Boys and girls indoor track teams start season strong: Both teams look to repeat as conference champions this season

Sophomore+Hugh+Owens+runs+during+the+Nassau+County+Coaches+Invitational+in+Staten+Island.

Sean Lui

Sophomore Hugh Owens runs during the Nassau County Coaches Invitational in Staten Island.

Justin Suzzan, Sports Editor

Among the excitement surrounding the new sports season, two winter teams have risen to the top: the boys and girls indoor track teams. Both teams are entering this new season as defending conference champions.  This season, the members of both teams will look to continue the legacy that last year’s graduating seniors left behind.

“We lost a few great runners last season,” said junior Grant Bruno. “We just try to work hard every day in practice so we can continue to get better and make them proud.”

Six days a week, all members of the boys and girls teams could be found outside on the track.  They practice in extreme conditions, enduring rain, snow, and chilling winds. Due to their hard work and commitment, both of the squads have done an excellent job so far this season.

“It’s definitely tough sometimes having to practice after school every day in the cold,” said junior Aaron Cotumaccio. “The results that we get at the meets make it all worth it.”

On the days where they are not practicing, both the boys and girls teams compete in meets where they face some of the best competition on Long Island.  On Dec. 10, the teams competed at the Nassau County Coaches Invitational in Staten Island.  Port proved why they are one of the top programs in the county, as both the boys and girls teams finished on top of the leaderboard in many events.

In the boys 1,000 meter final, Schreiber was very well represented in the top finishers. Senior Aaron Siff-Scherr finished in second place with a time of 2:40, just one second behind the top finisher. In the same event, senior Rory Owens placed fourth with a time of 2:43. Other top 25 finishers for Port in the race were junior Geovany Mendez, senior Jordan Hurt, and senior Alex Devas.

The team enjoyed similar success in the one mile race.  Four members of the Vikings were able to earn top twelve finishing times.  Leading the way for Port again was Siff-Scherr, who placed second in the event with a time of 4:37. Owens placed fourth in the event with a time of 4:40, and Mendez and Hurt each ran a 4:48, securing the eleventh and twelfth place spots.

Many members of the boys team were happy with their performances in the long distance races.  The top distance runners are looking forward to improving on their times throughout the year.

“I was happy with the team’s results this meet,” said Siff-Scherr. “We had a lot of great individual performances, and they will only get better as the season goes on.”

The senior runners on the boys side continued to produced top results for the team as the night went on. In the 600 meter race, senior Joey Levine finished in fifth place with a time of 1:27, only one second separating him and the top runner.  Seniors Kanji Katayama and Eli Feldman also turned in top 25 finishes for the Vikings.

In the field events, the Vikings were led by an impressive performance behind junior Alex Zsikla.  In the triple jump, Zsikla finished with the second best score to establish himself as one of the best in the county.

The girls team had no shortage of success at the Nassau County Coaches Invitational either. In the 1,000 meter race, Schreiber was led by its experienced runners who have continued to dominate for Port. The girls took home the two top spots as senior Maria Kogan crossed the line in first place with a time of 3:04 with junior Lucy Hurt following closely behind in second with a time of 3:07.

“I think everybody on the team ran a really great race and I was really happy with the results from that event,” said Hurt.  “I think we showed that its one of our strongest events and hopefully will only continue to get stronger in the event as the season goes on.”

In the same event, juniors Emily and Sarah Cavallaro and junior Maddi Jester also produced top 30 times for the Vikings in the event.

In the 1,500 meter race, the girls team was again led by Kogan as she took home second place in the event.  Her 4:57 time marked a personal best for her, only finishing two seconds behind the first place winner.  Hurt had another top 10 performance for the team as she ran a 5:07 which earned her seventh place in the event.

“It is so great to see everyone performing so well this early in season,” said Kogan.  “It really shows the amount of effort we put into our training in the summer and the fall.”

In the high jump event, Port was led by junior Celia Christake, who brought home first place in the entire event.  Christake shared the top honor with one other athlete.  Senior Anee Williams was able to finish in a three-way tie for second in the event as well.

Both of the teams were very well represented at the Nassau County Coaches Invitational meet, and they hope they can continue their success as the season progresses.  Both teams know that their senior, more experienced runners will have to lead them while younger runners step up.

The boys team is led by their talented, senior runners who try to lead by example every day.  They know that in order to be successful, they have to lead by example and that they have to constantly encourage those around them to get better.

“My teammates are making great strides everyday and they are always trying their best to improve,” said Siff-Scherr.  “We have some of the best runners in the county because of all the hard work we’ve been doing.”

Their actions have motivated other members of the team to always give it their all while they attempt to post the best time possible for Port.

“All of our captains and seniors are really great leaders,” said Bruno.  “They do such a great job at pushing everybody, and we are one of the best teams in the county because of them.”

On the girls team, Kogan has been the standout performer for the team so far.  However, there have been many juniors and underclassmen who have stepped up in a big way for the team. Runners like junior Talia Crowley and sophomore Sophie Roth both posted times in the top 40 in the 1,500 meter race.

“Everybody is always getting better and I’m so proud of the team right now,” said Hurt.  “If we keep improving, then we can again be one of the top teams in the county this year.”

The Vikings know what it will take not only to be successful this year, but also to be successful in the years to come.  Seniors on the boys team realize that next winter season, the team will have to overcome the loss of those that will be graduating.  However, they are confident that the team has what it takes to be a top program once again next year.

“It will take leadership from a different part of the team,” said Siff-Scherr.  “We will stay strong next year, though. I am confident in the abilities of my teammates that will remain when us seniors graduate.”

So far this season for the girls, Kogan has led the team to a great showing at the Nassau County Invitational.  The girls are confident that the younger runners will keep improving during this year and also into next season.

“It will be difficult to lose the seniors next season,” said Hurt.  “We have many great runners who will be returning next season.  Right now, we are focused on this season and finishing with the same results as last year.”

The girls senior runners this year are confident that the team will still be top contenders in the county next year even when they graduate.

“We have a lot of newcomers to the team this year,” said Kogan.  “We have been doing a lot of training lately and I can already tell that the younger girls are improving so much every day.”

The goal of accomplishing another conference title will not be easy for the Vikings.  Still in the early part of their season, the Vikings still have much work to do before the conference champions are crowned.  Both the girls and the boys teams have their minds set, and they will continue to carry on Port’s legacy in track as we get deeper into the winter months.

“There is still much of the season left,” said Bruno. “Both of our teams are very excited about what is to come and how far we can go.”