Boys indoor track looks to be conference champion again

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Ethan Kenelly

Junior Kitman Lam runs to the finish line in the 300 meter dash at a track meet on Jan. 4 held at St. Anthony’s High School.

Dylan Spilko, Staff Writer

The boys winter track team, led by Head Coach Arnold Donado, is looking to repeat as Nassau County Conference I champions.

The season has been led by Port’s core runners, some of the top athletes in the county. The Vikings this season are full of seniors who have stepped up for the team, including Aaron Siff-Scherr, Rory Owens, Jordan Hurt, and Stanley Elysee.

The team proved why they should be considered serious championship contenders in their last meet on Jan. 4 at St. Anthony’s.

In the 1,600 meter race, Hurt and Owens finished in first and second place, respectively.  Hurt ran a 4:43, while Owens finished closely behind with a time of 4:46.  These two seniors certainly led by example and showed the rest of the team that if you put in hard work, you will get the results you want.

“Our seniors do such a great job not only during meets, but also during practice,” said junior Aaron Cotumaccio.  “They are definitely the best runners we have, and they always trying to help everyone, not just themselves, get better.”

Another senior who finished on top in his event was Siff-Scherr.  In the 600 meter race, he won the event, running a 1:25.  Seniors Elysee and Joey Levine were also able to finish in the top ten in the event.

Unlike in the distance races, the dashes were led by Port’s juniors.  In the 55 meter dash, junior Kitman Lam finished second with a time of 6.94 seconds.  In the 300 meter dash, junior Ryan Stevens who came in fourth with a time of 38.79. In the same event, junior Alex Zsikla came in sixth place with a time of 39.21.

“I think the whole team was happy with our results from the meet,” said Stevens.  “We know that we can only improve from this point on.”

The Vikings’ goal since the beginning of the season has been for them to get another shot at first place in their top conference.  So far this year, they have been focusing on this while also focusing on their  individual performances and their state rank.

“The goal for the season is probably to win conferences,” said Stevens. “We are all doing whatever we can to win conferences and counties, and maybe even qualify for states or nationals.”

Stevens is among the many members of the team that are excited about the young and new talent that the team has to offer.  The Vikings are full of many runners that have achieved individual awards, but they know that these will not win them a championship.  They realize that having a balanced team with depth is essential to their success.

“Even though many people are up for individual awards during our season, I believe that this team has truly come together so far,” said junior Matt Bernstein. “I really believe that our team has what it takes to push towards another championship.”

The Vikings’ successes can be traced back to their practices that are held in rainy and snowy conditions, which forces the runners to adapt to harsh situations and eventually makes them better. The team practices six days a week, and practices are held for two hours each session.

“Every single practice, we go out there and compete against every one of our teammates, and this healthy competition has really ramped up our running skills,” said junior Grant Bruno.  “Even though the practices are rough sometimes, we work hard and never quit.”

Although the Vikings are enjoying a great 2017 campaign, this season will come with a cost.  There are many seniors who will be graduating this year, including Siff-Scherr, Hurt, Owens, Elysee, Levine, Alex Devas, and many more. All of these runners have competed a very high levels on the team for the past four years.

“Our leaders on the team have carried us for this entire season, and they will be greatly missed for next year,” said Cotumaccio.  “That being said, I believe our future is extremely bright, and we have multiple juniors and other younger runners that can carry over our current senior’s skills.”