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Boys Winter Track: Martelli triple jumps into state meet

Kian Martelli was hurting — and evidently feeling great at the same time.

The Riverhead High School junior had his share of physical issues. His right knee was bothering him as were both shins. And then there was a hand injury.

“Everything hurts,” he said.

That’s the cost of competing in club volleyball and school winter track at the same time.

“I love them both,” Martelli said. “I couldn’t pick one over the other.”

All his ailments aside, Martelli still managed to finish second in the triple jump at the Section XI Championships Monday night and qualify for his first state meet. He covered a distance of 43 feet, 10 inches to edge Mount Sinai junior Kenneth Wei at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Wei had gone the same distance, but Martelli took second on a tiebreaker.

Southampton senior Sebestian Perreira won at 46-10. Riverhead sophomore Max Solarz came in 11th at 39-11.

“There was a lot of pressure,” said Martelli, whose best indoor jump is 44-2 1/2. “I just looked at it like it was any other meet. I didn’t [get a personal record], but I did my best. I did what I could.”

And Martelli came away with a souvenir. He spiked his right hand on his third jump and had it bandaged after the competition.

Martelli has time for rest and recovery. The state meet will be held March 3 at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

“I’m really happy,” Martelli said. “I can’t wait. It’s what I wanted all season and I finally got it so I couldn’t be happier.”

Three Shoreham-Wading River seniors — high jumper Rickie Casazza, long jumper Dan Montenegro and pole vaulter Ryan Ledda — all qualified for their first state indoor meet.

Casazza cleared a personal-best 6-6 on his first attempt at the height.

“It was amazing, but to be quite honest, I didn’t think I made it,” said Casazza, explaining that his head had actually touched the bar. “I swear I didn’t think I made it.”

But he did, and that earned him second place. Casazza was the first to congratulate Babylon senior Vladislav Cullina, who won at 6-9.

“The anticipation for this meet was just through the roof,” Casazza said. “I’ve been thinking about it all week in class. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just hoping to do what I was able to do.”

Montenegro delivered a personal-record 21-6 3/4, good enough for third and a ticket to the state meet. Half Hollow Hills West junior Deyvon Wright (21-9 1/4) and Mount Sinai’s Wei (21-9) finished ahead of him.

“I’m actually pretty excited because I’ve never done this before,” Montenegro said. “When I first heard 21-6 3/4, I didn’t really believe it but then my coach showed it to me on paper.”

Last Wednesday, Ledda pole vaulted 12-6 to grab second place.

“All great kids, hard workers,” said Paul Anderson, who works with Shoreham’s jumpers and pole vaulters.

Shoreham coach Joe Mordarski said, “With the amount of work that the boys put in, it’s what we hope for but both Dan and Rickie had breakout days, which speaks to their character and their dedication to the sport.”

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Photo caption: Riverhead triple jumper Kian Martelli has his hand examined by a trainer after qualifying for his first state meet. (Credit: Bob Liepa)