Coach Karl Himmelmann knows Max Pasko well enough to know that no one knows Max Pasko better than Max Pasko.
Pasko, a junior sprinter on Southold/Greenport’s high school boys track and field team, has had to deal with injury issues over the past two years, most notably Piriformis syndrome, which causes compression of the sciatic nerve, and troublesome hamstring problems.
When it comes to doing what he needs to in order to train or compete in competition, no one knows better than Pasko what to do.
“Max is very good at assessing his own needs,” Himmelmann said. “He knows when he’s not at a hundred percent and knows when not to push it. I know if he injures that quad, we’re going to lose him possibly for the season.”
Greenport/Southold (4-2 last year) has become Southold/Greenport, with Southold High School hosting the team at its new track. The First Settlers recognize how valuable it is to have a healthy Pasko running for them.
Not that he’s their only talent. Among the returning athletes are senior middle-distance runner Miguel Torres, versatile junior Jackson Rung-Wile (long jump, 4×200-meter relay), senior sprinter Dante Tramontana, junior hurdler Kenny Latham, sophomore high jumper Kevin Azama and senior high jumper Sean McHugh.
“One of the keys to success is placing the athletes where we know they can score for us,” Himmelmann said. “It’s going to be recognizing kids who can score in multiple events and then placing them appropriately at each meet.”
It’s no secret what makes Mattituck senior Christian Demchak an impressive runner.
“He’s a hard worker,” coach Kris Ocker said. “He works hard on his craft and he’s not afraid to try new things.”
Demchak is a long-distance runner who can handle other events as well. Last year in the Suffolk County Division III Championships he finished ninth in the 3,200 meters in 10 minutes, 31.01 seconds. He also ran on a 4×800 relay team that came in eighth in that meet in 9:07.48.
Mattituck (2-4) also has Antonio Marine (middle distances, hurdles), junior Eric Palencia (long distances) and a pair of promising high jumpers in junior Matthew Schultz and sophomore Nikita Palianok.
Ocker said, “We have guys who are versatile who are going to do a bunch of different events.”
Photo caption: Mattituck senior Christian Demchak excels at long distances. (Credit: Bob Liepa, file)