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Boys Winter Track: Confort takes comfort in his hurdling progress

It would have been entirely understandable if Angelo Confort didn’t see much of a future for himself as a hurdler the first time he tried hurdling when he was in seventh grade.

The Riverhead High School junior said, “I’m pretty sure I hit the hurdle and I fell down, and I was just like, ‘Wow. I don’t think I can do this.’ ”

Now, several years later, he’s an elite hurdler, one of Long Island’s best.

Confort entered this, his first winter track season, with the idea of it being good preparation for the upcoming outdoor season. It has turned into much more than that. He has qualified as one of only two Suffolk County athletes in the 55-meter hurdles (Commack senior Brett Atkin is the other) for the state championships to be run Saturday at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island.

Confort has come a long way since that inauspicious first hurdle years ago, even surprising himself with his progress.

“Coming in as a junior, most of the guys I’m going to be competing against are seniors and there’s only like a handful of people in my grade that are going to the meet at all, not even just in hurdles,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

As a final tuneup for the state meet, Confort took second place in the Long Island Elite Meet Saturday at St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington. He clocked a time of 8.15 seconds in the final (1/100th of a second slower than his time in the preliminaries). Freeport sophomore Jordon Quinn was first in 7.90.

Riverhead senior Justin Mason ran 9.09 in the prelims but did not qualify for the six-person final.

Confort said his time in the final wasn’t good for him. He has run as fast as 7.85, which he clocked in the prelims of the state qualifying meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood Feb. 14. He also came in second in that meet in 7.92, behind Atkin (7.87).

Interestingly, Confort is following in the footsteps of former Riverhead hurdler Tyreek Parker, who was first in the 55 hurdles at the Long Island Elite Meet in 2020 before going on to take sixth place among public school runners and eighth in the Federation at the state meet that year at Ocean Breeze.

Last year’s six-week outdoor track season was Confort’s first, and he competed in divisional and county championships.

“I had decent times, but this year I’m hoping to do a lot better, go a lot further,” he said.

Coach Steve Gevinski said Confort’s development as a hurdler has been “just outstanding. He started off, he could barely break nine seconds. Every week he just kept on getting better and better.”

Confort has never been to Ocean Breeze before, but he’s excited about the opportunity ahead of him.

“There will probably be colleges there looking at the meet, so hopefully I can perform well for them and hopefully get some eyes on me and maybe take this to the next level, you know,” he said. “I’d love to run in college.”

Outdoors, Confort runs the 110 high hurdles and 400 intermediate hurdles. The shorter indoor distance has given him a chance to work on quickening his starts, which should be beneficial in the spring.

“It’s really all about form,” he said, “and once you get the form, you kind of get your speed going and you’re able to go a lot faster and become a real competitor.”

Gevinski said: “I think outdoors he’ll beat everybody. He puts it out there. He works really hard. He never misses a day, so you got to give him credit for that.”

Gevinski wants to give Confort a look at the high jump and long jump as well during the outdoor season, but there’s no question where Confort’s greatest value lies — as a hurdler.

“It is my favorite event,” he said. “I’ve just grown to love it over the years because I’ve gotten to see myself progress so much and I’m seeing progress. That’s kind of what I look for.”