After graduating from SUNY/Cortland last year, Mike Kollmer began searching for a school district where he could begin to work as a substitute teacher. He found a spot at Mattituck in January, and soon after, athletic director Greg Wormuth asked him if he’d be interested in coaching.
The Tuckers had a position open for the boys winter track team. And Kollmer, a 2013 graduate of Mount Sinai High School, had participated in track in high school. It was an ideal match.
“He hooked me up pretty good,” Kollmer said of Wormuth.
The Tuckers have struggled for some stability on the coaching side for the boys program and Kollmer was excited for the opportunity.
Kollmer helped coach the lacrosse team in the spring, which allowed him a chance to get to know some of the athletes he’s now coaching in track.
“I knew their skill level and I knew what their ability level was,” he said. “I knew a few just through baseball, talking to other coaches.”
The Tuckers feature a roster of about 22 athletes now as the winter season kicks off.
Kollmer said the team has a trio of longtime, dedicated runners in junior Eric Palencia, and seniors Christian Demchak and Antonio Marine.
Palencia and Demchak are both coming off strong cross-country seasons. Demchak was third in the Class C State Qualifier race and competed at the state championships.
“They’re very dedicated to the sport,” Kollmer said. “They all take leadership roles in everything.”
Mattituck competed in the first crossover meet of the winter season Sunday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Demchak ran the 3,200 in 11 minutes, 32.24 seconds. Palencia ran the 1,000 in 3:10.82.
The Tuckers also feature junior Matthew Krupnick in the sprints. He ran the 55-dash Sunday in 7.81.
“Everyone really has the one or two events they’re mainly good at and if I need them in a third event, they don’t mind,” Kollmer said.
Kollmer said the winter season is largely a buildup toward the spring season.
“It’s really good to get everybody in shape, stay in shape and sort out what they need so they can start out [spring] fresh,” he said. “And then just trying to build the program. This is more kids than they had last year, so that’s good. And everyone seems to like it so it keeps growing.”
Southold features a combined team with Greenport this winter coached by Karl Himmelmann, the cross-country coach in the fall.
The team competed at Sunday’s crossover meet as well. Junior Max Pasko ran the 55-dash in 6.89 to finish in second place. It was an impressive time for the start of the season. Eight runners posted under 7-second times at last year’s small school championship.
Junior Kenneth Latham ran the 55-hurdles in 9.31 Sunday to finish 10th. He also ran the 55-dash in 7.38.
Photo caption: Antonio Marine, left, and Christian Demchak at practice Tuesday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)