Boys Track and Field: Riverhead’s Angelo Confort takes County title in 55-meter hurdle

Before Angelo Confort gets into his stance for the 55-meter hurdles, he looks to the skies and makes the sign of the cross. As he crouches down, Confort takes the golden cross that hangs around his neck and places it in his mouth, holding onto it with clenched teeth, waiting for the starter gun to sound.

“It brings me closer to God,” Confort said.

The Riverhead senior had just tied his personal best time with a 7.85 second sprint in the preliminary heat to secure a spot in the Section XI Boys Large School 55-meter hurdle final at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood Sunday morning.

“That will probably win him the event,” Riverhead head coach Pete Gevinski said after the prelims. “If he can just do that again, he should have it.”

Gevinski has been working on Confort’s get off at the very beginning of the race.

“There’s some things we’ve been working on with how he starts,” Gevinski said. “A few tweaks here and there and he could chop off critical time. He’s been working really hard at it.”

As the gun sounded, Confort sprang into action and galloped over the hurdles with natural ease. He was clearly ahead of the other competitors from start to finish and was going to win handily. He crossed the finish line to secure first place and looked up at the board to see his time. As he caught his breath, the time lit up: 7.69 seconds.

Confort took off running in joy before finding assistant track coach Sal Loverde and embracing him with a hug. 

“I just felt so happy I needed to hug someone,” Confort said. “Coach [Sal] Loverde, Gevinski and [Matthew] Yakaboski have always been there for me to help with anything I needed and got me to this point.”

In complete disbelief, he paraded around the track, being greeted by friends and teammates who congratulated him on the accomplishment. He finally got around to his dad who was screaming in joy himself. He hugged his father as hard as he could.

“My family is my biggest motivator,” Confort said. “They put so much time into it. As much as I do really — with taking me to practices when I was young, taking me to lessons, to camps. So I do this for my family and I do it for God of course.”

Confort shattered his personal record by .16 seconds which is a massive jump in the moment he needed it most. 

“I was just aiming for a [personal record],” Confort said. “Low 7.8s but to get 7.69 is insane. I had an all-right start. It wasn’t great and could definitely be better but I think my turnover over the hurdles was really good.”

Last year, Confort made it to the nationals in the 55-meter hurdles but didn’t place how he would like to. This year, he is trying to get back to that stage. He still needs to qualify for states and place in the states but he already has his eye on the prize. 

“I didn’t do very well at nationals last year,” Confort said. “That’s the best of the best, you know. I’m hoping I can get a top spot this time around.”

Confort was also a key cog in Riverhead’s 4×200-meter relay team. The group of Confort, Jeremy Carey, William Hunt and Yousses Rencher came into the event with the sixth-best time in Suffolk County. They put together a spectacular event and finished in second place — a mere second behind first place.

“There was one exchange that did it for us,” Gevinski said. “If we clean that up, we get first.”

Riverhead finished in ninth place out of 21 teams attending the event. Carey hit a personal best in the triple jump with 41 feet, 10.25 inches, which landed him in sixth place. Hunt ran a personal best in the 55-meter dash with 6.7 seconds that earned him a sixth-place finish as well. Rounding out the point scoring for Riverhead was their 4×800-meter relay team. The quartet of Tim Bowe, Jonathan Furio, Kalum Marangio and Bryan Martinez secured a sixth-place finish in the event.

“I was really happy with the results of the meet,” Gevinski said. “Almost everyone on the team hit a personal best today. It’s truly a testament of the work these kids are continually putting in.”

Shoreham-Wading River participated in the Section XI Small Schools Championship that took place Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats placed 12th out of 23 teams. Captain and senior Benjamin Wyszomierski led the way for SWR. He placed third in the 1000-meter run, fourth in the 1600-meter run and was the final leg on the sixth-place 4×800 relay team. Wyszomierski and his brother Noah, who was also a part of the 4×800 relay, each ran three events that took place one after the other. To still be able to place in the events after running multiple different events when others only run one specialized event speaks volumes to SWR head track coach Joseph Mordarski.

“Track is a team event and also an individual event,” Mordarski said. “This event was still team-oriented. Once we get to state qualifiers it becomes more individual. These guys wanted to win. They beg to spread themselves out. They are all about the team and embody the character in the sport that is necessary to move our program forward.”

Also bringing the Wildcats points was Michael Huebner. He finished fourth in the 1000-meter run while breaking his personal record with a time of 2:38.20. 

“We’re going to figure out what is each athlete’s best event and put our best foot forward to get some of our guys to qualify for states,” Modarski said. “They are the hardest-working group I’ve ever been around.”