Newsday Athlete of the Year: Nick Pisciotta, Commack, Sr.
How’s this for dominance? Pisciotta won the indoor weight throw state championship by more than four feet and had the top overall throw in the state by more than two feet. Still need more? He had the top four throws in the state and beat the next best thrower by more than four feet.
That kind of dominance speaks for itself and made Pisciotta worthy of being named Newsday’s boys track and field Athlete of the Year.
So, how did the second-year thrower come to dominate the event for the entire winter?
“My training in the weight room and my technical training all really tied in nicely this year,” said the Commack senior. “I worked very hard last year and over last summer. Everything just kind of clicked technically and with my strength.”
Pisciotta saved his best for last, tossing the 25-pound weight 75-6. The throw was 4-3.5 farther than the second-place finisher. It was also the farthest in the state this season, according to milesplit.com.
“I was walking in there very confident,” said Pisciotta, who will attend Northeastern next school year. “I knew with my technique and strength, anything was possible.”
Though there were two high profile victories before that, one at the Long Island Elite Meet and another at the Suffolk State Qualifier, Pisciotta’s path toward a state championship kicked into high gear at the Millrose Games Trials on Jan. 8. It was there that the senior broke 70-0 for the first time and knew that his weight lifting regimen needed to be bumped up for the final two months of his weight throwing season.
“Seventy was a big goal for me,” he said. “I did a meet in the preseason and I hit 69 feet, so I was pretty confident that I was going to make a jump from my first meet of the season to my last meet. Once I hit the 70, I discussed it with my coaches and we decided that getting stronger [for] the big meets would allow me to hit the 75.”
In addition to weight throw, Pisciotta also won the Suffolk Large School shot put championship, tossing 50-4 and at the Suffolk State Qualifier, throwing 54-10.
Nassau Athlete of the Year: Christian Quinn, Freeport, Jr.
In his first indoor season since relocating from Massachusetts last summer, Quinn took the state by storm. He was, by far, the best long jumper on Long Island and proved to be tops in the state, as well.
Quinn won the state indoor long jump championship, flying 22 feet, 11 inches. A week earlier, the junior flew 23 feet, five inches at the Long Island Elite meet, the farthest jump in the state this season, according to milesplit.com.
“I definitely got a lot more consistent, which is very important,” Quinn said. “I used to just run, not knowing what I was doing, and try to jump. But, coach [Charles Gilreath] really told me that consistency is key.”
That consistency also led to a Nassau Class A Championship (23-3.5) and a win at the Nassau State Qualifier (23-2.25). Quinn jumped at eight meets this season and racked up six victories, according to milesplit.com.
Cavel Campbell, Hempstead, Sr.
Campbell won two big races by under one second this winter. He sprinted down the final straightaway to win the 300-meter indoor state championship in 34.54 seconds at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex, milliseconds ahead of the field. Campbell also won the Nassau Class A 300 title in 35.20 seconds, 0.65 ahead of Freeport’s Christian Quinn.
Michael Danzi, Smithtown West, Sr.
After three second-place finishes in state championship competition last year, Danzi finally broke through with a wire-to-wire two minute, 29.96 second victory in the 1,000-meter indoor state championship. Danzi also won Suffolk Large School crowns in the 1,000 (2:35.92) and 1,600 (4:36.17). He ran 2:33.36 to win the 1,000 at the Suffolk State Qualifier.
Andre Leslie, Farmingdale, Jr.
Leslie took Long Island by storm in his first season in Farmingdale. He moved from Kingston, Jamaica last summer and, in March, won the public school 55-meter indoor state championship in 6.39 seconds. Leslie won the Nassau Class A 55 title in 6.44 seconds and ran 6.45 to win at the Nassau State Qualifier.
Kal Lewis, Shelter Island, Sr.
Before jet setting to Iowa next school year, Lewis added to his high school trophy case with an indoor state public school championship in the 1,600 meters. Lewis finished second in the Federation race and took the public school crown in four minutes, 17.24 seconds. Lewis won the Suffolk Small School 1,600 championship in 4:28.25.
Jack Meigel, Westhampton, Sr.
Meigel was one of the best high jumpers in the state this year. He cleared the winning height of six foot, six inches at the indoor state championships, but fell to third place in a jump-off. Meigel cleared 6-2 to win the Suffolk Small School high jump championship.
Quinn Smith, Hampton Bays, Sr.
Smith walked away from the throwing cage a champion on the first Saturday on March, winning the shot put state championship with a 60 foot toss. He won the Suffolk Small School crown with a 56 foot, 5½ inch throw and threw 53 feet, one inch and placed second at the Suffolk State Qualifier.
Westbury’s 4x200 meter relay team: Jean Love, Sr; Naquan Frazier, Sr; Jarvis Kuunifaa Jr; and Kevens Leger, Sr.
After they won the 4x200-meter relay at the Hispanic Games at the Armory in Manhattan in January, Westbury wanted everyone to know that they were coming for everything in the postseason. They certainly made good on that promise, walking away with four shiny gold medals. The quartet won the indoor state championship in one minute, 29.94 seconds, the fastest time on Long Island and third fastest in the state this season, according to milesplit.com.
Huntington’s 4x400 meter relay team: Anthony Joseph, Jr; Justin Stevens, Sr; C.J. Kiviat, Jr; and Tyriek Mays-McKoy, So.
Lining up on the 4x400 team with the words ‘Huntington’ plastered across the chest is a heavy ask for any runner. The history is on their side, but it’s up to the feet to live up to the program’s recent reputation as a 4x400 factory. This group did it effortlessly, winning the program’s second straight indoor state championship in three minutes, 19.91 seconds. The time broke Newburgh’s state championship meet record of 3:20.1, coach Ron Wilson said.
Syosset’s 4x800 meter relay team: Alex Rangell, Sr; Kevin Mohtadi, Sr; Hunter Pick, Sr; and Justin DePinto, Sr.
It was a return to glory for this program as the Braves quartet won the indoor state championship in seven minutes, 55.53 seconds. The time was the second-fastest in the state this season, according to milesplit.com. Only Frontier ran faster when they clocked a 7:55.08 at the Millrose Games in February, mere milliseconds ahead of Syosset’s state championship time. The program won at the Nassau State Qualifier in 8:06.54.
Coach of the Year: Ron Wilson, Huntington
In addition to building yet another state championship 4x400-meter relay team, Wilson’s Blue Devils won the Suffolk Large School championship with 88.5 points, 32.5 points ahead of the field. Huntington also won the Long Island 4x400-meter relay in a dominant 3:19.80 at the Millrose Games.