Huntington Boys' Track Strong in Grinch Games
The Grinch Games at Fordham University typically draw a strong field of high school track and field athletes. The Huntington High School boys' team was up to the challenge, turning in several sterling performances at last week's competition.
"The Grinch Games is a great meet that our boys look to participate in every year," head coach Ron Wilson said. "It's mostly private schools, but a few public schools do attend. It was a great meet. Our boys put in some stellar performances."
Junior Tyriek Johnson set a new school record of 7.4 seconds in the 55m high hurdles, placing first overall. He then went on to anchor the 4 x 200m relay team (which includes Mike Marchetta, Jared Thorbourne, Trayvnon Toney). The relay finished first in a time of1:38.19.
"What a race these young men ran," Wilson said. "We actually debated whether we were going to run the relays at all. We really hadn't practiced the hand-offs, but the boys really wanted to run it, so [assistant] coach [Eli] Acosta and I went along with their idea."
Marchetta led off and maintained the second position. He then handed the baton off to Toney who continued to maintain that same second position. Toney handed off to Thorbourne, who made up a lot of ground and passed the race leader on the back stretch to put the Blue Devils in first. Thorbourne handed off to Johnson, who expanded the lead to more than 40 meters. "What's great is that all of these boys are only juniors," Wilson said.
In other events:
• Junior Ryan Ackerman earned a silver medal in the 1000m run, finishing in 2:53.
• In the shot put, Richie Fernandez finished third in the senior division with a throw of 47-feet. Junior teammate Trayvon Toney finished in first in his category with a throw 43'6 - his best ever. "We all looked at him and said 'Welcome Back Trey,' Wilson said. "He was going through a spell where he couldn't even throw 38-feet."
• Sophomore Shaheem Lewis threw 42'6 to place second in his class in the shot put. Junior Conor Reilly also received a 'welcome back' from Wilson and the team when on his last attempt he threw 39'11.75 to place fourth. It was his first medal of the season. "He was happy to be back as well," Wilson said.
"It was our underclassmen who actually stole the show," Wilson said. In the distance events, freshman Tyler Wolfe earned two second place medals for the 1600m run (4:48) and the 600m (1:35). On his last attempt in the shot put, eighth grader, Matteo McNeil threw 39'9 to place second in the freshmen class.
In the 55m high hurdles, Matt Whitcher placed second in a time of 9.9 seconds, his best performance this year. "He continues to improve every time he steps out on the track," Wilson said. "I'm hoping he continues in the spring because he has quite a bit of potential in the hurdles."
Running in the second heat, freshman Giancarlo Puello won the 300m dash. He was supposed to be in the first heat, but there were some complications during the clerking in of the race. But, Puello didn't let that stop him. "He ran in the second heat, took the lead, and never looked back." Wilson said. "That's him! Once he gets out there, it's hard to run him down."
Blue Devil highlights also included:
• Freshmen Y'Majesty Allen and Mark Henry Sanon placed third and sixth, respectively in the 300m dash event. Eighth grader, Christian Fiordelisi was fifth in the 300m dash in 48.1 seconds.
• The freshman 4 x 200m relay team of (Allen, Puello, Joshua Watkins, Kyle Davis) finally got their opportunity to run this particular race. "This team of youngsters has been trying to run this event since the season started," Wilson said. "It paid off for them to finally run it." Davis was the lead leg and he didn't have a great start, but didn't lose too much ground. After his 200m lap, the team was in third place. He handed the baton off to Puello, who made up some ground and passed a runner on the back stretch. He handed off to Watkins, who was on the heels of the second and first place runners. Watkins eventually passed both runners in the last curve of his lap. Allen, who stepped up his game, took the baton in first and never relinquished the lead again. Like Tyriek Johnson did in a different relay event, Allen opened a huge lead of about 20 meters before crossing the finish line first in 1:47. "They were very happy to be taking away the gold in that event," Wilson said.
As Huntington heads into the "meat" of the season, the team is a confident bunch. "It's a new year and we are now ready to 'run express,'" Wilson said. "We have some big meets this month and we have to prepare ourselves. We are going to work hard and encourage one another to do our best."
The Blue Devils will compete in the Hispanic Games this Saturday at the Armory in New York City. Following in short order will be the county relays and the league and county championships. "We have some athletes that can make some noise in these meets," Wilson said