Eric Cunha’s school record is safe — at least for another year.
Not that Riverhead High School senior Ryan Carrick didn’t make a valiant attempt at breaking Cunha’s two-year-old school track and field record in the 3,200 meters.
Carrick missed tying that mark by a mere 55/100ths of a second in the Section XI state qualifier at Comsewogue High School’s Tom Cassese Athletic Field Friday. “That’s an extra step, literally,” he said.
His time of 9:47.62, which brought him seventh place, didn’t come without a price, though. He felt physical pain.
“It wasn’t just my legs that were hurting,” he said. “It was everything.”
That’s not to say that Carrick didn’t feel good about what he had done. With his future coach from SUNY/New Paltz in attendance, Carrick ran the final lap in 67 seconds, his fastest split of the race. He averaged 72-second splits for the rest of the race. Carrick said it was the hardest he has ever pushed himself in the 3,200.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Even though I didn’t get the school record, I’m still very happy with the time. I ran very hard.”
Smithtown East senior Kevin Cawley was first in 9:30.09. Shoreham-Wading River junior Adam Zelin came in 23rd in 10:53.53.
Carrick said the pain kicked in on the fifth lap. “The fifth lap out of eight is the worst one for me,” he said. “It’s just like, if I make it through that lap, the sixth, seventh and eighth laps [are] easy.”
Carrick will run the 1,600 Saturday when the two-day meet concludes, but he said this was the last 3,200 of his high school career.
“That school record has been on my mind for a very long time,” he said. “I just missed it but, like I said, it was still fun trying to go for it.”
Elsewhere, Riverhead’s William Borges pole vaulted 13 feet to finish ninth and teammate Jacob Gilmartin was tied for 19th at 11-0. SWR’s Dylan Jung was 10th in the long jump (20-10 3/4) and Michael Casazza was 16th in the shot put (42-9). Through three events in the pentathlon, Riverhead’s Sean Allen was 11th in the standings with 1,671 points. The senior finished seventh in the shot put (35-3 3/4), 10th in the 110 hurdles (17.12) and tied for 11th in the high jump (5-6).
Garcia runs her best 800 time. Nicole Garcia was hurting bad, yet feeling real good at the same time.
The SWR junior had turned in the fastest time she had ever run in the 800 — a difficult event that essentially amounts to a long sprint — in the Section XI state qualifier.
“It was really painful,” she said, “but I pushed as hard as I can and I got the time I wanted.”
That time was 2:19.00, slicing 38/100ths of a second off her previous best time and bringing her sixth place. Brentwood junior Donisha Jeanty won in 2:13.28.
“It felt really hard at first because I went fast like I was told to, but following the other girls helped push me to go a little faster,” said Garcia, who ran the first 400 in 67 seconds.
Unlike some track athletes, Garcia didn’t shy away from running the demanding 800. In fact, she embraced it.
“I love this event,” she said. “It just pushes me so much, and I love to challenge myself.”
With the pain, came some gain.
“Oh, I’m so happy with this,” Garcia said of her time. “The pain was really bad, but I kept going.”
Riverhead’s Christina Yakaboski finished 11th in the 3,000 in 10:54.03.
Photo caption: Riverhead senior Ryan Carrick missed tying a school record in the 3,200 meters by 55/100ths of a second. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)