Ryan John of Valley Stream North finishes second in the boys...

Ryan John of Valley Stream North finishes second in the boys long jump with a mark of 21-10 at the 2022 NYSPHSAA Indoor Track & Field Championship at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on March 5. Credit: Errol Anderson

Chris Davis, Whitman, High Jump

The mere thought of the height made Davis angry. 6-6. Ugh.

That was the height that Davis missed at the Suffolk State Qualifier and, as the days before the state championships dwindled, it was the height he knew he had to conquer. He wasn’t even thinking about the state title, he just needed to do it for himself.

“For the whole week, every single day, it was just a thing for me where the only thing that mattered was 6-6,” said Davis, who will play basketball at SUNY-Geneseo next school year. “Whenever the number 6-6, I would literally get mad.”

By the weekend, 6-6 was just a mere memory. Davis jumped 6-7 to win the state high jump championship by an inch.

“We got to the point of the meet where (the bar) was 6-6, and I was just so motivated,” Davis said. “There was so much leading up to that point. This was the thing I was waiting for. So, I think it was a combination of me being really competitive and having the motivation because I didn’t clear it last time. It really drove me to clear 6-6.”

Ryan John, Valley Stream North, Triple Jump and Long Jump

There was only one way for Ryan John to properly say goodbye to state track and field competition – by winning a jumping championship. More specifically, a triple jump championship. John followed up his indoor Federation championship in March with an outdoor one in June, flying 48 feet, 1 ½ inches at Cicero – North Syracuse High School. The triple jump double complete, he now goes off to Clemson as one of the best triple jumpers Long Island has seen in years.  

“I definitely was happy with my performance this outdoor season,” John said. “I improved a whole lot from the indoor season. I made a lot of goals that I was trying to reach, and I reached a lot of them. Overall, I felt like I had a really great season.”

While the Federation triple jump was certainly the highlight of the weekend, it was far from his only win. John also won the Division I long and triple jumps, flying 23-3 and 49-8 3/4 , respectively. He placed second in the Federation long jump, going 22 feet, 11 ½ inches.

Nicholas Lourenco, St. Anthony’s, Pole Vault

For the state championships, Lourenco went big. Yes, this could be taken in a few different ways – big meet, big height, and a big win. But the senior also used the tallest pole he has to date, and it helped in a big way.

Lourenco, who lives in Bay Shore, got on a 15-foot, 7-inch pole and jumped 16 feet, 7 ½ inches to win the state championship and break the state meet record – previously 16-7, set by Arlington’s Jordan Yamoah in 2011.

“This was my second time jumping on it,” Lourenco said of the pole. “The first time, I left the ground on it, I just never finished attempting the jump, So, today I thought ‘ok, I’ll try it’ and it worked out….Originally, I was going to go down a pole, but didn’t really like how that one felt. I’ve jumped on (the 15-7 pole) before, so I knew how it felt.”

It was Lourenco’s second state pole vault championship of the year. He won the indoor in March.

Jermaine Thompson, Connetquot, 200 Meters

Entering the Federation 200, Thompson was hurting. He was beginning to pay the price of fast times on state championship weekend. The thing about winning – or being close to it – on this weekend is that it’s such a grind. But, that was no excuse. With the most important race of his weekend on tap, he had to find a way to push through whatever he was feeling.

“My coach told me to just go easy until the last 100,” Thompson said. “I just tried to stay up tall and just finish the race strong.”

A strong race it was, with Thompson winning in 21.64 seconds over Cardinal Hayes’ Jaavier Jackson, who ran 21.79.

“I was just trying to keep in cruising in the first 100, so I could keep up with everyone, and just try to put it away in the last 100,” Thompson said.

Earlier in the meet, Thompson won the Division I 200 in 21.22 seconds.  

Huntington 4x400 relay team (Nick Grover, Quincy Chery, Jahmar Francis, Julio Martinez)

Huntington knew they were much better than what they showed at the indoor championships in March and were, reluctantly, willing to wait until June to prove it. The program with the top boys 4x4 pedigree on Long Island finished sixth in the Federation in March. This was a product of injuries. When healthy, they projected to do much better.

“Every practice (in the spring), we were talking about how we could have won in the winter,” Chery said. “That’s a win that got away from us. We had that on our minds the whole time at (spring states). We used that as our ‘x-factor.’”

When the outdoor state championships came around, they proved that they were better than they showed on that March afternoon – winning the Division I outdoor championship in 3:19.58.  

“A healthy Huntington is unbeatable,” Chery said. “There’s ups and downs, but everyone was on the same page about winning, doing better, and running faster times. We have four sub-50 (second runners)….It wasn’t easy, but we did it.”

Friends Academy 4x400 relay (Ben Martin, Jackson Brielmann, Logan Alvarez, Logan Mott)

The way Brielmann sees it, his team was perfectly constructed for a championship. The 4x400 relay is a unique race where the overall distance is somewhat lengthy, but each leg is rather short. To win, a team needs a special combination of speed and continuity, and Friends Academy had it.  

“I’m gifted with great teammates,” Brielmann said. “We put Alvarez in the front because he’s great at down-starting. Mott is the fastest kid ever. He’s great at catching people when we need it, especially in this race. Martin is good at holding our ground, and me, I’m probably the best finisher we have.”

Thanks to the other three, Brielmann didn’t have to do any chasing. Friends Academy took the Division II championship in 3:27.78, reigning supreme among small schools in the public school division. The time broke the Friends Academy school record, Brielmann said.

“We badly wanted those medals,” Brielmann said.

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