The way Sal Loverde looks at it, the season that begins in mid-November doesn’t really end until June. The indoor track and field season may officially end in March, but for many athletes, the winter is a chance to begin putting in the work that will ultimately pay the biggest dividends at the end of spring.
In Riverhead, many of the athletes on the indoor track and field team will continue with the program through the outdoor season. That gives the coaching staff, led by Loverde, ample time to help mold the sprinters, distance runners and jumpers into their best form.
Kian Martelli, a senior, didn’t need much time to get into his midseason form. After qualifying for the state championship meet last winter, Martelli picked up this year right where he left off in the triple jump. The Blue Waves traveled into New York City for the North Shore High School Season Opener Friday and Martelli jumped an impressive 42 feet 6 1/2 inches in the triple jump.
“First time jumping this year, with minimal preparatory work because we’re right in the beginning of the season,” Loverde said. “It’s a really good starting spot.”
Martelli jumped 41 feet at the state championship meet. Martelli can also contribute in the high jump and long jump.
Loverde characterized the upcoming season as a bit of a rebuilding process, but the Blue Waves do return talent across a number of different events.
“We have a lot of support in kind of each event area, which should make us somewhat competitive as we groom new talent,” he said.
Senior Ryan Keane returns in distance events. He ran the 600 Friday to get some speed work in and did well by running 1 minute 29.42 seconds. Senior Sean Allen is a versatile athlete who can compete in an array of events, from hurdles, to middle distance to jumps. In the spring, he used those myriad skills to compete in the pentathlon. He started off Friday in the 55-hurdles (9.17) and high jump (5-08).
Senior Ryan Carrick also returns in the distance events. He was the top performer for Riverhead during cross country, finishing 34th overall at the division championships in October and 25th in Class A at the Section XI State Qualifier in November.
Loverde said all the returning athletes are “highly motivated.”
Riverhead has a long history of success in the pole vault and the Blue Waves will aim to keep that tradition going behind senior Iyriy Denys, who cleared 12-09 in the outdoor season a year ago.
“He had a great run in winter and spring last year and he’s looking to forge forward this year,” Loverde said. “We would love to see him reach an opportunity to make the state meet. I think he has the potential to do that.”
Junior Eduardo Duran is another middle distance runner who can compete in the 600 and relays. Loverde said Duran started to surge toward the end of last season.
“He recognized he had the aptitude to really excel,” Loverde said.
Junior Tyreek Parker, who’s been resting a sore back coming off football season, will contribute in the hurdles and sprints. He’ll likely anchor the 4 x 200 relay. Senior Eric Behr is a shot-putter and AJ Walker can compete in the hurdles and jumps.
At Shoreham-Wading River, Joe Mordaski returns for this second season as head coach for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. The Wildcats lost some top-end talent from last year’s team to graduation and return a younger core this year.
“One thing that my boys all really share in common is their competitive spirit and I’m really looking forward to seeing that competitive spirit this season,” Mordaski said.
The Wildcats return a pair of strong distance runners in junior Adam Zelin and senior Joey Krause. Both excelled in the fall on the cross country team.
Junior Dylan Jung had a strong showing last spring in the long jump, finishing ninth in the Section XI State Qualifier as a sophomore. He’ll look to build on that performance while also competing in the triple jump.
“We’re very strong in the field events this year,” Mordaski said, adding that there’s some up-and-comers in the shot put and high jump.