Smithtown West runners turned in two outstanding performances at the 16th annual Hispanic Games Presented by the Navy, held Saturday at the Armory in Manhattan.
Mike Emerson placed second overall in the mile in 4 minutes, 30.14 seconds, his best time this season and a second off his personal best time, set in the spring outdoor track season.
“Michael is an excellent competitor,” said West coach Peter Schieck, adding that Emerson, a junior, posted the fastest mile time of the season in Suffolk County at Saturday’s meet.
West teammate Mark Valentino placed seventh in the invitational two-mile event in 9:52.82, a personal best and the fourth-fastest time in Suffolk this season.
“The funny thing about that is that initially he didn’t even qualify for the meet,” Schieck said. “They took 16 runners, and he was actually number 18 on the list. A couple of scratches came in, and Mark got into the race, and finished seventh overall.”
The Hispanic Games feature the top public and private high school winter track teams from across the tri-state area and beyond.
Smithtown East’s Pat Ginty placed 31st in the mile in 4:40.04, five seconds off his best time, according to East coach Kathy Borbet. Teammate Rob Calamia ran in the invitational two-mile and finished 17th in 10:17.27. Eric Wong posted a time of 9.2 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles.
“We’re getting back into it,” said Borbet, who noted the recent snowfall had kept the team off the outdoor track, interfering with their normal training. “It is difficult training out on the streets.”
Schieck said West overcame the snow with some help. “We were fortunate that one of our guys came out with a snow blower and cleared the track for us, so we didn’t miss any practices,” he said. “So that made a big difference.”
“This past weekend was the beginning of the championship part of the season, where the kids start posting faster times,” Schieck added. “Early on, we do much more strength work in practice; now we start to get seed times for the end of the season.”
Schieck added that Adam Hymowitz became the first West athlete in three years to make the Suffolk County “best of” standard in the 55 high hurdles with a time of 9.02 seconds. Other notables from the Hispanic Games were Mike Catalano (4:43), Pat McGuire (4:50.60), and eighth grader Nick Sabia (5:11) in the mile. The 4 x 200 team of Emerson, Henry Kostecki, Devin Mirenda and McGuire hit the “best of” standard at 1:42.71.
East and West competed again Sunday at two different crossover meets at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.
Mirenda posted West’s best indoor long jump since the Smithtown schools split four years ago, leaping 20 feet, 1 1/2 inches to place second. Kevin Harty placed second in the 600 with a time of 1:30. The 4 x 200 team of Anthony Aprile, Chris Ingram, Mike McCann and Pat Harty placed first in 1:42.02. Matt Morganelli reached the finals of the shot put with a 41-foot throw, while Mike Wahl (37-9) and Mike Kehrer (37-8) narrowly missed the Suffolk “best of” standard.
For East, Anthony Ferrara ran 1:36.72 in the 600 meters while sophomore Don Bradshaw ran 1:37.12 in his first 600. East’s 4 x 400 relay ran 3:58.1 and the 4 x 800 relay team of Ginty, Calamia, Gavin Shulock and Jack Peterson finished in 8:46.70.
Both East and West will compete at the Stanner Games this Saturday at the Armory, followed by the Suffolk County Freshman-Sophomore meet Sunday at Brentwood.