With baseball and lacrosse grabbing most of the attention in the spring, track and field participants often fly under the radar, despite the fact that it could be argued that training for many of the events demands more effort than any of the other sports.
Valley Stream Central, the defending conference champions, got off to a slow start, but the 2014 boys' track and field season provided many highlights, including several strong performances at some of the more prominent meets.
The Eagles fared well at the Nassau County Division 1B meet at MacArthur High School, finishing second to Port Washington, despite being blanked in the throwing events. Senior Matthew Jones led the way with first-place finishes in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Coach Phillip Pepe was happy with the team’s performance. “We did a nice job, especially when considering that our numbers were kind of low,” Pepe said. “When you’re competing in a big conference, it’s always going to be tough when you don’t have the numbers. The guys that were really into it were dedicated and worked real hard.”
Jones was one of those who pushed himself to be the best. His hard work and perseverance paid off. He finished first in the 400 at the county championship meet held at Westbury High School on May 20-21, and then took second with a time of 49.48 at the state qualifier a week later at Roosevelt. Another testament to his dedication, Jones will forgo his senior prom to compete at the state meet this Friday and Saturday in Syracuse.
Junior Corey Parrish had a solid day at the division meet as well. Parrish finished second to Port Washington’s James Burns in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles. He also finished second to Burns in the 110 at the county meet, and took third at the state qualifier.
Senior Justin Riley put forth strong performances in the field events. Riley finished first in the high jump at 6-feet, third in the long jump at 20-5, and third in triple jump at 41-1/4. Senior Ludwig Louis took third in the high jump at the division meet at 5-8. At the county meet, Riley placed third in both the long jump and the high jump.
Central had a good showing at the division meet in the relays. The Eagles finished second in the 4x100, 4x400, and 4x800 relays. The 4x400 foursome of Parrish, junior Elijah Guzman, junior Felipe Custudio, and Jones placed second at the county meet.
The 4x100, comprised of senior Dayne Mewrdis, junior Geoffrey Canada, freshman Claude Parola, and Louis, took third at the county meet. Unfortunately, the team was disqualified due to a lane infraction at the state qualifier. Senior John Weed took third in the 3200 at the division meet with a time of 10:10.3.