02/15/14 9:25pm
02/15/2014 9:25 PM
Adam Goode, left, one of Mattituck/Greenport's seven county champions, jumps into the arms of teammate Sal Loverde after winning the 195-pound final on Saturday night at Center Moriches High School. (Daniel De Mato photo)

Bobby Becker, one of Mattituck/Greenport’s seven county champions, jumps into the arms of teammate Sal Loverde after winning the 195-pound title on Saturday night at Center Moriches High School. (Daniel De Mato photo)

SECTION XI DIVISION II TOURNAMENT

What could be called the greatest single day in the history of Mattituck/Greenport wrestling brought results that were staggering.

The Tuckers sent 11 wrestlers into the Section XI Division II Tournament finals at Center Moriches High School on Saturday night. Seven of them had their arms raised as champions. Bobby Becker was among them, and was presented with the tournament’s Champion of Champions trophy. Mattituck/Greenport blew out the competition, winning its second county team championship in a row after capturing its first county crown last year. (more…)

06/08/13 3:29pm
06/08/2013 3:29 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Dan Normoyle.

NYSPHSAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Before the proceedings began, Dan Normoyle dubbed the occasion “Big Pole Saturday.” It was appropriate enough, with the 29 best high school boys pole vaulters in the state competing in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships at Middletown High School.

The theory is that the longer the pole, the higher it will propel pole vaulters through the air. Normoyle, though, actually used two poles of the same length: 15 feet, one a little thicker than the other. Afterward, he acknowledged that, in his case at least, it wasn’t “Big Pole Saturday.” Normoyle didn’t quite go as high as he would have liked, but the Riverhead senior still turned in the third-best performance in the competition, and that’s not bad at all.

Normoyle cleared 14 feet 6 inches, finishing behind Justin Farrenkopf of Ellenville (15-0) and James Steck of Shaker (14-6). Another Riverheader, junior Charles Villa, was ninth at 14-0.

“It was tough today,” Normoyle said. “It wasn’t my best, but I put my all into it. There was nothing else I could have done. It wasn’t the best day for a lot of people.”

That includes the meet favorite, Warwick Valley junior Todd Uckermark, one of two pole vaulters who failed to clear a height.

Normoyle, the Section XI champion who broke his own school record by reaching 15-0 in a state qualifying meet eight days earlier, complained afterward that he lacked confidence. Then, using a phrase Yogi Berra would have appreciated, he said pole vaulting is “90 percent mental, and the rest is in your head.”

Because of heavy rain on Friday, the scheduled two-day meet was condensed into one day. Normoyle said he was in a better mental state to compete on Friday. Instead, he went to lunch with his parents and saw a movie that day.

Villa entered the competition at 13-0, and Normoyle started at 13-6. They both made heights without missing to be among the 12 pole vaulters still standing after reaching 14-0. For some of the athletes, that height represented a ceiling.

“That’s the dividing line right there,” Villa said. “That’s where it starts to really get hard.”

Both Riverheaders passed on 14-3, going straight to 14-6. That’s when Villa ran into trouble, fouling on his first two attempts and then failing on his third and final one. Normoyle made good on his first attempt at 14-6, but he couldn’t handle 14-9, although he came awfully close on his final try, just nipping the bar.

“I just didn’t have the rhythm today, I guess,” said Normoyle, who gave up playing football to devote himself to pole vaulting.

Normoyle may have been disappointed, but his coach, Steve Gevinski, wasn’t disappointed in him.

“I thought he was amazing, just the strength and the speed he showed was unbelievable,” said the Riverhead coach.

Friday’s postponement made life difficult for Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia, who had to run two long-distance finals on Saturday as a result. Udvadia clocked a time of 9 minutes 10.24 seconds to take sixth place in the 3,200 meters, which saw Nick Ryan of Fayetteville-Manlius triumph in 8:58.28.

“I dozed off during the race,” Udvadia said. “I wasn’t paying attention. I let the front pack get too far ahead.”

Ryan nearly pulled off an impressive double later in the day, with only a few hours to recover. He was nipped at the finish line by Eric Holt of Carmel in the 1,600 final. Holt’s winning time was 4:07.00, just 55/100ths of a second faster than Ryan. Udvadia was eighth in 4:17.11.

“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Honestly, anything under 4:20 I’ll be happy with.”

Two Mattituck athletes made their first appearance in the state meet. Darius Brew, a freshman and the youngest competitor in the triple jump, came in 23rd place with a distance of 40-3 1/2.

“I feel I did O.K,” Brew said. “It’s acceptable because I’m young, but I feel I could have done better.”

His teammate, junior Sal Loverde, did not have one of his better days, throwing 126-0 for 28th place. The winning throw was 181-9 by Jericho’s Noah White.

“It was unreal,” Loverde said. “The amount of competition is great.”

CARTER SETS HER BEST TIME IN 100 Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Danisha Carter posted a personal-best time in the 100 meters. The junior was 16th in the 100 in 12.89. She was 13th in the 200 in 26.32.

“I think I did [well] for the competition that I was up against,” Carter said. “My back has been killing me, so I came in thinking I wasn’t going to do [well] at all.”

McGann-Mercy was represented by another athlete at Middletown’s sparkling Faller Field. Delina Auciello, a junior celebrating her 17th birthday, was reportedly not feeling well with a stomach ache, but still competed in the 3,000 finals. She finished 25th in 11:28.73.

Competing in the state meet can be a humbling experience. Even top runners can find themselves near the back of the pack.

McGann-Mercy coach Ben Turnbull said, “New York State is a big state.”

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06/01/13 7:36pm
06/01/2013 7:36 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck junior Sal Loverde qualified for the state meet as the top Division II discus thrower at 135 feet 1 inch, a personal record.

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP STATE QUALIFIER

Two Mattituck athletes, junior Sal Loverde and freshman Darius Brew, qualified for the first time for the state meet that will be held June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.

Loverde threw the discus a personal-record distance of 135 feet 1 inch on his first throw, making him the top Division II finisher and ninth over all.

“I pr’d, I’m going to the states now, too,” he said. “It was a good day.”

Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said Loverde was ready for a big day. “The last two weeks he’s been really focused,” the coach said. “There was a lot of mental preparation. He’s always had the tools to throw.”

Ironically, Brew’s good day in the triple jump can be traced to his bad day in the high jump. Despite his disappointment at finishing tied for 13th place in the high jump at 5-8, Brew triple jumped 41-9 1/2, good enough for No. 1 in Division II and 11th place over all, and a ticket to the state meet. It was the best triple jump of his young career.

Brew said he was angry over his performance in the high jump, his primary event, but transferred that anger in a positive direction in the triple jump. “The triple was basically like secondary,” he said. “It was like Plan B, something to fall back on, and it ended up working.”

Loverde dedicated his performance to Hansen, who will be leaving the team and the school after this season.

“Even though Coach Hansen isn’t going to be here next year,” Loverde said, “I want to wish him the best with whatever he does, and I did this for him.”

Udvadia misses double, but clocks personal record

Looking for the names of double winners in individual events in the Section XI boys track and field individual championship state qualifier, one will find Christopher Belcher of Sayville (100 and 200 meters), James Burke of Port Jefferson (800 and 1,600) and John Stallworth of Connetquot (110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles), but no Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham-Wading River.

Udvadia, who was seeded first in both the 3,200 and 1,600 meters, took care of the first half of business on Friday when he triumphed in the 3,200 in 9 minutes 17.27 seconds. On Saturday, the second and final day of the meet at Port Jefferson High School, Udvadia ran the fastest 1,600 he ever did before — and he had to settle for second place.

Udvadia and Burke, the top two seeds, were actually the last two runners among the section of 11 runners for most of the first lap of the 1,600 final. Udvadia, a junior, had moved up to fifth after 800 meters, and was then third around 1,000 meters. But Burke was on Udvadia’s right shoulder and moved ahead of him into second at the 1,200-meter mark. Burke took the lead on the bell lap as Udvadia moved in to second. But Burke held onto the lead despite a desperate effort by Udvadia, who couldn’t catch him.

The Port Jefferson sophomore took the race in 4:13.72. Udvadia was right behind him in second with a personal-best time of 4:14.73. Northport senior James Dickinson was third in 4:15.66. Those three times are the fastest in Suffolk County this season.

“That was a fast race,” said Udvadia, who lost a 1,600 race to a Suffolk runner for the first time this season.

Asked if he had any regrets, Udvadia replied: “I did everything I could. Maybe, looking back on it now, I say to myself now, ‘I could have kicked harder,’ but I know when I was doing the race I couldn’t. I couldn’t move my legs any more.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan made a splash in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fourth in 10 minutes 9.76 seconds.

Udvadia said he was taken aback when the purple-uniformed Burke passed him.

“I couldn’t believe it was him,” Udvadia said. “When I saw that it was him, I said, ‘Alright, it’s time to go.’ ”

The times posted were impressive, especially considering the heat the runners had to endure.

“Burke ran a great race,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “The weather also is not conducive to fast times, and those guys ran fast times.”

After the race, Udvadia shook Burke’s hand and told a reporter he was happy for the Port Jefferson runner.

Even before the race started, Udvadia had qualified for the state meet in both the 3,200 and the 1,600.

“I’m happy that I get to go for both,” he said, “but it would have been nice to go as a Section XI champ for both of them.”

TRACK NOTES Medals were presented to the top four finishers in each individual event. Shoreham-Wading River junior Jordan Wright grabbed a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 100 (11.09) and the 200 (22.65). Riverhead senior Anthony Galvan finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:09.76.

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09/05/12 8:00pm
09/05/2012 8:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Sal Loverde is one of the quarterbacks being considered to run Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s new spread offense.

Jack Martilotta, the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach, loves this time of the year, when the football season is just about to kick off. “How can you not?” he asked. “It’s like pizza, you know. [Even if] it’s bad pizza, it’s still pizza.”

The football equivalent of bad pizza for the Porters might have been last season when they managed only one win from eight games, finishing the season with a five-game losing streak. They ended up in 12th place, two places from the bottom of Suffolk County Conference IV.

“We had some issues, and I think we worked through them,” said Martilotta, who brings a 6-11 record with him into his third season as the team’s coach.

Along with footballs, change is in the air these days at Greenport High School. The days of the power-I offense in Greenport are gone — at least for now. The Porters’ offense, under the direction of new offensive coordinator Dale Gross, has switched to the spread formation, which promises surprises and unpredictability. With it, the Porters hope, will come points.

“It’s been running smoothly in practice,” said Eugene Allen, who can play wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back. “I just can’t wait.”

Martilotta said: “So far, so good. There are still some growing pains, but we expect that. It’s impressive how much the kids have been able to pick up so far, it really is.”

The Porters, seeded 11th in the conference by the coaches, have eight returning starters to build around, including two all-league players, senior lineman Marc Proferes and senior linebacker Ray Thilberg. Senior linemen Ben Pileski and Tevin Parrish were also regulars last year along with junior wide receiver/defensive back Jack Volinski, junior offensive lineman/linebacker Connor Andersen, junior running back Frank Sierra and senior wide receiver/defensive back Ed Wright.

Other players offer varsity experience, too, players like running back/defensive back Christian Angelson, linebacker Sal Loverde, and linemen John Bakowski, Chris Manwaring and Codey Fisher.

New additions Eugene Allen and Timmy Stevens should help at wide receiver. Allen can also play defensive back.

“Last year was a tough season as far as wins and losses,” Martilotta said, “but we got a lot of younger kids experience, so a lot of these younger kids coming up as juniors have a full year under their belt so they know what to expect, and that’s really going to help us this year.”

Martilotta said the quarterback position hasn’t been settled, but Loverde was in the mix along with Allen and Jared Shenone.

Gross, who likes flash and excitement in his offense, said the version of the spread that the Porters will run hasn’t been seen on Long Island before. “You can’t pound the ball any more,” he said. “You got to find the way to outscheme teams. We’re going to try it.”

The 4-3 defense overseen by defensive coordinator Mike Miller has looked good, said Martilotta.

“We got some real big boys on that defensive line, and that’s going to be good,” Martilotta said. “Our linebackers have experience. That will be helpful. We’ll be a hard-hitting team, that’s to be sure.”

The Porters go from a brutal 2011 schedule to a more forgiving one that will start Sept. 7 at The Stony Brook School, the only team the Porters gained a win from last year.

Even a losing season like last year’s for the Porters can be a motivational took, Loverde said, “to look back on what happened and make sure that never happens again.” He said, “We’re aiming for a positive season.”

Martilotta said the players are improving, working hard and dedicated. “They’re all about making sure we get as many wins as we can,” he said. “They want to win. Kids always want to win. It’s only eight games [in the regular season]. We have to make the most out of every opportunity. As long as the kids can keep up their intensity and they keep their focus on the field, I think we’ll be O.K.”

It sounded like Martilotta was looking forward to the season, but then again, there is nothing unusual about that. He enjoys the arrival of September, and with it a new high school football season.

“This is an exciting time,” he said. “It’s one of the rare things in life where you get to start anew each year.”

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