10/19/2013 2:30 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The current condition of Mattituck High School's track. Residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the district's proposed $925,000 track bond proposal.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The current condition of Mattituck High School’s track. Residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the district’s proposed $925,000 track bond proposal.

While some Mattituck-Cutchogue School District residents are hoping voters will approve a bond proposal for a track upgrade, others are expressing concerns over the costs and plans to maintain the track over time.

About a dozen people attended the district’s informational meeting Thursday night to discuss the upcoming track bond proposal vote with residents. The vote is set for Oct. 29 between 3 and 9 p.m. in the gym.

Mattituck parent and Riverhead dentist Thomas Hoeg pleaded with audience members during the public comment portion of the meeting and asked them to approve the bond project.

“We need this track, badly,” he said. “I can’t even run on it. I run on the grass.

“I’m not even going to call it a track. It’s a joke.”

The community has debated on what to do with the cinder track for several years and many school board members have said they believe it’s time to let the public weigh in on the proposal. In August, the school board voted 5-1 in favor of putting up the $925,000 track bond proposition. Sara Hassildine was absent from the meeting and Doug Cooper voted no.

Officials have said the estimated cost to install a new all-weather, polyflex track over the existing facility will cost about $675,000. The remainder of the bond would go toward purchasing portable bleachers and irrigation upgrades ($50,000), perimeter sport netting ($40,000), sidewalks ($15,000) and asbestos remediation work inside the school ($25,000).

It also includes a $120,000 contingency budget. Some fees, such as architecture and legal, are lumped into the contingency budget, district business administrator Michael Engelhardt said.

Superintendent James McKenna said the asbestos remediation project was added into the bond because the state will reimburse the district 10 percent of the entire cost of the project since that type of work is also included in the proposal.

Sidewalks are needed in order to make the facility handicap accessible, he said, and netting is a safety precaution to block lacrosse balls or other equipment from entering the track while it’s in use.

Mr. McKenna said nearly 15 percent of the high school’s 800-student body participates in track and a new track would allow them to hold home meets. The community would also be allowed to use the facility, he said.

Although the bond proposal doesn’t include a pole vault runway, athletic director Gregg Wormuth said it does include runways for triple jump, long jump and high jump competitions.

Dr. Hoeg suggested the school board release details about how much the district will save in transportation costs if the new track proposal is approved since all of the team’s meets are currently away meets out of safety concerns. He also said a reduction in labor costs will lead to savings because district employees wouldn’t have to weed the area and paint stripes around the track anymore.

As for estimated tax increases if the bond passes, Mr. McKenna said the yearly increase over 15 years would range between $8 and $12 for houses assessed between $400,000 and $650,000.

“If that’s all my tax bill ever went up a year, I wouldn’t have an issue with it,” said Mattituck resident Marie Domenici, who is running on the Democrat ticket for Southold Town Assessor. “But I’ve said I want to live in my house until I die and the way my taxes are going up I’ll be dead in three weeks.”

Other residents asked why a maintenance plan and costs associated with preserving a new track weren’t included in the district’s mailing about the track bond proposal.

Mr. Wormuth estimated maintaining the track involved a nearly $15,000 resurfacing project every five years. School board president Jerry Diffley said maintenance costs will be rolled into the district’s annual budget.

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10/11/13 1:00pm

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Three Greenport students (from left) — Nick Wallace, Justin Bracken and Bayron Rivas — during practice last March.

Greenport School District is receiving a helping hand from the community to restore its ailing track.

Since ending an agreement that allowed Greenport students to practice in Mattituck earlier this year, the district has been scrambling to come up with funds needed to prepare the school’s track for competition.

In August, Greenport School District officials reached out to the community for help. And they got it, officials announced at Thursday’s board meeting.

Southold School District, which doesn’t currently have a track team, has chipped in $15,000 for the project, officials said.

“Southold really bailed us out on that,” Superintendent Michael Comanda said after the meeting.

As part of the agreement, the two schools will create combined track teams this coming school year for boys and girls. The teams will compete in the spring track season, which starts in March. There will not be a winter track teams.

Local government, too, is sharing its resources to help with the reconstruction. Last week, the Greenport Village used its backhoe to dig out a sand pit for long jumps, Mr. Comanda said.

“It’s a great example of community,” he said.

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08/23/13 3:09pm
08/23/2013 3:09 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Greenport School District athletic director Jim Caliendo, right, and high school principal Leonard Skuggevik at Thursday’s public forum discussing the school’s track.

Greenport School District officials are asking the community’s help to get the school’s track ready for competition.

During a public forum to discuss the track’s future, high school principal Leonard Skuggevik suggested to a group of parents that they focus on fundraising efforts as the district finalizes a complete list of what the track team will need this season and how much each item will cost.

Although the focus of Thursday’s meeting was about raising nearly $8,000 to purchase a high jump mat, Greenport Athletic Director Jim Caliendo said Friday he’s received calls from a few local school districts offering to donate the mat.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue and Greenport school districts are pursuing separate projects to reconstruct their respective high school tracks since ending an agreement that allowed Greenport students to practice in Mattituck.

For the past two years, Greenport athletes have practiced in Mattituck, although the districts have maintained separate track teams. During a Mattituck school board meeting in June, high school principal Shawn Petretti denied allegations that the district had canceled the agreement with Greenport and said the school was simply following Section XI rules. At the time, Mr. Petretti said Section XI, which governs high school sports in Suffolk County, states that a school district must provide facilities if enough students form a team.

Greenport school officials have said that because the announcement from Mattituck was made in the spring, there was no time to plan and budget for reconstructing their school’s track.

Since Mattituck and Greenport parted ways, the Southold School District, which doesn’t currently have a track team, has agreed to join Greenport in its efforts and plans to create a combined track team with Greenport this coming school year. The team will compete in the spring track season, which starts in March. There will not be a winter track team.

Mr. Caliendo said he believes about 100 students will play on the 7-12th grade boys and girls varsity teams this season. The teams will have three coaches.

He also gave an update on the district’s progress with the track, in which five of the six lanes are currently unusable because they are heavily covered with weeds. School officials said they believe the district last had a track team in the 1970s.

Mr. Caliendo said the Mezynieski family from Driftwood Farms in Orient and John Costello from Costello Marine Contracting in Greenport have volunteered to do the construction. He said he believes the work will be done before school starts next month. He added the district is also borrowing equipment from Mattituck schools to help fix the cinder track.

While there’s also a plan to clear weeds from Greenport’s pole vault runway, Mr. Caliendo said it will not be practice-ready for the track team this year.

He said a sand pit for long and triple jumps will be ready since the district is reusing sand recently removed from the elementary school’s playground, which is currently under construction.

Heather Walker and Lisa DeLuca, both parents of Greenport track team athletes, kicked around fundraising ideas after the public forum and said they plan to launch a Facebook page to promote the cause.

Ms. DeLuca said she was impressed with how the district was able to develop a plan within a short period of time.

“I can’t believe how you were able to get everything done,” she told Mr. Skuggevik and Mr. Caliendo. “So, thank you.”

“That’s what I’m here to do,” Mr. Caliendo replied.

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08/16/2013 2:30 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck's practice on Monday.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck’s practice in March. There will be a special election in October for a track bond proposal.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board approved a resolution Thursday night setting a special election for a track bond proposal.

District residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the proposed $925,000 capital improvement project for reconstructing the junior-senior high school’s aging cinder track, as well as purchasing portable bleachers, irrigation upgrades and asbestos remediation work inside the school.

Prior to the school board voting, the proposal had carried a $1 million price tag but was ultimately reduced after the board agreed to scale down a proposed 300-seat stationary bleacher and remove fencing work from the plan.

If the community approves the bond, school officials said the project will then go out to bid and the track work will take about two months to complete. The proposed 400-meter track will include six lanes and will require between $35,000 to $50,000 worth of maintenance work every 10 years, officials said.

School officials have said the outdated track has made it difficult to encourage other track teams to compete in Mattituck, and the school’s track teams participate primarily in away meets.

The community has debated on what to do with the track for several years and many school board members have said they believe it’s time to let the public weigh in on the proposal.

School board president Jerry Diffley said he believes holding a special election is the best way to deal with the track’s future.

“At this point, we’re just in the mindset that the public should decide it,” Mr. Diffley said during the meeting. “It’s the public’s money. It will be the public’s use not only here for the school and the athletic events that will take place with our students, but also to use as a community track that people can walk and run around.”

The school board voted 5-1 in favor of putting up the proposition. Sara Hassildine was absent from the meeting and Doug Cooper voted no.

“I still feel it’s the wrong time in this economy to pursue this,” he said after casting his vote.

Although Mr. Cooper voted against the special election, he voted in favor (along with his fellow board members) to designate election personnel and planning steps for an environmental study known as SEQRA.

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05/24/13 12:00pm
05/24/2013 12:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck freshman Darius Brew cleared 6 feet in the high jump to place second in the Division III Championship Thursday.

DIVISION III CHAMPIONSHIP

As the wind whipped all around him, Mattituck freshman Darius Brew stared straight ahead at the high jump bar, focusing before making his final attempt at 6 feet. A pair of pants flew into his path, breaking his concentration for a second as he tossed them to the side.

Brew quickly regained his focus. He sprinted toward the bar, leaped off his right foot and glided over the bar, landing safely on his back.

“I was thinking, ‘this is it,’ ” Brew said as he prepared for the jump.

The 6-foot jump at Thursday’s Division III Championship at Connetquot High School matched a personal best for Brew, who finished second in the competition behind Miller Place junior Jordan Sullivan.

After Sullivan cleared 6 feet on his third attempt, it was up to Brew to match him and have the competition continue. Sullivan ultimately cleared twice more to win the competition at 6-2.

Brew, who competed at the state qualifier last year as an eighth-grader, has his sights set on making it to states this year in Division II. His biggest competition will be Jack Flood of Bayport-Blue Point. Flood cleared 5-10 Thursday.

While Brew was disappointed in a second-place finish, his coach, Peter Hansen, encouraged him by telling him it’s best to peak next week when the stakes are higher.

Getting to states would be a huge accomplishment for the freshman.

“I really want to go to states,” Brew said. “Last year I lost by one place, so this year I’m coming back for redemption.”

Brew started off Thursday at 5-8. A stiff wind made for some difficult jumping conditions.

“It made it a little tough,” Brew said. “Everyone was missing and I thought maybe the same thing would happen to me.”

On the first day of the competition Tuesday, Brew jumped 41-2 1/2 in the triple for sixth place. Brew accounted for all of Mattituck’s nine points in the championship.

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05/22/13 9:49pm
05/22/2013 9:49 PM

In her first competition since injuring her ankle April 20, Mattituck junior Shannon Dwyer returned to the track for the Division III Championship and fought her way to a fifth-place finish in the pentathlon.

Over the two-day competition between Monday and Wednesday, Dwyer tallied 1,987 points.

“She might be one of the toughest girls I’ve ever met,” said Mattituck coach Chris Robinson.

Dwyer injured her ankle on the same track she ran on Wednesday at Connetquot High School.

Dwyer jumped 13-05 on the long jump and ran 2:54.87 in the 800 for the final two events Wednesday. On Monday she ran 19.10 in the 100, high jumped 4-04 and threw 28 1/4 in the shot put.

Mattituck eighth-grader Alya Ayoub was a huge surprise taking fifth in the long jump. Ayoub wasn’t even originally supposed to compete in the event. She was seeded 19th in the event and the top 18 qualified for the division meet. But after one jumper had to back out, Ayoub got to take her spot.

She made the most of her opportunity, jumping 15-8 for fifth place, beating her previous best by about a foot.

McGann-Mercy was 11th in D-III with 18 points. Junior Danisha Carter was third in the 100 in 13.02 and fourth in the 200 in 26.55. Junior Delina Auciello ran the 2,000 steeplechase and finished third in 7:38.19.

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01/19/12 5:00pm

BOB LIEPA FILE PHOTO | Kaylee Bergen, right, and Sara Paparatto, left, ran for Mattituck in the 3,000 meters last year during a dual meet against Babylon at Westhampton Beach High School.

Greenport students can compete in track and field this spring for the first time alongside Mattituck’s varsity squad.

Greenport plans to send its coach, Jack Martilotta, to Mattituck with a contingent of track athletes, male and female. Mr. Martilotta will train the students in shot put and discus throws, while Mattituck’s coaches will instruct the students in running events.

Though students from Greenport and Mattituck will train together, when it comes to competing they’ll be on their own, Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda said during the Greenport school board meeting Wednesday.

As Greenport students they’ll wear Porters uniforms when competing in joint track meets with Mattituck and other schools.
Mr. Comanda said Mattituck was hesitant to absorb the Greenport students into their team because adding more students would push the team into a higher league where schools generally have larger, more competitive teams.

Responding to a parent’s request, the Greenport school board voted for the joint team last spring, said school board president Tina Volinski.

Both Greenport and Mattituck have cinder tracks that are not up to standards for meets, and Mattituck’s meets would be held away. The Mattituck girls team competed at Westhampton Beach High School last spring for its one “home” meet against Babylon.

Greenport will pay Mr. Martilotta a $5,206 stipend for his work as the track coach.

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