Track and Field: Carrick earns medal in elite meet

As Ryan Carrick headed off the infield following the medal awards ceremony, he ran into a couple of friendly faces. “Do you like the bling?” the Riverhead High School senior asked them, referring to the eye-catching medal draped around his neck.

What wasn’t there to like?

Carrick pushed himself to an impressive third-place finish in the 1,600 meters in the Long Island Elite Indoor Meet at St. Anthony’s High School Saturday. Then, after making his way to the infield with pain etched on his face, he collapsed onto his back where he remained for a short spell before rising to his feet.

“It was a battle,” he said of the race. He added, “It seemed like I’d pass some kid and another kid would pass me.”

Carrick’s time of 4 minutes, 36.84 seconds was third to the 4:25.00 put up by East Hampton senior Ryan Fowkes and the 4:32.08 clocked by Commack senior Daniel Czop.

Asked what he thought his chances were before the race of landing a top-six spot and a medal, Carrick answered, “Very low.”

What was his game plan?

“Honestly,” he said, “it was go and have fun.”

Mission accomplished.

Carrick made his second appearance in the prestigious meet. As a sophomore, he took second place in the frosh/soph mile.

Carrick is a fan of the St. Anthony’s track — or rather the air above the track. Unlike the track at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood where he has run many of his meets this winter, he said the air in St. Anthony’s isn’t as dry and dusty, making it easier to breathe.

The nature of the meet, which brings Long Island’s top athletes together, is also attractive to Carrick.

“I think the competition here is really strong because people are running for themselves,” he said. “It’s just a race purely for running your best time, and I think that motivates a lot of the kids.”

It was the final race of the winter season for Carrick. No local athletes qualified for the state championships to be held Saturday at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, but plenty that did used the Long Island Elite Indoor Meet as preparation.

Carrick said, “This is definitely a good way to end the winter.”

Carrick’s teammate, Ryan Keane, also enjoyed the experience.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Keane said. “All good runners. You can feel it in the race.”

Keane was determined not to get boxed in and be free to maintain his stride in the 1,000 meters. The senior got off to a fast start and was able to do that, but he still wasn’t entirely satisfied with his time of 2:43.21, which brought him 10th place and was five seconds off his personal record.

Smithtown West junior Michael Denzi was first in 2:35.70.

“The whole race felt like a fight the whole way, the competition, but that’s what made it a good race,” Keane said. “I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty disappointed because I’ve run faster races before, but I’ve just got to use it as motivation for the spring.”

Shoreham-Wading River junior Dylan Jung finished ninth in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Bay Shore senior Marcrene Jeannot turned in a winning jump of 22-5.

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Photo caption: Riverhead senior Ryan Carrick lunging toward the finish line for his third-place finish in the 1,600 meters in the Long Island Elite Indoor Meet at St. Anthony’s High School Saturday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)