The most surreal season in the history of the Huntington High School boys’ winter track and field team ended in a snap of cold weather. The Blue Devils did everything they could to make the year worthwhile and memorable.
Coached by Ron Wilson and Eli Acosta, Huntington faced many obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team braved cold temperatures and even snow. The Blue Devils managed to compete in a pair of meets before the year wrapped up.
The team was captained by CJ Kiviat, Anthony Joseph, Andrew McKenzie, Aidan Heller and Mekai Butts. The squad included 30 athletes.
Anthony Joseph, Julio Martinez, Aidan Heller, Andrew McKenzie, Matteo Armstrong, John Chirico, Quincy Chery and Mekai Butts were all named to the All-League team.
“We are extremely proud of the progress these young men made this season,” Wilson said. “Their outstanding performances have once again kept them in the forefront on Long Island. Unfortunately, the season was turned upside down when athletes had to end the year early to do another sport. The weather wasn’t cooperative as well.”
The Huntington boys’ track and field program is a perennial county and state power and has also emerged as one of the best in the nation.
“Our goal is to continue to teach the fundamentals of track and field to high school athletes,” Wilson said. “To compete at a high level, win our league and county championships, and make it to the state championship and win there as well.
The top athletes included:
Anthony Joseph: Events: 300m, long jump, 4x400m relay, 4x200m relay
“Anthony emerged as one of the top 400m sprinters in the state, arguably in the country,” Wilson said. “There’s such great potential in this young man. If he works hard in both the classroom and on the track, he will have an opportunity to go to any school of his choice.”
Mekai Butts: Event: shot put
Butts was one of the top throwers in the county this year with marks of 47-11 feet in shot put. He was unbeaten in dual meets.
Julio Martinez: Events: 55m, 300m, 4x400m, 4x200m
“Julio had to step up this year and take on a huge responsibility as our lead sprinter,” Wilson said. “He didn’t fail. He was unbeaten in the 55m dash and ran lead leg on our 4x400m and 4x200m relays that were also unbeaten with top times in the county.”
Andrew McKenzie, Aidan Heller, Matt Armstrong: Events: Distance runners
“These three young men have stepped up their game and have done a fantastic job for us,” Wilson said. “They either won or scored in every distance event from the 600m dash to the 3200m run. Their hard work coupled with ability and strength propelled our team forward this awkward winter season.”
It is difficult to understate the challenges the Blue Devils faced, all the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Training was impacted in ways unimaginable a year earlier.
Despite it all, Wilson was happy with his team. “This is a talented group of athletes that believe in one another. They gave their best effort at every meet. I’m very proud of their accomplishments this season. They made coming to practice enjoyable for me. We are praying that this pandemic will soon be over and our kids can get back to some type of normalcy. We unfortunately graduate a strong cast of athletes who would have done extremely well under normal circumstances. We will be rebuilding for the next two years and see where that takes us.”