Luis Morales had been warned to expect low numbers when he took over as the new coach of the Greenport/Southold high school boys track and field team. Morales, however, was pleasantly surprised to end up with 32 athletes on his team, a nice number for a small school.
But there is another number that Morales and his athletes have to feel good about: 3-0.
By sweeping a double-dual meet on Thursday, the Clippers stood atop Suffolk County League VIII with a 3-0 record. Port Jefferson (1-0), which will host the Clippers on Wednesday, was the only other undefeated team in the league.
For the Clippers, first place is a pretty lofty place for a team that went 1-5 last season.
“We’re all pumped, we’re all celebrating,” said Morales, whose team doesn’t have a home track for meets. “I keep telling them, ‘At this point, you got to work even harder.’ ”
Morales, a former track athlete at East Hampton High School, went on to compete in track and crew at LIU Post. He coached East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson’s boys track team the last five years before coming to Greenport.
“From day one I saw there’s a lot of talent on the team,” he said.
That talent showed in Thursday’s double-dual meet at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. The Clippers defeated McGann-Mercy, 69-45, and Ross, 94-18.
Oscar Coc Tomas won in the 110-meter high hurdles in 18.8 seconds, beating his previous best time by two seconds, and Maleik Yoskovich, coming back from an Achilles’ strain injury, took first in the 100 in 11.9 in his first meet. “He came back without missing a step,” said Morales.
And there was more. Mateo Arias-Roldan grabbed first in the 800 in a personal-record 2:18. Owen Klipstein led a sweep of points in the 1,600, winning in 5:10. The 4×100 relay team of Justin Bracken, Jason Cruz, Ben Bracken and Yoskovich won against Ross in a season-best 49.5.
The Clippers did well with victories in the field events, too. Discus thrower Nick Wallace turned in a season-best throw of 108 feet 8 inches. Yoskovich long jumped 19-1, Klipstein covered 37-1 in the triple jump and James Thilberg took first in the shot put with a distance of 36-2.
In their first dual meet, the Clippers edged Stony Brook, 67-65.
“We have two great challenges coming up,” said Morales, referring to the team’s last two dual meets against Port Jefferson and May 10 at Mattituck.
“We need to stay focused and we got to work hard,” he said. “There are no shortcuts. … The guys are pretty excited at how far they’ve taken the season.”
Photo caption: The Greenport/Southold boys track and field team is off to a 3-0 start under their new coach, Luis Morales. (Credit: Courtesy photo)