Huntington Track Impressive At Stanner Games
The Armory in New York City attracts some of the best high school track and field athletes in the state, if not the country. So Huntington High School’s boys and girls teams’ recent performance there was all the more impressive.
The Blue Devils were magnificent in the Bishop Molloy Stanner Games at the Armory, with several standout efforts.
“The Stanner Games is a meet that features some of the greatest track teams on the East Coast,” said Ron Wilson, Huntington’s boys head coach.
Wilson was especially happy with the improvement he saw in athletes, including sophomore Kyle O’Brien, who continues to reduce his times in the distance events.
“He ran impressive race in the 1600-meter, improving his personal best from 4:53 to 4:44,” Wilson said. “That’s pretty good for a sophomore! In the 3200-meter run, he improved from 11:01 to 10:38. We’re just so proud of the progress he’s making in track and field.”
Sophomore Infinite Tucker is another Blue Devil steadily climbing into the ranks of New York’s elite. The teenager took home a gold medal for his grade level in the 55-meter hurdles.
“And what a race it was,” said Wilson. “Longwood’s Spencer Payton had a phenomenal start and was the first out of the blocks. He had a clear lead going over the first three hurdles. Then all of a sudden, Tucker started gaining momentum, catching up to him at the fifth hurdle. It was a photo finish. We waited for quite some time before the results were announced. I actually thought the Payton kid won. But, it was a forward lean that gave Tucker the victory.”
Tucker’s time of 8.17 seconds ranks him as the No. 1 sophomore hurdler in Suffolk and No. 3 on Long Island.
Exayvian Crowell captured a bronze medal for his fifth place finish in 8.55 in the same event.
“He usually has the best starts, but for some reason found himself last out of the blocks,” Wilson said.
Huntington sophomore Jahmik Curry finished in eighth in 9.35.
Junior Sondy Jean-Baptiste earned a bronze medal in the high jump when he cleared 6’2. The teenager’s best jump of the season is 6’4, which ties him with Smithtown West senior Alex Ladouceur for No. 1 on Long Island.
Senior Y’Majesty Allen shattered his own school record in the 300-meter dash, finishing second in a field of 180. In the trials for the event, he ran a “very uncomfortable” 35.24 seconds, which while an improvement over his previous best time of 35.27.
This time, he ran 34.81 seconds, crossing the line second behind champion Anton Porter of Mount St. Michael, who finished in 34.27.
Allen later anchored Huntington’s 4×200-meter relay, which includes lead leg senior Marquis Francis, second leg Crowell and third leg Tucker. The relay team improved its time to 1:34.07, which bested their previous school record of 1:34.23. The time is the second fastest in the event this winter behind only Half Hollow Hills West, which has run 1:33.
School records are also falling at the hands of the varsity girls.
“Our sprint and hurdle crew has been consistent and reliable all year,” head coach Debra Cheskes said. “They continue to sharpen their skills and perform well. Our throwers are also steadily improving.”
At the Stanner Games, Nina Cartwright established a school record in the pole vault, clearing 8’8” and taking fourth place. It was the teenager’s first time pole vaulting indoors, an event that takes a lot of practice, athletic ability and coordination. Cartwright’s background in gymnastics has aided immeasurably her improvement in the event.
Alexandra Koumas crushed her own 600-meter record, running the distance in 1:40.57 and placing seventh overall. The time ranks her fourth in Suffolk and in the top 20 in the state.
“To me, this was the race of the day for the girls,” said Shawn Anderson, Huntington’s assistant coach. “She is gaining the confidence she needs to compete with the best and she is showing great consistency.”
Naomi Medina also recorded a personal best in the 55-meter high hurdles, crossing the finish line in 10.06.
The ladies also shined at previous meets. In “Crossover C” meet, Suzie Petryk finished first in both the 1500-meter (5:15) and 3000-meter (11:25) runs. Christine Simpson notched a new Huntington mark in the 1500-meter race-walk when she crossed the line in 8:36. Marina Ruzic leaped 15’6 for third place in the long jump. Hayley Drace was clocked at 10 seconds flat in the 55-meter high hurdles, which placed her seventh in the event.
The Blue Devils continued to sparkle in the North Shore Invitational at the Armory in Manhattan. Savannah Richardson covered the 55-meter dash in 7.96, just off the school record. The teenager also measured an outstanding 33’1 in the triple jump. Ruzic finished eighth in the long jump, a fine showing for the freshman in a tough field. Latoya Shand’s time of 10.03 in the 55-meter high hurdles was a personal best for the teenager. Kiara Roman had a season-best time of 11:35 in the 3000-meter run and clocked a 5:24 in the 1500-meter, a great time in a tough race.
In “Crossover D” meet, Drace, Louise Kopelle, Koumas and Petryk finished first in 10:40.55 in the 4×800-meter relay. Ruzic had a personal best 1:54.85 in the 600-meter run, placing sixth in the event. Petryk was second in the 1000-meter run in 3:11.78. Koumas ran the 1000-meter race in 3:22.17, and Roman completed the 1500-meter run in 5:31.04.