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Girls Winter Track: Distaste for losing drives Pittman

Miasha Pittman doesn’t like losing. Not that anyone does, but the Riverhead High School sophomore absolutely detests it. That may be the driving force to her progress in track and field.

“Miasha probably hates losing more than anyone that I’ve had,” said Justin Cobis, the Riverhead girls winter track coach. “As far as a natural competitor, she absolutely hates losing. That is probably the definition of what I see in her. If she can take that competitive edge and learn to apply it to practice and preparation during the season, I think she’s going to have a great experience because what we’ve seen is kind of just like raw talent and her raw competitiveness.”

Riverhead took the first steps toward the upcoming indoor season last Monday with its first practice. Among the pack running around the track was Pittman, a little older, a little more mature, a little more refined.

“She’s more experienced now,” Cobis said. “She’s a sophomore. She’s not a freshman. She knows a little bit more about what’s going on.”

Pittman is one of the rising young athletes Riverhead is expecting good things from this season. Her best event is the 300 meters, which is essentially a long sprint. It’s an event that grew on her.

“Honestly,” she said, “when I first started, I didn’t like it at all and then as the season [went] on, I honestly got to like it and met new people in my heats from different schools, so it turned out to be amazing.”

Last season, her first on the team, was an eventful one for Pittman. She was one of three freshmen — along with Delu Rizzo and Emma Panciocco — who joined sophomore Eve Pittman in breaking the school indoor record in the 4×200-meter relay. They posted a time of 1 minute, 50.76 seconds in the Molloy Stanner Games at The Armory in New York City. That shattered the previous record of 1:52.12, set in 2005 by Angela Smith, Tavina Hubbard, Kateria Almenas and Ashley Lewis.

It was in that same meet when Miasha Pittman came in second place in the freshman 55-meter dash in 7.76 seconds and ran the 300 in a personal-record 43.54. The school record in the 300 is 43.24, held by Smith.

In the 300, every second is precious.

“She is someone that if she gets one second faster, goes from top 25 to top 10, you know what I mean?” Cobis said. “So, one second in the 300 is a huge gain. She has the ability to do that.”

An All-League 300 runner last year, Miasha Pittman was ninth in the state qualifier in 43.63 and 13th in the Section XI Large School Championships in 43.46.

Miasha Pittman ran track in middle school and got hooked on the sport. “I love it, honestly,” she said.

“That’s what we want,” Cobis said after that quote was relayed to him. “She is a natural sprinter. I think she sees the benefit now of what the work she puts in in the preseason is going to do.”

“I think that there’s no limit to what she can do,” he continued. “We haven’t seen her fully healthy for a whole season. She actually battled through some injury last year and she was so tough that she didn’t tell us about it until one of the last meets of the year.”

The injury in question was a knee problem, which Cobis said wasn’t severe, just an annoyance.

Nothing, though, may be as annoying to Miasha Pittman as losing a race.

Cobis said, “She is someone who wears her emotions on her sleeve and so when she is happy, it is the highest of highs and when she is upset, no one has a question about it.”

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Photo caption: Riverhead sophomore Miasha Pittman, running around the track Monday, was an All-League runner in the 300 meters last season. (Credit: Bob Liepa)