They just keep getting better and better. The Huntington High School boys’ indoor track and field team ran away from a field of two dozen opponents and won the Section XI large school county championship at Suffolk-West in Brentwood last Friday night.
Jaylen Bush was happy after setting a personal best time in the 55m hurdles.
The Blue Devils methodically accumulated points in event after event to put a comfortable distance between themselves and everyone else. The most stunning statement of which team was the best came in the 600m run when Huntington swept the first three places in an awesome display of talent.
Sophomores Isaiah James (1:25.14) and CJ Kiviat (1:25.51) and junior Justin Stevens (1:25.68) finished 1-2-3 to give Huntington an astonishing 24 points in the 600m run.
In the 4x400m relay, Kiviat, James, Stevens and senior Johnathan Smith cruised around the track in 3:31.61 to easily win the Suffolk large school’s crown. The time is more than 10 seconds off their best of the season, but Huntington head coach Ron Wilson saw no reason for anyone to overexert and potentially get injured.
Smith had been penciled in to run the 4x200m relay, too, but after winning the 4x400m and clinching the team championship, Wilson changed his mind. Instead, the Blue Devils sent Nasir Youngblood, Jason Turner, Josiah Melendez and Anthony Joseph onto the track.
Huntington appeared well positioned to win the event, by Turner got tripped up while getting ready to pass off the baton to Melendez, lost his balance and delayed the handoff. The Blue Devils found themselves far behind the rest of the field, but Melendez and Joseph did a great job making up enough ground to capture fourth place.
“We did well overall,” James said. “We have been working to the bone at practice. For the 600m run, CJ, Justin and I set a goal to place 1-2-3 and rack up points. We all pushed each other to the finish. Any of us could’ve taken it to be honest. Going into the 4x400 we were pretty confident we had it, however we thought Johnathan was running the 4x200 right after so we tried to put as much of a gap as possible so he wouldn’t have to go all out and would have energy to go back to back.”
Earlier in the evening, Smith finished second in the county in the 300m in a wild finish. The Huntington star crossed the finish line in 34.99 seconds, a mere 6/100ths of a second behind Longwood senior Jaheim Dotson. Joseph finished fourth in 36.77 seconds.
Wilson and his staff were thrilled with how the meet unfolded. “Just about everyone did what we needed them to do,” he said. “We needed to be on our game with so many great athletes competing.”
“Everything went great,” Smith said. “I feel like everyone stepped up to the plate for what they had to do in order us to win. We weren’t worried about winning individual events because there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team.’ Everyone wanted to win the team title. It was a great meet overall. I’m very surprise that I ran 34 point in the 300m on a flat track. I never thought that I would. I‘m just excited to see what we can do at the state qualifier.”
Seniors Jaden Bholan (6-00.00 feet) and Joe Garetano (5-10.00 feet) finished second and fourth, respectively, in high jump. Senior Eric Sands (48-08.00 feet) and junior Gary Barash (46.00.50 feet) placed second and fourth, respectively, in shot put. Rahliek Thompson was ninth in triple jump with a leap of 40.11.50 feet.
Junior Jaylen Bush set a new personal best time of 7.98 seconds en route to a fourth place finish in the 55m hurdles. “Everything went great,” Bush said. “I’m happy to break eight seconds. This should be a wakeup call to run better at the state qualifier.”
Youngblood placed eighth in long jump with a leap of 20.00.50 feet and finished ninth in the 55m dash in a time of 6.90 seconds.
“The team as a whole did a great job executing goals in every race,” Stevens said. “Everyone knew what they had to do to help bring home the county championship and at the end of the day that’s exactly what we did.”
Final team standings: 1. Huntington-77 points; 2. Longwood-50; 3. Northport-38; 4. Brentwood-37; 5. Commack-32; 6. Central Islip-30; 7. Smithtown West-27; 8. Copiague-21; 9. Bay Shore-20; 10. Sachem East-16; 10. Bellport-16; 12. Smithtown East-14; 13. North Babylon-10; 13. Half Hollow Hills East-10; 15. Ward Melvile-9; 15. Connetquot-9; 17. William Floyd-6; 18. Riverhead-4; 18. West Islip-4; 20. Sachem North-2; 20. Walt Whitman-2