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05/22/14 5:00pm
05/22/2014 5:00 PM
McGann-Mercy senior Danisha Carter, shown here Monday in the preliminaries, ran a personal best time in the 200-dash Wednesday at the Division III Championships. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

McGann-Mercy senior Danisha Carter, shown here Monday in the preliminaries, ran a personal best time in the 200-dash Wednesday at the Division III Championships. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

In a 4 x 100-meter relay, every handoff is crucial. One small misstep can be all that it takes to squash a top time.

When McGann-Mercy’s relay team ran the preliminaries of the Division III Championships Monday at Connetquot High School, a shaky handoff between the first two legs served as important reminder. Back at practice the next day, the Monarchs spent a good chunk of time rehearsing the critical handoffs.  (more…)

04/08/14 3:00pm
04/08/2014 3:00 PM
McGann-Mercy senior Luis Cintron won four events in a dual meet against Ross Monday, including the 400-hurdles. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

McGann-Mercy senior Luis Cintron won four events in a dual meet against Ross Monday, including the 400-hurdles. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

In both hurdle races in track and field, a runner must clear 10 hurdles to complete each race. The shorter race, the 110-meter hurdles, and the longer 400 may seem quite similar.

As Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Luis Cintron knows, conquering both races presents a unique challenge.  (more…)

06/08/13 3:25pm
06/08/2013 3:25 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle.


Before the proceedings began, Dan Normoyle dubbed the occasion “Big Pole Saturday.” It was appropriate enough, with the 29 best high school boys pole vaulters in the state competing in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships at Middletown High School.

The theory is that the longer the pole, the higher it will propel pole vaulters through the air. Normoyle, though, actually used two poles of the same length: 15 feet, one a little thicker than the other. Afterward, he acknowledged that, in his case at least, it wasn’t “Big Pole Saturday.” Normoyle didn’t quite go as high as he would have liked, but the Riverhead senior still turned in the third-best performance in the competition, and that’s not bad at all.

Normoyle cleared 14 feet 6 inches, finishing behind Justin Farrenkopf of Ellenville (15-0) and James Steck of Shaker (14-6). Another Riverheader, junior Charles Villa, was ninth at 14-0.

“It was tough today,” Normoyle said. “It wasn’t my best, but I put my all into it. There was nothing else I could have done. It wasn’t the best day for a lot of people.”

That includes the meet favorite, Warwick Valley junior Todd Uckermark, one of two pole vaulters who failed to clear a height.

Normoyle, the Section XI champion who broke his own school record by reaching 15-0 in a state qualifying meet eight days earlier, complained afterward that he lacked confidence. Then, using a phrase Yogi Berra would have appreciated, he said pole vaulting is “90 percent mental, and the rest is in your head.”

Because of heavy rain on Friday, the scheduled two-day meet was condensed into one day. Normoyle said he was in a better mental state to compete on Friday. Instead, he went to lunch with his parents and saw a movie that day.

Villa entered the competition at 13-0, and Normoyle started at 13-6. They both made heights without missing to be among the 12 pole vaulters still standing after reaching 14-0. For some of the athletes, that height represented a ceiling.

“That’s the dividing line right there,” Villa said. “That’s where it starts to really get hard.”

Both Riverheaders passed on 14-3, going straight to 14-6. That’s when Villa ran into trouble, fouling on his first two attempts and then failing on his third and final one. Normoyle made good on his first attempt at 14-6, but he couldn’t handle 14-9, although he came awfully close on his final try, just nipping the bar.

“I just didn’t have the rhythm today, I guess,” said Normoyle, who gave up playing football to devote himself to pole vaulting.

Normoyle may have been disappointed, but his coach, Steve Gevinski, wasn’t disappointed in him.

“I thought he was amazing, just the strength and the speed he showed was unbelievable,” said the Riverhead coach.

Friday’s postponement made life difficult for Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, who had to run two long-distance finals on Saturday as a result. Udvadia clocked a time of 9 minutes 10.24 seconds to take sixth place in the 3,200 meters, which saw Nick Ryan of Fayetteville-Manlius triumph in 8:58.28.

“I dozed off during the race,” Udvadia said. “I wasn’t paying attention. I let the front pack get too far ahead.”

Ryan nearly pulled off an impressive double later in the day, with only a few hours to recover. He was nipped at the finish line by Eric Holt of Carmel in the 1,600 final. Holt’s winning time was 4:07.00, just 55/100ths of a second faster than Ryan. Udvadia was eighth in 4:17.11.

“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Honestly, anything under 4:20 I’ll be happy with.”

Two Mattituck athletes made their first appearance in the state meet. Darius Brew, a freshman and the youngest competitor in the triple jump, came in 23rd place with a distance of 40-3 1/2.

“I feel I did O.K,” Brew said. “It’s acceptable because I’m young, but I feel I could have done better.”

His teammate, junior Sal Loverde, did not have one of his better days, throwing 126-0 for 28th place. The winning throw was 181-9 by Jericho’s Noah White.

“It was unreal,” Loverde said. “The amount of competition is great.”

CARTER SETS HER BEST TIME IN 100 Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Danisha Carter posted a personal-best time in the 100 meters. The junior was 16th in the 100 in 12.89. She was 13th in the 200 in 26.32.

“I think I did [well] for the competition that I was up against,” Carter said. “My back has been killing me, so I came in thinking I wasn’t going to do [well] at all.”

McGann-Mercy was represented by another athlete at Middletown’s sparkling Faller Field. Delina Auciello, a junior celebrating her 17th birthday, was reportedly not feeling well with a stomach ache, but still competed in the 3,000 finals. She finished 25th in 11:28.73.

Competing in the state meet can be a humbling experience. Even top runners can find themselves near the back of the pack.

McGann-Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said, “New York State is a big state.”

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05/31/13 8:54pm
05/31/2013 8:54 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck pentathlon athlete Shannon Dwyer competing in the 100-meter high hurdles on Friday.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck pentathlon athlete Shannon Dwyer competing in the 100-meter high hurdles on Friday.


Delina Auciello is headed upstate and while she is up there, she will undoubtedly enjoy a piece of cake.

Auciello and another Bishop McGann-Mercy junior, Danisha Carter, both qualified on Friday for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls track and field championships. The timing is interesting, with the state meet to be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School. June 8 will be Auciello’s 17th birthday.

“That’s why I really wanted to go,” she said. “Yeah, it’s a birthday present.”

Auciello was ninth overall and the top Division II finisher in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10 minutes 58.39 seconds on Friday in the Section XI individual championship state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School. It was only her third time running the 3,000 competitively, and she was emotional following her race.

“I’m going to cry,” she said, but she successfully held back tears during an interview.

Auciello went to the state meet when she was a freshman as an alternate on a 4×400-meter relay team.

Cater punched her ticket to the state meet in both the 100- and 200-meter events by virtue of her performances on Friday. She clocked times of 13.03 seconds, bringing her 12th overall in the 100 preliminaries, and 26.22, good for seventh overall in the 200, but also qualifying her for Saturday’s finals in that event.

“We made it, yes,” Carter said. “I’m really, really excited, and it’s totally unbelievable.”

Carter said she was so amped up about the state qualifier that she “could not go to sleep last night at all. I was so pressured. I really, really wanted to do so good.”

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Carter did well in the 200. She said it’s her favorite and best event. “That’s my race,” she said.

Earlier this season, Carter broke the school record in the 200 with a time of 26.20, which is just 2/100ths of a second off the time she recorded on Friday.

Now the two Monarchs will get to run on an even bigger stage.

“That’s all we wanted from the beginning of the year,” Carter said. “It’s what we’ve been looking forward to.”

If nothing else, it should make for a memorable birthday for Auciello.

TRACK NOTES Riverhead junior Kyra Braunskill took sixth place in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet 6 1/2 inches, a personal record.

The second and final day of the state qualifying meet will be tomorrow.

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04/18/13 8:56pm
04/18/2013 8:56 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy junior Danisha Carter won two individual events Thursday after breaking a school record in the 200 last Saturday.

When Danisha Carter joined the track & field team at McGann-Mercy last year for the first time, she found the perfect mentor in Sasa Vann.

As an all-state sprinter, Vann finished her career last spring with multiple school records, including in the 100, 200 and 400 for the outdoor season.

“She was always the one to go to for anything,” Carter said. “I’ve always looked up to her and wanted to be, if not as good as her, just match up to her time wise.”

Now a junior, Carter has become the go-to runner for the Monarchs in sprinting events. And it didn’t take her long to match her former teammate in one event.

At the Suffolk Coaches’ Meet Saturday in Bay Shore, Carter ran 26.4 seconds in the 200-meter dash to break the school record previously held by Vann.

“It was a big thing for me,” Carter said.

It’s not often records fall so early in the season. Carter’s ability to run a personal best time at this point in the season speaks volumes on her potential.

Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said Carter has a good chance of making it to states later this spring. Babylon junior Ashley Lucas would be the toughest challenger to Carter in Division II, Turnbull said.

“Next year she could probably be top-three [overall] in the county,” Turnbull said.

There were no record runs for Carter Thursday, but she still did her part in helping the Monarchs roll past Ross School in a dual meet at Mercy. Carter won the 100 and 200 and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4 x 100 relay team.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Matt Abazis races ahead of teammate Patrick Derenze Thursday.

The Monarchs cruised to a 105-27 victory against the short-handed Cosmos, who had only seven girls at the meet.

In a meet that didn’t feature much drama — several races had runners competing unopposed or only against a teammate — Carter and three teammates delivered the highlight.

In the 4 x 100 relay, Ross raced out to about a seven-meter lead after the first two legs. But Lindsey Woodhull quickly closed that gap after grabbing the baton on the third leg. By the time Carter received the baton, she had only a few strides to make up.

Carter surged into first and cruised down the final straightaway for the victory in :57.3.

“When we started I was like, ‘Oh God, we’re so far behind,’ ” Carter said. “But [Lindsey] picked it up.”

It was a mishmash group running the relay. For Carter it was her first time running the 4 x 1 after running the 4 x 4 in previous meets. Carter and Woodhull had never exchanged the baton before in the event.

“It was pretty good,” Carter said. “I’m glad [Lindsey] picked it up. We switched up positions in the beginning a couple times and then we got it down.”

In the 100 Carter ran 13.2 and in the 200 she ran 27.8.

Junior Delina Auciello won a pair of events Thursday for Mercy. She ran the 400-hurdles in 1:14.4 and the 1,500 in 5:36.8. Freshman Meg Tuthill won the 3,000 in 11:56 and was second in the 400-hurdles in 1:18.3.

Auciello finished third in the 3,000 at the Suffolk Coaches Meet in 11:22.1. Tuthill ran a 5:03.7 in the 1,500 at the same meet.

Against Ross, Adafih Blackburn won the 100-hurdles in :20.7 and Dayna Young won the 800 in 2:52.4. Maddie Joinnides won the 400 in 1:03.3.

The Mercy boys competed against Ross at the same meet Thursday and won in similarly dominant fashion. Ross had only seven boys competing and the Monarchs won 101-19.

Junior Matt Abazis won the 1,600 (5:10) and the 800 (2:11.7).

Junior Luis Cintron ran uncontested in the 110-hurdles and posted a time of 18.4. He also won the 400-hurdles in 1:03.2.

Riley Joinnides won the 400 in :57.1 and the 3,200 in a race all by himself in 11:41.9. Alex Fabrizio won the 100 in 12.3.

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