Blue Devils Show They Belong at
Rhode Island Classic
Ron Wilson is never completely happy, but the Huntington High School boys' winter track and field coach just had to smile when asked about his team's performance at the Rhode Island Classic Championships. The Blue Devils enjoyed a gritty medal-winning performance.
Tyriek Johnson, who was named the meet's Most Valuable Performer on the Track, started the competition off for Huntington in the long jump. Johnson fouled on his first attempt and then leaped 20'11 on his next try to put him in first place after the second round. Joe Carraciolo of Massapequa soared 21'3.5 on his third attempt to muscle his way into first place at the close of the preliminary round. But, Johnson wasn't ready to concede just yet.
"Even after running in the prelims of the hurdles, Tyriek came back and jumped 21'3.5 to tie the event; actually to regain first because his other jumps were farther than Carraciolo," Wilson said.
But, Carraciolo was up for the challenge and he jumped 22'3 on his last attempt to claim the crown all for himself. "It was great seeing these two great athletes go back and forth," Wilson said. "The crowd was into and it was an exciting atmosphere to be in at that moment. Johnson shook his opponents hand and congratulated him on his win."
The Huntington dynamo was far from finished in the Rhode Island competition. Once the long jump had concluded, Johnson turned his full attention to the 55m hurdles. The senior blazed through a preliminary round heat in 7.71 seconds, faster than anyone else in the field. The hurdle finals turned out to be just as exciting as the long jump.
"You had Kadesh Roberts of Bay Shore who is No. 2 on the Island behind Johnson, John Fleury of Classical High School in Rhode Island who is No. 1 up there and Dan Lewis of Hillhouse in Connecticut," Wilson said. "Johnson again looked phenomenal."
Going over hurdle No. 4, it appeared as if Johnson had separated himself from the rest of field. "It was a great race," Wilson said. "He finished in 7.64 while Roberts of Bay Shore finished in 7.79."
Senior Ryan Ackerman did a fine job in the 800m run, closing ground late to place sixth in 2:05 and earn a handsome medal. In the shot put, the team of senior Trayvon Toney, junior Shaheem Lewis and freshman Matteo McNeil placed fifth with a combined throw of 125'. Toney tossed the weighted ball 47'7.75. Lewis threw a personal best 47'7.5 and Matteo contributed a throw of 30'.
Johnson was presented with an attractive plaque for the being the Most Valuable Performer on the Track. The teenager was interviewed by the meet announcers "and he spoke very professionally," Wilson said. "I'm so proud of his progress, both on the track and as a person."
The regional competition drew entries from up-and-down the East Coast, including some of Long Island's top athletes. "The boys said it was well worth the travel to Rhode Island," Wilson said about the group he took north. "It was a well-run, well-organized meet!"