A month after winning its fifth consecutive Conference 2 title in winter track, East Meadow will be represented in this Saturday’s state championships in Staten Island, when sophomore Brandon Love competes in the pole vault.
Love was one of many top performers for the Jets this season, which saw 15 All-Conference performances at the Jan. 14 meet at St. Anthony’s High School. The Jets accumulated 155 points – earning points in every event except the shot put – crushing its competition and topping runner-up Mepham by more than 70 points.
In addition to pole vault, Love finished first in the triple jump and second in the long jump, earning 28 points by himself. "He’s the real thing,” said coach Jim McGlynn. “I’ve been coaching 46 years, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever had at East Meadow.”
Junior Bryan Villafuerte also made his mark at the All-Conference meet, taking the top spot in the 3200 meters and the 1600 meters. "He’s a very confident runner,” McGlynn said. “He sets his goals very high, and he seems to be able to obtain them."
Junior John Meah took first place in the 1000-meters with a time of 2:46:14, nipping his teammate, senior Jeremy Erman, by two hundredths of a second. Senior Anthony Squiciarino was victorious in the 55-meter hurdles race.
David Romaldo and James Wagnac, both sophomores, placed second and third, respectively, in the 55-meter dash. Behind Love in the triple jump, senior Axel Torres and junior Omar Benthami placed third and fourth.
In recent years, East Meadow eked out their conference championships in the final events. This year, McGlynn said, the outcome was never in question. "The kids went in with a positive attitude that we're the team to beat,” he said. “We were very confident.”
Though some key injuries prevented the Jets from placing higher in the Class A County championship meet on Feb. 6 at St. Anthony’s High School – they finished in seventh – the squad did receive All-County performances from not only Love on the pole vault, but from Erman in the 1000-meter run, and Squiciarino in the 55-meter hurdles, each finishing in third.
But the county result did not detract from what McGlynn said was a highly successful season. "From start to finish, it was a good season for us,” said McGlynn. "We’ve been getting a little stronger and stronger every year."
The state championship meet will commence at 9 a.m. this Saturday at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Facility in Staten Island.