Kevin Azama is making up for lost time.
It had been a long time since Azama last competed in a track and field meet (thank you, coronavirus pandemic). Too long, he figured. The Greenport High School senior was itching to get back into competition.
“It feels great,” he said. “It’s been so long. It’s been a long wait. I’ve been looking forward to having this moment.”
As good as Azama felt, he may have looked even better Sunday, winning all three of his events in Southold/Greenport’s 76-28 season-opening Suffolk County League VIII loss at Port Jefferson.
Joe Corrado, making his debut as the first-year Southold/Greenport head coach, surely wasn’t. “I could see he is picking up right where he left off,” Corrado said of Azama.
“He’s one of the quiet leaders,” the coach continued. “He’s not a vocal athlete. He lets his performance do the talking.”
That performance spoke volumes. Azama brought Southold first-place points in the triple jump (39 feet, 7 inches), long jump (19-0) and high jump (5-6).
Southold faced a stern test in Port Jefferson, which has long been known for the prowess of its track programs.
“I learned that we’re very raw and we’re very new,” Corrado said. “I have a lot of athletes that have never run track before.
“We’re a very raw team, but we have a lot of potential. A lot of these kids know what it’s like now to compete against a different school and not compete against each other. They know what it’s like to run against a running school and athletes that have been doing this for years and not just for the first time.”
Southold’s Wyatt Carter took first in the shot put with a throw of 26-10 1/2 and Bobby Doering was second in the triple jump at 33-10 3/4. Third-place finishes were turned in by Justin Lopez in the long jump (16-2 3/4), Nick DeNicola in the 300 meters (43.4 seconds) and Cal Karsten in the 55 (7.4).
Winter track is an outdoor sport this season, and athletes had to contend with cold, windy conditions.
“It’s a little chilly, but it’s nice to be in a uniform again and being outside with a team and having fun with everyone,” said DeNicola.
“We look fine, but with a bit more work we could be much stronger and dangerous, I guess,” Azama said. He added: “Today has been a blast. I’ve waited so long for this.”
Southold girls victorious
The Southold/Greenport girls winter track team opened its season with a 32-29 victory at Port Jefferson Sunday.
“I think we came out strong,” said senior Courtney Cocheo, who tripled jumped to first place with a distance of 30-10 1/2. “It’s great to get outside again and run.”
Sydney Heidtmann was first in the 55-meter hurdles in 11.9 seconds and Amelia Wood triumphed in the shot put with a throw of 26-10 1/2 for the Clippers.
“I think we did really good,” said Gabby Nguyen, who joined Jeniffer Campos, Cocheo and Savanna Smith on a 4×200 relay team that was second in 2:19. “We pushed ourselves and we worked really hard to win.”
Mattituck meets postponed
Instead of season-opening meets against Port Jefferson Sunday, both the Mattituck boys and girls winter track teams had COVID-19-related postponements. A positive COVID-19 case in Mattituck’s varsity winter track program prompted the postponements, said the school’s athletic director, Gregg Wormuth. He did not say whether it was a member of the boys or girls team. The teams routinely train together. “Out of an abundance of caution, we were able to postpone because we know we can make that up,” he said.
The boys team was to compete in Port Jefferson and the girls team was to be at home against the Royals.
Wormuth, who made the decision to postpone Friday, said he hopes the teams may resume practice Tuesday. The meets, he said, could be made up toward the end of the season.
“Every day is very unpredictable,” he said. “You do the best and you adapt to what gets thrown at you.”
Mattituck boys assistant coach Cory Dolson said: “We were so close to finally being able to compete a little bit. We even handed out the uniforms and everything Friday. We were all ready to go. Hopefully, it’s just a little bump in the road and we get back on track.”