Boys track dominates early in the season

Senior+captain+Aaron+Siff-Scherr+leads+the+pack+of+runners+in+the+1600m+race+in+the+Port+Washington+Invitational+on+April+21.

Matias Mollin

Senior captain Aaron Siff-Scherr leads the pack of runners in the 1600m race in the Port Washington Invitational on April 21.

Matt Corsitto, Sports Editor

This year, the boys track team has kicked of the 2017 contest with a string of dominant individual and team performances. Even in the presence of tough conference competitors such as Massapequa and Valley Stream, the team seems to be impressively holding their weight thus far. The Vikings are looking to the future this season, and they hope to take a stab at a conference championship as the season progresses.

The team excels at sprinting events, and talents like juniors Eli Cruise, Ryan Stevens, and Alex Zsikla are short-distance dangers on the track this season, as well as senior Stanley Elysee. Their combination of dedication and talent has helped propel this Vikings track team to new limits this season. Elysee’s dominant performance on the 400m hurdles at the Suffolk Officials Meet on April 8 awarded him second place in the event with a time of 58.41 seconds. Junior Kitman Lam finished seventh in the 100m at this meet.

“From what I’ve seen, the sprinting team is really coming together this year,” said junior Grant Bruno, a distance runner. “I’m not there practicing with them, but I go to the meets and I see the results. They are clicking this season.”

The Vikings’ sprinting success didn’t stop there, as the Schreiber relay team took second place in the 4×400 relay with a time of three minutes and thirty seconds at the April 8th meet, falling short of Huntington’s team by just one second.

The real trophy on the Vikings’ mantle is its long distance runners. Filled with incredible depth, the team’s talent is distance in some of the best in the county.

“We have a good group of guys with Siff-Scherr, Levine, [Jordan] Hurt, and Elysee,” said senior Rory Owens. “Not to mention we’ve got a lot of freshmen and sophomores helping us out as well.”

The team has been equally successful in distance races, and the relay team of Elysee, Levine, Owens, and Siff-Scherr took home first place in the 4×800 at the Red Raiders Relays with a time of 8:04.45, defeating the runner up by over ten seconds.

“The work ethic, the team spirit, the determination, these are the things that make the difference,” said Levine on the team’s success. “We’ve been working hard at practices, and the grind is really paying off, I think.”

At the Suffolk Officials Meet, Port Washington had three runner place in the top ten of the 800m event, with Levine, senior Javier Gonzalez, and Owens finishing in second, seventh and eighth, respectively. Siff-Scherr also had an impressive outing at this meet, finishing third out in the 1600m event with a time of 4:35.18. Gonzalez also turned some heads in this event, placing tenth with a personal record of 4:40.21.

“These guys are anchors,” said junior Aaron Cotumaccio. “Siff-Scherr, Levine, Gonzalez, these are the guys that we’re going to miss next season.”

Therein lies the issue that this team will face next year. As the seniors graduate, the younger athletes will have to step up and fill their shoes, which may be problematic. Many of the departing seniors are the team’s top scorers and most consistent performers. People like Siff-Scherr, Elysse, Levine, Owens, and many others who have been such crucial factors in this team’s success will be gone next season. The Vikings will now have to hand the bulk of the responsibility to the team’s current juniors and underclassmen to carry on the legacy of success that these seniors have worked to construct.

“It might be tough, but I have confidence in the younger guys,” said Siff-Scherr on the departing seniors. “There’s plenty of potential there in guys like Zsikla, [Ben] Goldstein, and [Max] Friedman, plus you never know what the new crop of freshmen will bring to the table.”

Hopefully Siff-Scherr is correct, and the younger athletes on the team will be able to continue the impressive dynasty that the Vikings track team has been able to maintain in recent years. While the team will have to wait until next year to watch this potential blossom into success, they can still work hard and enjoy their present success. At the Schreiber-hosted Port Washington Invitational, Siff-Scherr topped his previous 1600m performance with an incredible time of four minutes and twenty-seven seconds. The Vikings seek to keep improving and growing throughout the remainder of the season, with many runners’ eyes on qualifying for counties.