After finishing at 5-1 last year, the Shoreham Wading-River High School boys track and field team will face new and greater challenges this spring. The Wildcats have moved up a league from Suffolk County League VII to VI.
“We should be competitive,” coach Brian Wrinkle said. “It will be interesting to see different teams. We should have a winning record.”
Wrinkle enters the season optimistic because the Wildcats are talented and are sprinkled with experience and youth.
Start with sophomore Danny Montenegro, who had a leap of 19 feet 6 inches in the long jump last year.
“I have high hopes for him,” Wrinkle said.
Continue with Luke Rey, who is expected to contribute in the 100- and 200-meter runs and the long jump.
And add senior Michael Godfrey, a solid long-distance runner who competed in the New York State cross-country championships last fall. He should be effective in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Junior Sebastian Rodriguez will be the key hurdler, whether it be in the 110-meter high hurdles or the 400 intermediate hurdles.
“He keeps going,” Wrinkle said. “He doesn’t slow down.”
In the field events, senior Brandon Frances is the top returning discus thrower who also does the shot put.
Wrinkle said he expects senior Liam Lane to compete in the team’s dual meets and most invitationals.
Riverhead’s destiny could very well lie with the talented legs of his middle-distance runners.
The best two are junior Eric Cunha (1,600 and 3,200) and senior captain Luke Coulter, who is coming off an outstanding winter season.
“He’s so good he can run anything from the 400 to two mile,” said coach Steve Gevinski, whose team went 4-2 last year. “He broke just about every school record.”
The triple and long jumps will be taken by senior Curtis Flippen, freshman Kian Martelli and juniors Trey Ross and Darelle Spruill.
The pole vault is expected to be the second strongest part of Riverhead’s lineup in junior Kyle Gevinski, the coach’s nephew, and Brandon Krumbiegel. Senior Jaiden Blom will throw the discus while junior John Anderson and sophomore Joe Stimpfel will handle the shot put duties.
“I think we’re balanced,” Gevinski said. “A couple of keys to our season is figuring out who we have in the high jump.”
In a rarity, the track team boasts the senior graduating classes’s two top academic achievers in valedictorian Peter Cook and salutatorian Joey Messina, who both specialize in long-distance races.
“They run all three seasons,” Gevinski said. “We have a lot of road trips and they kept their academics up. We’re pretty proud of that.”
The Blue Waves will be more than competitive.
“There is a lot of parity in our league, which is exciting,” Gevinski said. “We can go 3-3 or 6-0, if we catch a couple of breaks.”
Bishop McGann-Mercy coach Les Wilson did not return phone calls prior to the deadline. The Monarchs (2-4) will open their season at Mattituck on April 4.
Photo caption: Riverhead senior captain Luke Coulter is coming off a record-setting winter season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)