As with just about any sprinter, Max Pasko felt he could have run faster. However, there were extenuating circumstances.
The Greenport/Southold sophomore has been dealing with shin splints and hamstring issues, but that didn’t prevent him from making a strong showing in the boys winter track League V Championships Saturday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
Pasko raced to second place in the 55-meter dash in 6.97 seconds. He was edged out down the stretch by 11/100ths of a second by Babylon sophomore Evan Parise. “He got me right on the last 10 meters,” said Pasko.
Still, it wasn’t a bad performance for a runner not feeling his best.
“I was pretty pumped up for it, but it [stinks] that I wasn’t fresh for it,” said Pasko, who was happy with his time. A couple of days earlier, he had run 6.88, which was 4/100ths of a second shy of his personal record.
Another Greenport sophomore, Jorge Torrento, was fourth in a personal-best 7.17.
Pasko put in a full day. He clocked 40.02 in the 300, finishing third behind Parise (38.48) and Bayport-Blue Point junior Kevin Lessing (39.01). Then, he ran the anchor leg for a 4×200 relay team that was third in 1:41.53. Sean McCabe, Torrento and Kenny Latham also ran for that team, which sliced two seconds off its previous best time this season.
Pasko has been doing well in his first winter season, and he is being pushed by teammates.
“He’s posted the fastest times, but these guys coming up behind him are really fast so he can’t let up a bit,” said coach Mike Gunther.
Count Torrento and Latham, another sophomore, among them. Torrento finished sixth in the 55-meter high hurdles in 9.34.
Mattituck high jumper Joshua Starzee had an interesting day at practice Friday, nailing 5 feet, 6 inches. After that, though, he couldn’t clear 5-2. It frustrated the sophomore enough that he had contemplated not even competing in the league meet. He is sure glad he did, though.
As Mattituck coach Karl Himmelman saw it, there were several ways to look at the meet for Starzee. “What’s going to be a great day, what’s going to be a good day and what’s going to be a not-so-good day?” the coach said. “He had a great day.”
Starzee reached 5-6 again and it brought him third place. Babylon senior Vladislav Cullinane won at 6-7 and Mount Sinai sophomore Justin Wei was second at 5-8.
“I felt really great,” Starzee said before boarding the bus for the ride back to Mattituck. “The second I cleared, I looked at my coach and he was super happy for me.”
Did he surprise himself?
“A lot,” he said.
Himmelman said Starzee is a “very smart jumper. He picks up things quickly.”
Starzee also joined Alex Bellavia, Antonio Marine and Christian Demchak on a 4×400 relay team that took fifth in 4:17.01.
Mount Sinai ran away with team title, collecting 101 points to 66 for runner-up Bayport. Greenport was ninth with 25 and Mattituck was 11th with eight.
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold’s Max Pasko, left, is nipped at the finish line by Babylon’s Evan Parise in the 55-meter dash final. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)