Boys Track and Field: Mattituck’s Trevor Zappulla takes first place in 1000-meter race at county championships

Mattituck’s Trevor Zappulla is redefining what it means to be a multi-sport athlete. When he’s not playing basketball for the Tuckers, the senior is representing Mattituck’s boys winter track team.

Zappulla took first place in the 1000-meter event at the Section XI Small Schools Boys Winter Track Championships at Suffolk Community College Sunday afternoon. He finished first with a time of 2:36.03 against 24 of the top small school runners in Suffolk County. Second place was a full 2 seconds behind. Even though Zappulla was visibly tired after he crossed the finish line, his stride never broke throughout the race. He was a confident runner and was very tough to catch. 

Not bad for a basketball player.

While plenty of high school athletes play multiple sports, how many can star in two during the same season?

It’s something new for Zappulla, who has never been a part of the winter track team. He runs cross country in the fall to prepare himself for the grind of the basketball season, but had never before tried indoor track. He’s no slouch on the basketball court either — he’s the Tuckers’ starting forward. 

“I just figured that it’s my senior year, why not give it a shot?,” Zappulla said. “I remember when I was younger someone at Mattituck played the two sports so I wanted to give it a try. He was a sprinter so it was a little bit different than distance running.”

Zappulla didn’t know what to expect going into the season. He knew he had endurance from cross country and speed from his experience on the basketball court. 

“I didn’t know what I was going to be racing to be honest,” Zappulla said. “I ended up deciding on 1000 meters because I consider myself a mid-distance runner so anywhere from like 800 to 1600. I just picked 1000 because it’s in between.”

It appears that was a smart choice.

Among the other 24 athletes competing in the large school section of the championship, Zappulla’s time would have come in a very close second to Huntington’s Matt Armstrong, who ran the race in 2:35.78. Zappulla wasn’t able to break his personal best time on Sunday, which would have been good enough for first place overall at 2:35.49.

“It was a little weird wearing spikes for the first time on the track today,” Zappulla said. “Just need to get used to it.” Runners aren’t allowed to wear spikes during the league season and are only allowed to use them during these championships and beyond. Regardless of what Zappulla wears, he’s without a doubt among the fastest around. Next step is the New York State qualifier. 

Back on the hardwood, Mattituck’s basketball team is currently 7-4 in league play and have already clinched a playoff berth. Zappulla is going to be a busy man. Friday, he was on the basketball court taking on Center Moriches. Sunday, he was dominating the track.

“It’s definitely not easy,” Zappulla said. “Especially being a distance runner. It’s really tiring. But my dream is to get to states and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”