Featured Story

Boys Winter Track: Riverhead, Mercy off to the races


The winter track season is often viewed as a gradual climb. Athletes take the early part of the season to try different events, get their legs under them, and work on improving week by week.

The goal is to begin to peak in late January and early February when the championship season starts, and for the athletes who continue into the spring, prepare for the outdoor season.

Because of that, most records are rarely at risk of falling in early December.

That is, until Luke Coulter takes the track.

The Riverhead senior ran the 1,600 in a school record time (indoor season) of 4 minutes 36.1 seconds in the Blue Waves’ first crossover meet of the season earlier this month at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. He won the event.

“He has it set in his mind to break every distance record,” said Riverhead coach Sal Loverde. “To be quite honest, he has every possibility of actually doing it.”

Coulter picked off another record in the team’s second crossover meet, this time in the 1,000 (2.38.74) in another first-place finish.

The times have come as no surprise to Loverde.

“I anticipate that he’s going to take these records off one at a time,” he said.

Coulter only ran the 600 at last year’s league and large school championships. Now, the senior will take on a much bigger role with the possibility of running several events.

In the field events, the Blue Waves return senior Curtis Flippen, whose poised for a big year in the triple and long jumps. Flippen won the triple jump at the second crossover meet with a top mark of 42 feet 6 3/4 inches. He was also third in the long jump (19-04 1/4).

“He’s already in the first few meets jumped around his max distance last year in the winter,” Loverde said. “So we’re very excited about that.”

The Blue Waves return junior Eric Cunha in the middle distance events. He ran the 1,000 in 2:45.82 for third place in the second crossover meet. Loverde said Cunha figures to excel in the mile.

Senior Chjuvaighn Cameron gives the Blue Waves a threat in the sprints. He ran the 55-meter dash in 7.08 at the most recent crossover meet and the 300 in 39.42. He can also run the 600. Marcus Reid is another sprinter who will figure into the relays as well.

Kyle Gevinski is a returning pole vaulter.

Loverde said the Blue Waves will mix in a lot of younger athletes as well.

“In all event areas we have a nice foundation of youth that has aptitude, which is exciting,” he said.

Photo Caption: Riverhead senior Luke Coulter, shown during the spring season, has already set two school indoor records this season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

McGann-Mercy senior Dale Kelly excels in the 300-meter dash. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs may feature one of the smaller teams in Suffolk County, but their top two athletes can compete with anyone.

The Monarchs return the dynamic duo of seniors Dale Kelly and Alex Frabizio, both of whom have their sights set on reaching the state championship in March. Both are coming off trips to states in the spring season.

Kelly is a returning league champion in the 300 who was sixth in last year’s finals at the state qualifier meet for the event. All five runners who finished ahead of him have graduated, leaving Kelly as one of the favorites this season.

Kelly opened the season strong with a time of 37.05 to win the 300 at the team’s first crossover meet. His time is already within striking distance of his mark at last year’s state qualifier (36.86).

Frabizio opened the season strong as well, winning the 600 in a school record time of 1:26.59 on Sunday.

“I kept telling him last year, get ready to go to the state meet during spring,” said Mercy coach Les Williams. “They were close during winter and they started believing in what we’re doing. They just took off.”

Frabizio ran the hurdles during the outdoor season, but figures to stick with the 600 this winter.

The Monarchs also feature senior Connor White, who’s coming off a strong cross country season. He ran the 1,000 on Sunday in 3:09.07 for 13th place. He can run any events from the 1,000 up to the 3,200.

Sophomore Joseph Algieri will throw the shot put along with Alex Sikorski.

Williams said the Monarchs’ top athletes will compete at the Bishop Loughlin Games Saturday in Staten Island while the younger kids compete in another crossover meet.

The Loughlin Games are set for the brand new Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex, a state-of-the-art indoor facility that should give runners a chance to post a top time.

Shoreham-Wading River lost its top two performers from last year to graduation in distance runner Matt Gladysz and sprinter Bryce Casey.

A newer generation of Wildcats will look to step up to fill the void this year.

Senior Michael Godfrey, who’s coming off a trip to the state championship in cross country, is a strong distance runner who finished seventh in the 1,600 at last year’s small school championship.

The Wildcats have already completed two of their crossover meets with encouraging results. Senior Carmine Romano was a third-place finisher in the 1,000 Sunday in 2:52.89. Sophomore Anthony Guzzone ran the 300 in 39.61. Junior Peter Mazzone threw the shot put 39-00 for fifth place. Sophomore Daniel Montenegro posted a mark of 19-05 1/4 in the long jump for sixth place. Junior Sebastian Rodriguez ran in the finals of the 55-meter dash and finished fourth in 8.61.

[email protected]