It’s now a lucky seven for the East Meadow indoor track team.
Brandon Love and James Wagnac each won two events and Chris Martinez, Alan Gonzalez and the 4X400-meter relay team took their respective categories as the Jets dominated their way to a seventh straight conference championship at St. Anthony’s High School on Jan. 14.
East Meadow posted a whopping 174 points, which was seven more than second-place Baldwin (84) and third-place Calhoun (83) combined. The Jets have enjoyed an average margin of victory of 63 points over their last six tries in the competition.
The team had 12 competitors finish either first or second over 10 events and five more place third or fourth.
“This was a year where we just had a lot of evenness across the board,” East Meadow coach Mike Ringhauser said. “We had an equal good spring team, distance team and field events team. It’s a unit where we get you in all directions.”
Love broke the Nassau County record in the pole vault with a height of 15 feet and won the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.56 seconds, one hundredth better than Baldwin’s Andrew Decouteau. The senior placed second in the triple jump behind teammate James Wagnac, who also took the long jump.
Love also cleared 15 feet in the county championships on Feb. 4 after switching to a shorter pole and will head to the state competition for the third straight year next month. He finished 12th in the 2019 states and is among the favorites in this year’s event.
“His drive is just second to none,” Ringhauser said of Love. “There’s nobody who wants it more. He wants it for the team, he wants it for himself [and] views himself as someone who represents the school.”
Three Jets finished among the top four in the 600-meter race, won by Martinez with a time of 1 minute, 26.69 seconds. Martinez was also a member of the victorious 4X400 relay team that also included Mari Paul, Gonzales and Jalen Morales. The foursome will also represent the school at states after finishing second in the qualifier, with Michael Kurpisz and David Romaldo contributing to that triumph.
Martinez will be performing double duty in Staten Island next month after rallying to defeat Garden City’s Alexander Majia by .90 seconds in the 600 state qualifier. Ironically, the junior was hesitant to try the event earlier in his career, but a desire to improve the team convinced him and it paid off in spades.
“We talked to him about how we needed a threat in the 600,” Ringhauser explained. “We thought if we moved one of the sprinters up, we thought they would have a little bit better chance.”
Kurpisz and senior Brian Benedetto placed third and fourth, respectively, in the conference 600 behind Martinez.
Gonzales, a senior, won the 300-meter dash (37.59 seconds), with Romaldo finishing third. Senior Matthew Owens had runner-up efforts in the 1,000 and 1,600-meter runs and junior Zachary Van Houte placed second in the 3,200-meter event.