The Shoreham-Wading River High School girls track and field team has a lot of individual talent, although coach Paul Koretzki isn’t necessarily certain how that will add up in dual meets.
“We’re not going to be very strong in the league as a team, but the team is getting better,” he said. “I don’t really know where it’s going. We’re not going to be a power. We will score well in the divisions because that’s the kind of team we are.”
The incomparable Katherine Lee, coming off outstanding cross country and winter seasons, will make her final runs for the Wildcats (4-1), who compete in Suffolk County League VI, although Koretzki wasn’t certain what races the Georgetown-bound senior will run.
“We don’t know what she’s going to do,” he said. “She’s got quite a range from the quarter-mile to 3,000.
“She’s just the best runner Suffolk County ever had. She has the record in the winter, the 1,000, 1,500, the mile, the 3,000. She has the fastest cross-country time ever for a Suffolk girl at Sunken Meadow. And we expect her to add on to that this spring.”
Training could be a challenge. Last year the Wildcats had five outstanding long-distance runners. This year they have two.
“She has been sort of isolated this year,” Koretzki said. “We’ve had her training with the boys.”
Junior Alexandra Smith is the other top-flight long-distance runner. She has run the seventh-fastest 3,000 in school history.
Junior Alicia Lopez has run the fifth-fastest 100 and third-fastest 200 in school history.
Other key returnees are juniors Danielle Ohrtman (triple jump) and Julia DeGolyer (pentathlon, 100-meter high hurdles).
Shoreham also has promising freshmen in Olivia DesRoches and Sarah Kruzynski, who will compete in the 100, 200 and long jump.
“We’ve got a lot of young athletes,” Koretzki said. “We expect some surprises to come up.”
Riverhead (1-5) is young and deep with a roster bursting at 64 athletes.
Coach Maria Dounelis said the Blue Waves have only three seniors on a team that has 70 percent freshman and sophomores. “We have a lot of youth,” she said. “It will be interesting how our season pans out.”
Sophomore Christina Yakaboski is Riverhead’s most versatile runner. She can run anything from the 400 through 3,000. Yakaboski finished 10th in the county last year in the 1,500 (4 minutes, 47.04 seconds) and the 3,000 (10:36.91).
“She finished her winter season pretty well,” Dounelis said. “Her whole focus has changed. It will be fun to watch her progress.”
Dounelis had similar sentiments about sophomore Kristina Deraveniere (400, 800, 1,500, relays).
Freshman Madison Stromski, who ran as an eighth-grader, is slated for the 1,500 and 3,000. Senior Olivia Pizzuto, whom Dounelis calls “a mother hen” for the younger athletes, is another long-distance runner.
The other seniors are race walker Josie Manucha and Nia Johnson, a team captain whose specialties are the 100, 200 and long jump.
Sophomore Miasha Pittman (12.74 in the 100, 26.34 in the 200) can long jump and is slated to anchor the 4 x 100-meter relay. “She gets the baton, she’s going to fight,” Dounelis said. “She’s got that competitiveness.”
The Blue Waves are blessed with sprinters, including junior Eve Pittman, freshmen Egypt Dozier and Liz Dowd and eighth-grader Emani Womack.
Juniors Lilly Whitehead and Taylor Albinski are expected to be the top hurdlers while sophomores Alex Confort and Eva Cosby and freshman Linda Pomiranceva could push them.
Riverhead is also deep in the field events with junior Morgan Fritscher in the pole vault and sophomores Gabraiyle Blum, Aleeyah George and sophomore Katie Moore and junior Hannah Crump in the shot put and discus.
In a rather unusual combination, junior Julia Divan has become proficient in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and pole vault (8-0). “It’s clearly an interesting combination,” Dounelis said. “She likes to throw herself in the air.”
Sophomores Stephanie Berkeley, Julia Babicz and Kellia Daniel will compete in the high jump.
Coach Brian Manghan hopes that Bishop McGann-Mercy’s final track season will be a memorable one for the Monarchs (5-1), League VIII runners-up to Mattituck last year. “We’ll be competitive,” he said.
Manghan hopes senior Olivia Kneski, a three-sport standout (basketball and soccer) who will run the 400, will qualify for the state meet.
“She just gives 100 percent,” he said. “Talent only takes you so far. Her work ethic really impresses you.”
Freshman Lola Anderson and sophomore Grace Hayes will be the two key runners in the 1,500 and 300 while senior Sarah Dern is the top hurdler. In the sprints, sophomore Deanna Kelly and Amanda Mannino are the cornerstones of the 100, 200 and the 4 x 100 relay. Junior Hanna Schlosberg will run the 200.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Katherine Lee is “the best runner Suffolk County ever had,” said coach Paul Koretzki. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)