Jack Dufton has never met Keith Reda, but he’s been chasing after him for three years. On Saturday, Dufton passed by him.
Dufton broke a Mattituck High School pentathlon record that had been on the books and owned by Reda for 26 years. By winning the 1,500-meter run, the final phase of the pentathlon in the Section XI Individual Championships/state qualifier, with a time of 4 minutes 23.50 seconds, Dufton totaled 3,017 points. That left him in second place behind West Islip junior Andrew Lauriquet (3,140), but surpassed the mark of 2,933 that Reda set in 1990.
When Dufton crossed the finish line at Port Jefferson High School and saw his time, that was all he needed to know.
“I was just ecstatic,” said the senior, who already holds a number of other school records. “I couldn’t be happier, and it was instant gratification. I crossed the line, looked right up at the clock, and I knew that I did it. It’s a great feeling.”
Dufton, who will run for Amherst College (Massachusetts), also qualified for the state meet for the second straight year. That meet will be run Friday and Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Was this school record worth waiting for?
“Definitely,” Dufton said. “I was trying to grab it last year, and it just didn’t happen. I wasn’t where I needed to be in a lot of my field events.”
It was a complete performance by Dufton. He set personal records in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.89 seconds), the shot put (33 feet 7 1/4 inches), tied his best high jump (5-10) and turned in his best long jump in a pentathlon, 18-1.
“It was a good two days,” said Dufton, who improved upon his previous high point total by nearly 100 points.
“Jack is potential fulfilled,” Mattituck coach Karl Himmelmann said. “He has tremendous potential. He knew he was close last time (at the division championships) and he knew what he needed to work on, and he worked on it.”
In reference to the new school record of 3,017, Dufton may have a new nickname. Just call him Mr. 3,000.
Photo caption: Jack Dufton, who cleared 5 feet 10 inches in the high jump, went on to break a 26-year-old Mattituck High School record in the pentathlon. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)