It was eight months ago when Valley Stream North boys earned their fifth consecutive spring track and field title, but with a slight addendum – they shared the crown with North Shore after the two schools tied in the county championship meet.
Flash forward to Feb. 7, when VSN boys found themselves in a similar position: aiming for their fifth consecutive Class B county championship in winter track and field at St. Anthony’s High School. This time, the Spartans left no question who was No. 1, securing 107 points, more than doubling second-place North Shore and Roslyn, who tied with 48.
”I think that our guys this winter had a little chip on their shoulder,” said VSN coach Mike Frazer. “They weren’t too excited about sharing the title with North Shore last spring, so they really wanted to take that title back and they did it in a pretty dominating fashion.”
VSN earned points in 14 different events, fulfilling a strategy set forth by its coaching staff to diversify the talent across multiple disciplines.
Senior Shane Johnson was a one man wrecking crew, finishing first in the 600 meters at 1:28:04, second in the 300-meter dash at 37.22 seconds, and was part of the fourth-place 4x800-meter relay team.
“That’s 19 points right there for the team,” Frazer said. “As a senior, that’s what you expect from your upperclassman. When you get the chance, you come through, and he certainly did.”
School records were set in two sprints, with junior Jacob Schoenfeld clocking in at 37.05 seconds in the 300 meters and senior Lenz St. Vil running the 55-meter-dash in 6.7 seconds – both good for first place.
In the 1600, senior Pablo Hernandez and sophomore Christian Cicilia finished second and third, respectively. Ike Nweze excelled in the field events, with third place finishes in the shot put and weight throw.
And in the pole vault, a sport that was only reinstated recently at North, junior Dan Araneo placed second, clearing nine feet and six inches.
Lady Spartans’ title run ends
Though a fifth-place finish for the North girls snapped their streak of four consecutive winter titles, it was not without some individual accolades. Juel Charles, a sophomore, who has the longest shot put throw in the state so far this season according to Frazer, continued her dominance with a another first place finish. “She’s been to states several times and she’s gotten better each time,” Frazer said.
Seventh-grader Tori Daniels earned All-County with a third-place finish in the 300. In the relays, the 4x800 comprised of freshman Mia Martinez, sophomore Chizuruoke Onouha, sophomore Anna Westfall and junior Alice Hackman placed second, and the 4x400 with Daniels and seniors Ugonne Erondu, Rebekah Buon and Dana Dipaoli finished third.
“It’s a long season” said Frazer. “It starts back in November and we fought all the way through. They really work hard and push each other. What I’m really proud about is the way they celebrate each other’s success as well. Track can be a very individual sport, but when you look at our team you really wouldn’t believe that. That’s motivating when you’re on a team like that.”