It’s the irony of ironies. Kian Martelli, perhaps best known for his jumping ability as a track and field athlete more than anything else, had been advised by doctors to avoid participating in sports that involve jumping.
That medical advice came after Martelli tore ligaments in both knees when he was in middle school.
“I just said, ‘No, it’s not happening,” said Martelli.
Martelli was having none of it. The Riverhead High School senior has since gone on to make a name for himself as one of the top triple jumpers in Suffolk County. On Saturday, he took first place in the Suffolk County League II boys winter track championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
The momentary, sharp pain Martelli feels on takeoffs is worth it when measured against the enjoyment he derives from the sport.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “It’s fun for me. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.”
Martelli covered a winning distance of 42 feet, 10 3/4 inches on Saturday. His nearest competition came from Copiague senior James Holland (42-5 1/2).
“Yeah, but it wasn’t good,” said Martelli, who didn’t sound impressed by what he did. “I was off on my step. I don’t know what happened. I went longer on my first step than I usually do, and my right knee hurts. I just got lucky, honestly.”
Martelli, who competed in the state meet last winter and has a personal record of 44-2 1/2, hit 41-6 and 42-3 on his other two attempts. He said his legs felt heavy from hard training the past two weeks.
“I think his performance in the triple jump was excellent,” Riverhead coach Sal Loverde said. “He won it and he did not perform his best. Everybody was kind of off a little bit in the jump today, but he did what he had to do to win.”
Martelli later came in eighth in the long jump at 19-1 3/4. Copiague senior James Holland took first at 21-1 1/2.
“He is a game-day kid,” Loverde said of Martelli. “He has a ferocious competitive streak in him. I don’t care if it was a game of tiddlywinks, he wants to win.”
Riverhead junior Tyreek Parker was in for a surprise when he learned that his apparent victory in the 55-meter dash in a personal-record 6.92 seconds was not a victory at all. He was first in his section, but four more sections had yet to be run.
When all was done, though, Parker’s time stood up to bring him third place, behind Copiague junior Khalil Chester (6.80) and Connetquot senior Tom Domozych (6.86). Parker finished 6/100ths of a second ahead of the fourth-place runner, Copiague senior John Jerrick.
Parker was also fifth in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.80. Walt Whitman senior John Poplawski triumphed in that event in 8.24.
This is Parker’s first season of indoor track. He didn’t take up track and field until last spring, but has a passion for sprinting. He said he particularly likes running 100 meters, either individually or in a relay because “that’s when I can just show my actual speed.”
In other top performances for Riverhead: Junior Aaron Walker finished fifth in the high jump with a height of 5-4. Senior Eric Behr threw the shot put 38-7 1/2 to bring him sixth place. Seniors Ryan Keane (2:47.93 in the 1,000) and Ryan Carrick (4:43.85 in the 1,600) were both seventh.
Seconds for SWR relay, high jumper. Second-place finishes by Shoreham-Wading River’s 4×200 relay team and high jumper Blake Wehr highlighted the Wildcats’ performance in the League IV Championships.
The relay team of Damien Caputo, Dylan Jung, Tyler Friedlander and Joe Tonetti posted a time of 1:39.81. Sayville won in 1:38.69.
Wehr, a sophomore, high jumped 5-10. Westhampton Beach junior Jack Miegel cleared 6-4.
Jung also took third in the long jump at 19-9 1/2, one place ahead of Caputo (19-0).
SWR junior Adam Zelin was fourth in the 3,200 in 10:35.09. Another SWR junior, Michael Casazza, finished fifth in the shot put at 40-3.
Photo caption: Riverhead senior Kian Martelli took the League II title in the triple jump with a distance of 42 feet, 10 3/4 inches on Saturday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)