconds.
Udvadia had his sights set a little higher, hoping for about 9:10.
Neither, though, could have imagined what came next.
Udvadia — already the Suffolk County runner of the year in cross country and state qualifier in winter track — blitzed the course at White Plains High School in 9:02.05, running away with first place.
The school record time was the fastest in New York this year.
Most amazing, his second-half split was faster than the first half, Szymanski said.
“You can’t make this story up,” he said. “It sounds like it’s science fiction.”
Udvadia was awarded the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer Award. He was the first boy from Suffolk County to ever win the award since its inception in 1985 (several girls have won it from Suffolk, most recently Vanessa Stewart of North Babylon in 2010).
Sticking to his strategy that goes back to cross country season, Udvadia started the race toward the back of the pack, patiently waiting to make his move. In the last half-mile, Udvadia surged ahead of seven runners, Szymanski said.
At the final 100-meter mark, he was neck-to-neck with Liam Mullet from Pingry.
“With about 60 meters to go the kid just folded,” Szymanski said. “Ryan blew by him.”
The race came late in the day Friday and the temperature had cooled, creating an ideal running condition.
“Everyone’s asking me, how are you training this kid?” Szymanski said.
The meet record for the 3,200 at Loucks is 8:56.02, set in 2011 by Chad Noelle.
Udvadia’s performance at Loucks was set up by a strong showing at the Penn Relays April 25 in Philadelphia. Running the 1-mile, Udvadia finished seventh in 4:15.51. He was seeded 14th going into the meet.
Szymanski warned him that he would probably be last at the half-way point.
“In the last half he passed several runners and wound up seventh,” Szymanski said. “4:15 was his fastest mile ever.”
The race qualified him for the Loucks Meet, which featured athletes from 10 states and Canada this year.