The Huntington High School boys’ indoor track and field team is coming together quite well, compiling a series of strong performances over the past week at two crossover meets.
In the field events, senior Clay Jamison has proven his is one of the top shot putters on Long Island. On his last attempt this past Tuesday night, Jamison tossed the shot a stunning 50-05.5 feet for first place. “To throw over 50 feet is really an amazing feat,” head coach Ronald Wilson said. “The crowd near the shot put area clapped as the shot flew through the air and the official said ‘50 feet 5 and half inches.’” The teenager’s throw ranks him No. 1 on LI and No. 5 in the entire state.
Senior Sam Bergman took third place in shot put with a toss of 44-04 feet. His best effort this season was measured at 45-03 feet. “Sam is capable of throwing much farther,” Wilson said. “He’s still a work in progress. We are still working with his technique. He started in eighth grade as a rotator and then last year he was having such a tough time with the rotation, that we made him a glider. We are working out the kinks with this young fella.”
Also in shot put, Huntington senior Levi Leach (43-09.25 feet) and junior Eric Sands (43-05.25 feet) placed fifth and sixth, respectively in crossover meet action. Leach was particularly excited about his toss because it marked a new personal best. Sands’ best has been 44 feet. “Both Leach and Sands can go well over 48 feet,” Wilson said. “They have to focus a bit more in practice and be more consistent with their technique.”
Mekai Butts continues to improve in shot put, too, showing that he is among the top freshman throwers in the state. Butts placed 14th in a field of 68 with a throw of 38-06.50 feet. Anthony McDonald was 15th with a toss measuring 37-07.25 feet. “Anthony was welcomed into the 40’s club when he tossed the shot 40-03 feet last Saturday,” Wilson said. “He continues to improve. We are happy about the progress he and the other throwers are making.”
On the runway of the long jump, seniors Alex LaBella and Aaron McQueen continue to improve. McQueen placed third with a leap of 21-01 feet. LaBella’s best jump of 19-06 feet shows his growth in the event. “Both these young men have plenty of board left,” said Wilson about their future potential. “They are jumping well from behind the board. With more consistency and technique, both will be 22 foot jumpers, possibly 23 foot jumpers, just like Texas A&M athletes, Kyree Johnson and Infinite Tucker.”
In the high jump, LaBella along with senior Mike Drake, juniors Joe Garetano and Jaden Bholan, and freshman Trevan Meagher continued to show significant improvement.
On the track, senior Brian Pierre made the finals in the 55m hurdles, running a personal best of 8.38 seconds behind Jahiem Dotson of Longwood, who is the top hurdler on LI. Sophomore Jaylen Bush ran a personal best of 8.92 seconds to win the frosh/soph section of the hurdles.
In the 3200m run, sophomore Jason Verville and freshman Aidan Heller placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Verville’s best time in the event is 10:44 with Heller’s best coming in at 11:11.
Freshman Isaiah James continues to show promise in the distance events, running a personal best time of 2:55 in the 1000m run to capture third place. Freshman Andrew McKenzie also ran a personal best of 2:58 in the 1000m run for ninth place.
Junior Jonathan Smith finished second in a field of 29 in the 600m run last Tuesday night. The teenager completed the race in 1:27.03, a little more than a second off the first place finisher’s pace.
“Our relay teams continue improve as well,” Wilson said. Huntington’s 4x200m relay consisting of LaBella, Smith, McQueen and freshman Anthony Joseph finished a close second behind No. 1 ranked Longwood in a time of 1:36.
The Blue Devils’ 4x400m relay of LaBella, Smith, Joseph and freshman Justin Stevens finished on the heels of top ranked Half Hollow Hills West in a time of 3:35.
“We are heading in the right direction,” Wilson said. “We have to continue to stay hungry for success. We are a young and inexperienced team. I know if we continue to stay hungry and work on our mechanics and technique, we will have an opportunity to be champions in the end.”
There will be no winter recess vacation for the Blue Devils. “We will be traveling the day after Christmas to the Armory in Manhattan for the North Shore Invitational and then on December 30 to the Ocean Breeze Athletic Facility in Staten Island for the Holiday Invitational,” Wilson said. “Both of these meets will feature top teams from the east coast stretching from Virginia all the way to Massachusetts. Huntington will be in the mix!”