Kian Martelli is the first to admit that he’s not the same athlete in training as he is in an official competition. When it comes to a track and field meet, that’s when the real competitor in Martelli comes out — all 6 feet, 2 3/4 inches of him.
From a distance, Riverhead boys winter track coach Sal Loverde could see the intensity in Martelli’s eyes as he stepped up for a triple jump in the Section XI large school team championships Monday night. “He’s fired up right now,” Loverde said. “Let’s see what he does.”
Martelli did well, just not well enough. In his opinion.
Flying a distance of 43- 11 1/2, the Riverhead junior landed in second place at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Copiague junior Edgar Tineo had popped out a winning jump of 44-4 — and that was the sticking point.
“Extremely disappointing. I did not win,” Martelli said. “There’s nothing worse than coming in second. If you don’t win, you come in second, you’re the first loser.”
Martelli said he hurt his left knee — his takeoff leg — while playing club volleyball over the weekend. In succession, he turned in the following consistent distances: 43-6 1/2, 43-11 1/2, 43-4 1/2, 43-4, 43-10 and 43-2. His best indoor jump is 44-2 1/2.
“That’s what kind of bothered me,” Martelli said. Tineo “got one jump better than me, but all my others were better than his.”
And if there’s one thing Martelli doesn’t like, it’s being beaten in a competition.
Teammate and training partner Max Solarz said Martelli is “very, very competitive, will not be satisfied if he does not win.”
Solarz is a competitive sort himself. “We always want to do better than each other,” he said.
Solarz, a sophomore, finished fifth in 41-2 1/2, behind West Islip senior Greg Bove (41-10) and Bay Shore junior Marcrene Jeannot (41-5).
“I didn’t have my best, but I did what I could,” said the 6-3 1/2 Solarz.
Martelli also competed in the long jump, finishing 14th at 19-2.
In the shot put, Riverhead junior Eric Behr was 14th with a throw of 40-6 1/4.
Northport won the team championship with 69 points. Riverhead was 13th with 10.
For all of his disappointment over not winning, Martelli can’t complain about his season.
“I could not have asked for a better season,” he said. “It’s been my best so far.”
Spoken like a true competitor.
Photo caption: Riverhead junior Kian Martelli confers with coach Sal Loverde after one of his triple jumps. (Credit: Bob Liepa)