While the rest of his Babylon teammates were running long distances this fall, Vladislav Cullinane was on the fields of his high school, jumping until he was satisfied — which, in the next-mark-up nature of the high jump — is hardly ever.
Cullinane was about to enter his second indoor high jump season. He placed third at the 2017 state qualifiers and, although he was the highest returning finisher, didn’t have any idea what his senior season would hold.
Then, it happened.
Cullinane cleared 6 feet, 6 inches one crisp fall day and suddenly his outlook on the upcoming season changed. The height was better than anything he had cleared last season and was only a harbinger of things to come. In December, Cullinane cleared 6-8, still the top height in the state entering Friday, according to milesplit.com
His high-flying season continued Friday night when he cleared 6-6 to win the high jump at the Suffolk small schools boys track and field championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
“My bend has improved over the bar,” Cullinane said. “I’m coming at a different angle now and I have stronger legs for jumping.”
Cullinane, fully aware of his victory, ended his night by barely missing a clean clear of 6-9.
“I need to increase my speed around the curve,” Cullinane said. “When I’m jumping, I’m jumping too far to the left. I have to jump a little closer [to the bar].”
Elsewhere, Mount Sinai’s Kenneth Wei won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.61 seconds, his personal best. Wei placed second (8.00) in the preliminaries before getting out with an explosive first step and running away in the finals.
Wei, who also placed second in both the triple jump (44-8) and long jump (22-6), said he wanted to conserve energy in the preliminaries, making sure that he ran fast enough to qualify for the hurdle finals, while avoiding blowing out his legs.
“They were definitely fresher because I felt less tired,” Wei said of his legs in the finals. “ . . . My first step was quick, powerful, and fast. I knew from that start that it was going to be a very good race.”
Half Hollow Hills West won the team championship with 51 points. Nicholas Duchatel won the 300 in 36.14 seconds for the Colts, teammate Deyvon Wright won the long jump (22-7.5), and the 4 x 400 relay team, composed of Nicholas Duchatellier, Miles Ryan, Reginald Latortue and Alex Brown won in 3:37.13.
East Hampton’s Robert Weiss used a solid start to win the 55 in 6.72 seconds.
“I usually have a terrible start,” Weiss said. “I leaned more and just went out, instead of thinking about it and messing up the start.”