The record books will label Massapequa’s Nicholas Bianco as a pole vaulter, and rightfully so. His 15-foot, 1-inch mark in January broke East Meadow’s Brandon Love’s Nassau County record of 15-0, set two weeks earlier. But those who watched Bianco’s high school career know that he’s much more than a high flying specialist. In fact, he’s as well-rounded as the county has seen in a long time.
As a decathlete, Bianco scored 6,100 points to win the 10-event endurance test at a USATF meet last summer, 679 points behind Roosevelt’s Alvin Pearman’s 1966 state record, according to tullyrunners.com.
Because of his prowess on the track and in the field, and his challenging of one of the state’s oldest records, Bianco was presented the Special Achievement Award for Performance on the Track and in the Field by the Nassau Boys Track & Field and Cross Country Officials Association this week.
Although the organization gives out yearly individual senior awards for outstanding field and track event performance during a high school career, the one combining the two is presented far less frequently. Former NFL quarterback and Oceanside graduate Jay Fiedler was the last to receive the honor in 1990, said awards committee chair Susan Polansky.
“I was actually going for his state record [in the outdoor pentathlon] this year,” Bianco said of Fiedler. “That was my goal this spring.”
Spring, of course, was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as sports were canceled.
But Bianco’s winter was a sign of what might have been. On top of an outstanding pole vaulting campaign, Bianco showed the versatility that will have him focused on the decathlon at the University of Colorado next school year.
Bianco placed third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.03 seconds at the Nassau state qualifier and third in the 600 meters in 1:28.16 at the Nassau Conference I championships.
As much as the pole vault record will be Bianco’s high school legacy, the decathlon will always hold a special place in his heart. Completing his first one as a sophomore is his fondest high school memory, he said.
“I trained the whole year to do something I had never done before,” Bianco said. “I broke my school record. My coach looked at me at the end of the 1,500 and said how proud of me he was. That’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever gotten from track.”
Love was awarded the Paul E. Krause Memorial Award for Outstanding Field Event Performance. His 15-foot clear in January broke Mike Fisher of Lawrence’s 1985 Nassau pole vault record of 14-9 1/4, Massapequa coach Rich Degnan said. Love placed seventh at the state championships this March, clearing 14-9. He cleared 15 feet to win the Nassau Class A championship and won with a 14-6 clear at the Nassau State Qualifier.
“I think it was because of my left hand, and really pushing it through the box,” said Love, who will attend Binghamton next school year. “That really allows me to get on a bigger pole and get higher heights . . . My left hand was always weak and I didn’t really have control over it, but it started getting better.”
Seaford’s Jason Linzer received the T. Redmond McKenna Award for Outstanding Track Performance. Linzer was a consistent force in distance events for his entire high school career. He was third in the 3,200 in a personal-best 9:17.97 at the indoor state championships in March.
Mepham’s Brianna Thier and Valley Stream South’s Evan Miller received the Dick Ferziger Memorial Award, given to athletes who exhibit high academic achievement, leadership, sportsmanship and dedication to the community and the sport.