Alya Ayoub may have felt like jumping straight up in the air and yelling, “Whoopee!”
She didn’t, though. The Mattituck High School senior restrained herself, out of consideration for those long jumpers who had failed to qualify for the state track and field championships.
“I stayed humble because I know how that feels,” Ayoub said of the disappointment of falling short. “It happened to me last year.”
Not this year, though.
With a long jump of 16 feet, 7 3/4 inches in the Section XI Individual Championships/state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School, Ayoub qualified Friday for her first state meet.
“Every year I come here and I mess up, and my last year, I did it,” she said.
Ayoub, who finished seventh overall, had consecutive jumps of 15-0 before nailing the one that will send her to Union-Endicott High School for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships on June 9 and 10.
What Ayoub had to do was finish ahead of Elwood/John Glenn senior Miranda Rusinski, and she did. Rusinski was ninth at 16-3 3/4.
Ayoub had taken her practice jumps and was ready to go before the sky opened up and rain, accompanied by growling thunder, fell. After a delay of about 45 minutes, the meet resumed, but Ayoub and the other long jumpers faced another weather-related obstacle. “The wind was against us,” she said.
Ayoub will not be the only one representing the Tuckers upstate. On what Mattituck coach Chris Robinson called “a great day” for his team, junior Meg Dinizio qualified for her third state meet in the 100 meters and Mattituck’s 4×100-meter relay team will be Section XI’s Class B representative in the state meet.
Dinizio ran the preliminaries in 13.24 seconds.
“Every year you go [to the state meet] and you expect to go, but this year was a little bit more of a fight,” she said. “It wasn’t a very good day. Toward the end I feel like I kind of lost balance. It was a 13.2, so it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t horrible.”
Ayoub and Dinizio also joined eighth-grader Bella Masotti and senior Amy Macaluso on the 4×100 relay team that was clocked in 50.58 seconds in the preliminaries. That is only 6/100ths of a second off their season-best time. Two sophomores, Miranda Annunziata and Abby Heffernan, will join the relay team upstate as alternates.
Friday saw Melanie Pfennig, the top middle- and long-distance runner in Mattituck’s program in recent years, run her final race for the Tuckers. The senior, in her fifth year on the team, was fourth in the unseeded section and finished 14th overall in the 3,000 in 11:09.53.
“Last night I started getting a little sad,” said Pfennig, who will run for Monmouth University in New Jersey. “It’s like a bittersweet moment, just because I have such a special relationship with my coaches and my teammates.”
Mattituck junior Sarah Santacroce was 21st in the discus with a throw of 88-4.
The two-day meet will conclude Saturday.
Photo caption: Mattituck senior Alya Ayoub qualified for her first state meet with a long jump of 16 feet, 7 3/4 inches on Friday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)