While the final event of the evening played out, the real drama occurred on the infield grass at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School’s Harold T. Murray Memorial Field. Mattituck assistant coach Julie Milliman and McGann-Mercy coach Collin Zeffer knelt down on the infield grass with pens and paper in hand, calculating the scores of the various events in their girls track and field meet.
Then, when the high jump results were conveyed to them, they came up with the final score: 73-73.
A tie. Dead even.
Ties in track are rare. Neither Mattituck coach Chris Robinson or Zeffer had either been involved in one before Monday night’s draw.
Of all the possibilities she considered going into the meet, Mattituck sophomore Jordyn Maichin said, “I never thought it was going to be a tie. A tie, I think, is amazing.”
That would be the word.
“It’s definitely not a common ending,” said McGann-Mercy senior Meg Tuthill.
The race for the Suffolk County League VII championship looks like it will be even closer than expected. This meet, originally scheduled to be run 14 days earlier but twice postponed because of bad weather, was seen as essentially deciding the title. Both teams are expected to win out the remainder of their dual meets, which would leave them as co-champions.
“To be honest with you, I’m speechless, but it’s a fitting end to two unbelievable teams that worked so hard,” Robinson said. “It’s down to the wire every time.”
McGann-Mercy (2-0-1) won its fourth league title in five years last spring after defeating Mattituck (1-0-1) in an early-season meet. A lot was riding on the rematch.
The high jump results proved critical. Mattituck’s Taylor Berkoski and Sam Husak both cleared 4 feet 4 inches, with Berkoski taking the tiebreaker by virtue of fewer misses. But freshman Charlotte Ferguson brought McGann-Mercy a pivotal point by equaling her personal best with a third-place jump of 4-3. That gave the Monarchs their 73rd point.
Because McGann-Mercy doesn’t have facilities for the pole vault, it forfeit five points in that event.
Maichin had what amounts to a perfect day. She won three individual events with personal records, and ran on a winning relay team.
Maichin tripled jumped 31-3, threw the discus 63-8 1/2 and heaved the shot put 26-4 1/2. Then she joined Alya Ayoub, Christina Hatzinikoloau and Megan Dinizio on a 4×100-meter relay team that won in 53.1 seconds.
“We just gave it our all,” said Maichin.
As did Tuthill, who will run for Dartmouth College. Tuthill similarly won three individual events and ran for a winning relay team. What was most impressive was how she won the 3,000 meters in 10:47.8, immediately after taking first in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 1:13.0. Those are tough events to run back to back.
But Tuthill, who has lost only one dual meet in her six years, was aware that every point in this meet meant a lot and kept that in her mind during the 3,000 race. “I was thinking if I lose this race and then we lose the meet, I would probably never forgive myself,” she said.
Tuthill also won the 1,500 in 5:20.5 and joined Rita Ellis, Dayna Young and Olivia Kneski on a 4×400 relay team that triumphed in 4:21.
Juliana Cintron-Leonardo was a double winner for the Monarchs in the 100 (13.4) and the long jump (12-8). Teammate Maddie Joinnides was first in the 400 (1:01.6) and Kaitlyn Butterfield won the 800 in 2:24.5.
The 100-meter high hurdles was won by Hatzinikoloau in 18.0. Ferguson was bumped up to first in the 1,500-meter walk after teammate Sarah Dern was disqualified for breaking stride. Dinizio took first in the 200 in 28.3.
After the meet, Robinson told his team that the final result was a tie. One of his athletes asked, “What does that mean?”
Good question. It may mean the teams will finish the season in a tie.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Maddie Joinnides won the 800-meter race. Teammate Kaitlyn Butterfield won the race.
Photo caption: The start of the 1,500-meter race, from left: Mattituck’s Payton Maddaloni, Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Kaitlyn Butterfield, Mattituck’s Mel Pfennig and McGann-Mercy’s Meg Tuthill. (Credit: Garret Meade)