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Boys track preview: St. Anthony’s goes for the triple crown

Ryan Dearie of St. Anthony's crosses the finish

Ryan Dearie of St. Anthony's crosses the finish line in 1st. place in the George T. Eastman 4x800m Relay at the Millrose Games qualifier on January 13, 2016. Credit: Errol Anderson

St. Anthony’s has one more hurdle to clear for the CHSAA intersectional triple crown. The cross country and indoor track teams have already brought back hardware behind a juggernaut distance group. Now, it’s time for spring success.

Ryan Dearie, Ryan Kutch, Frederick Buckholtz and Christopher Langer put in quality individual performances over the previous two seasons that have amounted to team dominance among catholic schools. Most recently, Kutch took second in the 3,200 in the indoor state championships.

“The distance group we have right now, they could be maybe the best small group of guys we’ve ever had,” coach Tim Dearie said.

The distance runners make up only one “big four” for the Friars this spring.

Kwesi Thomas-Henderson, Justin Percival, Heron O’Neal and Devon Guerrier-Heywood have emerged on the sprinting side with strong indoor showings.

Chaminade finished second at the indoor CHSAA league championship, and will look to four top runners to challenge St. Anthony’s for the title: Jack Rogers (800/1600), Brandon Mirabella (400/800), Michael Rainone (4 x 100 anchor) and Michael Murphy (indoor triple jump champion).

Devin Laudenschlager, Michael LaFemina and Frank Pepe are the three top returning seniors. Laudenschlager will be running the steeplechase.

LaFemina came in second in the 600 in 1:27.57 at the league championships and will most likely run the 800 this spring, coach David Wood said. Pepe will compete in the triple jump and long jump.

Farmingdale won the indoor Nassau A championship and will attempt to go back-to-back with a spring title.

Valley Stream North won Nassau A-I last spring with a group of graduating seniors. But losing those top runners hasn’t created much of an issue. The Spartans took the Nassau B indoor championship. Jarred Times won the indoor county championship for triple jump (42-9.75) and finished second in long jump (19-10.75). Jake Catalano is the reigning Nassau 1A spring 3,000 steeplechase county champion (10:20.26), and Tyler John is the indoor high jump champion (5-10).

The key to Manhasset repeating as Nassau A-II champs is balance, coach Steve Steiner said. Gavin Olsen returns as a county champion in shot put. He threw 50-8.75 at the county championships as a sophomore last year. He finished No. 2 in the county during this year’s indoor season.

Distance-wise, Tim Courts is the reigning Nassau Class B cross country champion and is chasing school records in the 3,200 and 3,000 steeplechase. He already holds the 2,000 meter steeplechase record.

Jallah Stephenson is emerging as a top sophomore sprinter in Nassau. He’s competing in the 100, 200, 300 and 400.

Evan Garry, Luke Skorka and Alden Aspiras are a few of the key returners for Nassau A-III defending champion Syosset. Garry will run the 400. He finished third in 50.59 at last year’s county championship. He won the indoor county championship in the 600 in 1:24.44.

Syosset returns a formidable 4 x 800 team that finished seventh at the state championship. Garry, Skorka and Aspiras are part of that along with Stanley Feldbeyn. Andrew Lafferty is an up-and-coming half miler, coach Chris Meyers said.

Uniondale will be a competitor for the Nassau A-III title. The Knights won the indoor state public school championship 4 x 200 this March with Chris Borzor, Harriott Ragilo, Cleveland Modest and Christopher Duhaney in 1:32.72. That group returns for the spring. They will also try to add a 4 x 100 title. Javaughn Hansen returns from a hamstring injury and could factor into the lineup. Christopher Duhaney will also compete in hurdle events.

Huntington has the national indoor 4 x 400 champions, Lawrence Leake, Kyree Johnson, Shane McGuire and Infinite Tucker, returning for the spring. Johnson made the decision to stick with track instead of playing lacrosse, his spring sport in the past, coach Ron Wilson said.

That news gives Wilson more options this season with the four from the indoor team plus Exzayvian Crowell available.

Tucker, the anchor on the 4 x 400, will run the 110 and 400 hurdles individually in his final high school season. He also will compete at long jump. Tucker is the defending state champion in the 400 meter hurdles, running a 52.29 last June.

Ward Melville’s Michael Reilly had a strong winter season, finishing second in the 1,600 meters (4:27.12) at the Suffolk state qualifiers and coming from behind to take third at the state championship in 4:24.46 at Cornell University. The Patriots are defending their Suffolk I spring title.

Gedson Pereira will look to improve on the 58.13 he ran last year in the 400 hurdles at the county championships. He can also jump over 20 feet at long jump and will score in the triple jump.

Senior Tysheem Griffin started Amityville’s Suffolk III spring title defense by taking first in the 100-meter dash at the Longwood Invitational in 11:41.

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