The North Shore boys’ track program is no longer basking in the glow of the girls’ team’s dominance.
In an unexpected twist, the Vikings boys tracksters won the team crown at the Nassau County Class A championships at Carle Place on May 24, edging West Hempstead by 5 points in scoring a 101.
Two weeks ago, North Shore was as low as a sixth seed but moved up after a good showing in the 4A Divisional meet. The maroon bumped to the No. 2 seed entering counties as West Hempstead clearly was the team to beat.
“A lot of kids just “PR’D’’ - did way better than they were supposed to,’’ North Shore’s pole-vault champion Caden Paradis said. “A ton of people picked it up, moved ever so slightly a few positions that allowed our whole team to win it.’’
The Vikings have now won two spring track championships in three years for coach Jason Millard.
“It’s an excellent feeling,’’ Millard said. “Moreso, I’m happy for the boys, not myself, especially the five seniors, giving them a parting gift with the county title for their hard work.’’
One of the major keys to the team title was the sprinting performance of unsung senior Michael Ye, who notched an unlikely 10 team points – finishing fourth in 100 meters and an All-County third place in the 200 with a 22.98.
Some observers didn’t believe Ye would score a point. “He outperformed where he was ranked,’ Millard said.
Others outdid themselves too - most notably senior Ryan Freund. The three-sport star took second in the high jump with a 5-08 after being just seventh going in. Freund earned All-County with the finish – to go along with All-County honors in football and basketball.
It was also a spectacular day for Paradis, a junior who not only won the pole vault as expected but helped two of his teammates net second and third place in a clean All-County sweep.
The pole-vault domination for the Sea Cliff/Glen Head school was boosted by sophomore Lukas Costello, who copped second place, and junior John Della Ratta’s third place. Neither Costello nor Della Ratta had performed the pole vault until this season and now they are All-County after Paradis took the duo under his wing.
“I personally have been coaching the two kids,’’ Paradis said. “I taught them how to pole vault. I got them both jumping exceptional heights in one season. Our Coach Millard allowed us to take out pole vaulting equipment when we wanted to practice as much as we could with different drills, setting up bungees. It allowed them to improve greatly.’’
Paradis, who won the winter county title, got first with a 10-foot pole vault. Costello tied that mark, posting a 10, but Paradis was champion based on less fails. Paradis also stopped after notching the 10-foot jump, knowing he had clinched.
Paradis’ personal best is 11-4 and is expected to be a qualifier for the state championships on June 8 in upstate Middletown. The state qualifier is hosted by North Shore this Thursday and Friday.
Aside from pole vault, Della Ratta made All-County in the 110 and 400 hurdles with a second-place in each event.
Other notables included Samuel Sturge landing in third place in the 800 and 1600 meters and Robby Levy finishing second in the 1600 and third in the 3200 meters.
Two other outstanding efforts were an All-County showing by Liam Brady - third in the 3000 steeplechase - and John Stehling, who scored team points with a fourth in the triple jump.
“It’s pretty great,’’ Paradis said, “to win as a team and rack up individual medals.’’