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Infinite Tucker

Huntington High School marked its 155th annual commencement on Saturday, June 25.

The Blue Devils celebrated in style, marking the occasion with a processional, speeches by a number of students and school officials, words of wisdom from valedictorian Rachel Carpenter and salutatorian Olivia Stamatatos, and much cheer from excited parents. Principal Brendan Cusack also delivered some warm words to the graduates.

Infinite Tucker grabs gold in 400 hurdles and relay

The Blue Devils relay team stands atop the podium. Photo from Huntington athletics
The Blue Devils relay team stands atop the podium. Photo from Huntington athletics

By Desirée Keegan

Huntington’s 4×400-meter relay team had a target on its back all season.

After being indoor national champions in the winter, and then garnering league, division and state titles, the pressure was on once the squad stepped out onto the national stage last weekend.

The boys may have been nervous — especially after finding out they weren’t the No. 1 seed — but head coach Ron Wilson gave them words of encouragement, and once they lined up to compete, he could tell by their faces that they meant business.

‘We all sat together before the race and talked about how it’s our last hurrah and we all wanted to do it for [Infinite Tucker] because it was his last time running with us.’ —Kyree Johnson

“I could see that they had the same facial expressions they had at the state championship, the same facial expressions at the national championship back in March,” he said. “There is a certain look they each have where they don’t really communicate with one another, but get mentally ready to compete. Can we dominate? That was the big question that we asked ourselves — and we did.”

The Blue Devils’ fantastic four won in 3 minutes, 10.93 seconds, at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championship at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro Sunday night, setting a New York State record, knocking down the previous one which had stood for 50 years. The team also garnered the fastest time in the United States for 2016 in the event, and broke the national record of 3:11.6 set in 1966. The time easily eclipsed the school and county marks.

Infinite Tucker crosses the finish line first in the 400 intermediate hurdles. Photo from Huntington athletics
Infinite Tucker crosses the finish line first in the 400 intermediate hurdles. Photo from Huntington athletics

The finish ended a long campaign exactly the way the athletes wanted it to. And the boys especially wanted to do it for senior Infinite Tucker, who garnered a national medal in the 400 intermediate hurdles just an hour and a half before competing with his team.

“We all sat together before the race and talked about how it’s our last hurrah and we all wanted to do it for him because it was his last time running with us, and running for high school,” junior Kyree Johnson said. “We all just stepped it up a little bit, tried our hardest and that was exactly what everybody did.”

Junior Lawrence Leake, as per a suggestion from assistant coach Eli Acosta, was switched to the first leg of the race, moving junior Shane McGuire to the second. Leake admits he was nervous, but said the coaches helped him get mentally ready to compete.

“They always have a positive attitude, give words of encouragement before races, and always reassure me that I’m capable of whatever I put my mind to,” he said.

Wilson told Leake and McGuire that if the boys each finished in 48 seconds, the title could be theirs for the taking.

Leake didn’t break out of the box that well, taking a bad step off the block, but quickly regained his stride and finished the first 200 in 23 seconds, which was right on track. After finishing the second 200 in 25 seconds, he passed the baton to McGuire, who said he went to the line super nervous, but didn’t want to let his teammates down.

“When I got the baton, I went out quick,” he said. “I ran 23 in the first 200 and I was still kind of in the back, so when we hit the last straight away I saw the other teams died out and I sprinted as hard as I could to give it to Kyree.”

Wilson said once the two legs finished in their target times, with both boys earning new personal bests, he knew the race was won.

The Huntington 4x400-meter relay team walks off the track national champions. Photo from Huntington athletics
The Huntington 4×400-meter relay team walks off the track national champions. Photo from Huntington athletics

“I already knew it was over,” he said. “Kyree and Infinite are not going to let anyone deny them the top spot on the podium.”

Johnson also knew the national championship was only seconds out of reach.

“When I saw Lawrence run a really good leg and I saw Shane picking it up, I had a feeling that we were going to take it,” he said. “I was relieved. When I got the baton I just gave it my all. Just to go down there with all my friends and being able to compete with the people that I’m very close with was a great experience. Everything we accomplish together will stay with us forever. It’s not like a season thing. We have a friendship that has turned into a brotherhood.”

And that brotherhood is what helped them pull it out, as the team topped their best record by five seconds.

“We wanted to make the last time we all ran together special,” McGuire said.

And they did.

Kyree Johnson captures four, Huntington wins first-place team title

Infinite Tucker flies down the track. Photo from Huntington athletics

Infinite Tucker put on one of the most dominating performances ever seen in the New York State Track and Field Championships, winning six gold medals to lift Huntington to a first place finish in the team standings last weekend in Syracuse.

Huntington head coach Ronald Wilson and assistant coaches Eli Acosta and Haidee Bonhurst couldn’t have asked for more from the Blue Devil stars.

“What can I say?” asked Wilson rhetorically. “All those medals speak for themselves.”

The 6-foot, 5-inch 205-pound Tucker won New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division I titles in the 110-meter high hurdles, 400 intermediate hurdles and 4×400 relay, and then went on to win three more gold medals in the same events in the state federation finals when he defeated the top athletes from Division I, Division II and the state’s private and parochial schools.

Tucker is one of the toughest competitors that Huntington has ever fielded in any sport. Despite achieving mind-boggling individual honors, the athlete puts his team above himself. The senior notched the fastest 400 relay split, 47 seconds, of the weekend, which is an impressive feat considering he competed in multiple events and was running on “tired legs.”

“A gold medal is the great achievement and honor that a high school athlete can receive,” Tucker said. “But I would swap any title to be given another chance to run with my team.”

It was a special weekend for Kyree Johnson, who captured four gold medals in the 400 dash and 4×400 relay, winning NYSPHSAA Division I and federation crowns.

“There are a lot of great athletes in New York State, especially in the 400 dash,” Johnson said. “Fortunately, I came away with the state title this weekend, not only in the 400, but my relay won as well. I’m very proud of my teammates and very appreciative of my coaches.”

Huntington’s 4x400-meter Shane McGuire, Kyree Johnson, Infinite Tucker and Lawrence Leake broke the Suffolk County and state record in the event to win gold. Photo from Huntington athletics
Huntington’s 4×400-meter Shane McGuire, Kyree Johnson, Infinite Tucker and Lawrence Leake broke the Suffolk County and state record in the event to win gold. Photo from Huntington athletics

In only his second season of flinging the discus, senior Kenny Charles finished third in the state federation on Saturday with a throw of 177 feet, 11 inches, which set a new Huntington school record in the event. The athlete had earlier taken fourth in the NYSPHSAA Division I competition with a throw of 166 feet.

Wilson was happy with Charles’ performance in the Division I finals on Friday.

“No one could have ever predicted that he would throw an additional 12 feet on Saturday,” the coach said. The distance shattered Trayvon Toney’s Huntington record of 170 feet, 7 inches.

“Finally being able to break the school record is a testament to the exceptional coaching of coaches Wilson and Bonhurst,” Charles said. “I only began throwing last season and because of their instruction, I have been able to place in big meets, make it to states and nationals, and break the school record.”

In the 800 run, Shane McGuire finished sixth in NYSPHSAA Division I and eighth in the state federation to grab a bronze medal. The junior also ran on the gold medal winning 4×400 relay.

“Overall, it was a great weekend for the team,” McGuire said. “It was my first time competing individually at the states and although I wish I did a little better, going up against the best in New York was awesome. Most of those competing in the championship were seniors, so that gets me excited for next year.”

Junior Lawrence Leake ran the leadoff leg of the gold medal-winning relay and was sensational before handing the baton off to Johnson.

“We are always looking to impress and standout,” Leake said.

The relay’s time of 3 minutes, 15 seconds set new Suffolk and Huntington records in the event.

“Our 4×400 relay stayed focused,” McGuire said. “Even with three of us running in other events, we were able to still run strong and win with our best time yet.”

The Blue Devils racked up 46 points in the state federation team standings, easily outdistancing runners-up Maine-Endwell and Wilson Magnet School, which scored 26 points. Among competing schools, 71 teams scored at least one point in the competition.

“This has been an incredible season,” Wilson said. “It’s a special group of young men. They have been wonderful ambassadors for Huntington wherever they have gone.”

The Huntington track and field standouts will compete one more time this spring when they travel to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro this weekend.

Infinite Tucker competes in the long jump. Photo by Darin Reed

The Huntington boys’ and girls’ track and field teams competed in the New York State Track and Field championship qualifier last weekend at Port Jefferson high school. Members of both squads excelled and even broke records, with multiple athletes on the boys’ squad qualifying to compete at the state level next weekend.

Boys’ track and field
In one of the most dominating performances ever, Huntington senior Infinite Tucker qualified for the championships in four different events and won gold medals in each of them.

One of the top high school athletes in the country, Tucker captured gold medals in the 110-meter high hurdles, 400 intermediate hurdles, long jump and the 4×400 relay, to pace the Blue Devils.

Infinite Tucker competes in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the state qualifier. Photo by Darin Reed
Infinite Tucker competes in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the state qualifier. Photo by Darin Reed

Tucker was on top of his game at the Section XI state qualifier, easily winning the long jump last Friday afternoon with a leap of 23 feet, 4.75 inches before sweeping to victory in three other events on Saturday.

The Huntington athlete won the 110 high hurdles in a time of 14.27 seconds; went on to set new school, meet and county marks in the 400 intermediate hurdles when he crossed the finish line in a stunning 51.23 seconds, which was 2.32 ahead of runner-up Spencer Payton of Longwood; and anchored the Blue Devils’ 4×400 relay team, which grabbed first place with a time of 3 minutes, 15.48 seconds, shattering the existing Suffolk record. Huntington finished about two seconds ahead of runner-up Half Hollow Hills West. Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake and Shane McGuire ran the first three legs of the race, respectively.

“Infinite’s performance speaks for itself,” said Huntington head coach Ron Wilson. “It was beyond dominating; it was simply amazing. He’s a gifted child who loves to compete and who strives to win every time he’s on the track.”

Johnson and McGuire also qualified for the state championships in their respective events. Johnson set new meet records in the 400 dash on both Friday and Saturday, capturing Saturday’s county final in a blazing fast time of 47.78.

McGuire notched an upset victory in the 800 run, coming out of nowhere to topple several heavily favored runners. The junior ran his fastest time ever in the event, circling the track twice in 1:53.64.

Kenny Charles hurls the discus. Photo by Darin Reed
Kenny Charles hurls the discus. Photo by Darin Reed

“Shane and Kyree were just great,” Wilson said. “They came to the meet with one thing in mind: winning. It was an incredible feeling to watch them win Suffolk titles and qualify for the state championships. They’ve both worked so hard and to see that payoff is a wonderful sight.”

Kenny Charles qualified for the state finals in discus, finishing second in Suffolk County with a long throw of 162 feet, 2 inches. It was about five feet off the senior’s best, but still far surpassed the state qualifying standard.

Charles is one of Suffolk’s best basketball players, but decided last year to give spring track a try and, in a short period of time, mastered the discus to the point where he will be advancing to the finals.

Girls’ track and field
Being a competitive athlete himself, girls’ track and field head coach Shawn Anderson knows only too well that not everything is going to go right on any given day.

So it was for the Blue Devils, which closed out its season last Saturday at the Suffolk state qualifier.

While he wishes a few more breaks came the Blue Devils’ way, Anderson also feels his athletes gave the team everything they had.

“The state qualifying meet always brings out the heat and the competition,” said Anderson. “Today was no exception.”

Alexandra Koumas leaps over the hurdle at a previous meet. Photo by Darin Reed
Alexandra Koumas leaps over the hurdle at a previous meet. Photo by Darin Reed

Senior Alexandra Koumas set a new school record in the 400 hurdles, breaking a mark she had previously set, when she crossed the finish line in 1:04.83 in the preliminary heat. The athlete went on to finish fourth in the finals and garner All-County honors.

“She went out super aggressive,” Anderson said. “She needed to in order to hang with the top three.”

All in all, Anderson said it was a great way to have the team end its season.

“As always, each year the group of girls that we have continues to impress me and defy even my expectations,” he said. “For the underclassmen, it just makes them hungrier for next year as they look to improve. As for the seniors, it is always bittersweet when the season ends, but we always look to the future to continue the tradition that’s been established and continuously raise the bar. They laid it all on the track and finished with very impressive times — a testament to their hard work over their careers at Huntington.”

Huntington's Infinite Tucker leaps over the hurdles. File photo by Darin Reed
Huntington’s Infinite Tucker leaps over the hurdles. File photo by Darin Reed

It was the Infinite Tucker show last weekend at the Taco Bell Classic at Spring Valley High School’s Harry Parone Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The Huntington senior walked away with four medals, following a classic finish in the premier relay race.

Tucker won the 400-meter high hurdles, came in a close second in the 110 high hurdles, anchored the Blue Devils’ winning 4×400 relay and finished fourth in long jump. His performance helped Huntington finish in a tie for second place in the team standings with 41 points. The competition drew more than 2,500 competitors from nearly 300 high schools across more than a dozen states.

Perhaps the highlight of the entire two-day competition was the 4×400 relay finals that pitted Huntington against longtime rival Archbishop Carroll of Washington, DC and Newton, in New Jersey, which won the team championship.

Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake and Shane McGuire handled the first three legs of the race before Tucker took over.

“Infinite gave it everything he had,” Huntington head coach Ron Wilson said.

The senior sprinted the final 400 meters and dove across the finish line while the Blue Devils held their collective breath. It was a photo finish with Archbishop Carroll, and officials took their time trying to determine the winner. About five minutes passed before it was announced that Huntington had won by 1/100th of a second in a time of three minutes, 22.13 seconds. The event drew 59 relay teams. Newton took third place in the race.

“It was an incredible finish to a weekend filled with great competition,” Wilson said. “We had some nice performances.”

Huntington’s 4×800 relay shined in a race that drew 52 entries. McGuire, Mitch Rudish, Tom Kopstein and Kyle O’Brien finished second in a time of 8:07.81.

“They were magnificent,” Wilson said.

The Blue Devil star finished in a time of 53.72 seconds. He was second in the 110 high hurdles after running 14:56 in the finals, nearly a half second off his qualifying heat time. Tucker clipped the last hurdle in the finals, which slowed him down.

Although Tucker was slightly off his game in long jump, a week earlier, he tied a 34-year-old Huntington record in the event with a leap of 24’6. He placed fourth last weekend at 22’3.

Leake was 13th in a field of 99 in the 400 run in a time of 50.52 seconds, Johnson was 18th in a field of 160 in the 200 dash in a time of 22.28 seconds, Kopstein was 30th in a field of 175 in the 800 run in a time of 2:03.15, McGuire was 54th in a field of 180 in the mile run in a time of 4:43.40, and Vernon Alexander was 15th in a field of 94 in shot put with a throw of 46’1 feet.

Huntington’s second-place team finish is an improvement over last year’s performance, when the Blue Devils placed eighth with 18 points.

— Huntington athletics

Huntington’s 4x400-meter relay team won the state championships for the second straight year. Photo from Huntington athletics

Forget about being county and state champions, the Huntington boys’ winter track 4×400-meter relay team raced a nation-best 3 minutes, 16.09 seconds at the New Balance Nationals Indoor.

At the Armory in Manhattan, the team topped its previous best mark for the third fastest time ever in New York, and ninth fastest ever nationally. The time also set a new Suffolk County record.

Kyree Johnson ran his quarter in 48.887 seconds, Shane McGuire finished in 49.701 and Lawrence Leake finished the third leg in 49.802, to put the Blue Devils in a position to win. And Infinite Tucker made it happen, turning in a blistering-fast time of 47.708 seconds on the fourth and final leg.

“We won because of hard work and dedication,” Johnson said. “We did it as a family and as a team.”

track_nb_nationals_3wHuntington’s time was slightly more than one second off the fastest mark ever at the New Balance Indoor Nationals and three seconds off the national record of 3:13.06 set by North Carolina’s New Bern High School in 2009.

Huntington’s 1600 sprint medley relay team captured All-American honors as well. Johnson, Leake, McGuire and Tucker finished in a time of 3:30.94 to place sixth in a strong field of 22 behind elite teams from Virginia, Michigan, Louisiana, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Blue Devils All-American performance marks a new Suffolk County record in the event and is the fastest time in New York State this year.

Johnson and Leake ran the first two legs consisting of 200 meters each, followed by Tucker handling the third leg of 400 and McGuire running the anchor leg of 800.

The school also finished 11th in a field of 45 in the 4×200 relay. The squad’s time of 1:29.68 tied the Suffolk record set by Amityville in 2003. Johnson, Leake, Tucker and Exzayvian Crowell ran the race for the Blue Devils.

“What can you say about these four young men that have been blessed with a rare talent?” Huntington’s head coach Ron Wilson asked of his 4×400 relay team. “They gave this race everything they had and look at what they were able to accomplish. They have made our school and community proud and put Huntington track on the national map.”

Weeks prior, at the New York State Indoor Track & Field Championships at Cornell University, the Blue Devils kept Huntington track on the state map.

The quartet successfully defended its state title from last season with a time of 3:24.02, well off its previous season best before nationals, which was 3:17.36, notched in February at the Millrose Games, but it was still faster than any other relay team in New York.

“From the bus ride up, the only thought in my head was to win,” Johnson said. “Everything was strictly business from then until it was over. Coming home as a two-time state champion was definitely a major goal, but I also wanted to win the 55-meter dash because it was all up to me in that race. After coming in a close second in the 55, I knew I had to let go of that and give all my focus to the 4×400 relay. Seeing your team cross the finish line first again at the state championships is one of the best feelings around.”

Johnson was nipped by 1/100th of a second, clocking in a 6.40 just behind Rochester’s Wilson Magnet senior Kelly Brown.

Johnson wasn’t the only Blue Devil that Brown challenged.

Brown also raced Tucker to try and claim gold. This time, the Blue Devils came out on top, as Tucker won a gold medal in the 55-meter hurdles after clipping the final hurdle and sending it flying before he dove over the finish line. He outraced Brown by 2/1000ths of a second, and his time of 7.38 was seconds off his best of the winter, but good enough for the crown.

Tucker also claimed a silver medal in the long jump. Seeded sixth, the Blue Devils star leaped 23-01.75 feet on his fifth and final jump to finish behind Beacon senior Terrel Davis, who won by soaring 23-07.00 feet.

“Individually we are like a drop of water, but together we are an ocean,” Tucker said. “If there’s one thing that I learned from Coach Wilson and [assistant coach Eli] Acosta, it’s that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

During a March 21 board of education meeting, Superintendent Jim Polansky recognized the boys’ track team for all of its success.

“These kids continue to perform at the highest of levels,” he said. “What really makes us excited about the four of them, if you listen to the interview following the race, what they have to say about all of their experiences in Huntington and their coaches and the staff and just the humility they display, it really makes it all worthwhile.”

With multiple medals around their necks, it’s been worthwhile for the Blue Devils, too.

Alex Petroski contributed reporting.

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Huntington’s 4x400 relay state championship team of Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake, Infinite Tucker and Exzayvian Crowell continue to reach new heights. Photo by Darin Reed

Huntington boys’ track and field head coach Ron Wilson had an idea that he could have a strong team for the 2015-16 winter season, but the success they’ve enjoyed was beyond even his expectations.

“We knew that we had quite a few kids returning this season, which would put us at the forefront in Suffolk County,” Wilson said. “We didn’t know that we would be one of the top teams in the state of New York.”

That’s exactly what the Blue Devils were this winter: one of the most electrifying track and field squads in the state. The team is led by their “Fantastic Four,” the nickname given to Huntington’s state champion 4×400-meter relay team from last winter. All four members returned this year. Infinite Tucker, Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake and Exzayvian Crowell captured numerous state, county, league and Long Island accolades as a team and individually last year, and this year hasn’t been much different.

The team took the gold in the 4×400 relay at the Suffolk County Championships on Jan. 31 at the Suffolk County Community College campus in Brentwood. They also qualified for Nationals, which will take place on March 11 in New York City. Huntington’s 4×200 relay team also qualified, as did Tucker and Johnson in numerous individual events.

Wilson said it hit him how special this team was at a meet on Jan. 16 at the Molloy Stanner Games at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory in Manhattan.

“We were grooving,” Wilson said with a hearty laugh. On that Saturday in Manhattan, Tucker ran the best time in the country for the winter season in the 600 dash, and Johnson set the mark nationally for the 300 dash, while Leake posted the fourth-best time of the year in the 300. The times were announced to a standing ovation, according to Wilson.

Wilson said one of the biggest surprises of the season was Leake’s performance.

“My time in the 300, I was very proud of,” Leake said.

Johnson indicated that he could tell fairly early on how special the Blue Devils might be.

“Around the first couple of meets, everybody started to show how good they are and the ability they had,” Johnson said.

Johnson credited advice from his older brother Tyreke, who also ran track at Huntington, as being helpful in keeping his competitive edge, despite enormous success.

“The number one thing is to remain humble and don’t look at anybody like they’re not as good as you,” Johnson said. “I have to work my hardest.”

Wilson has been a part of some special teams at Huntington in his nine years leading the high school squad. He coached in the district on the junior high level from 1998 to 2007, when he became an assistant for the high school team under Dennis Walker. Wilson was also a member of the team in 1993 and 1994, when he attended Huntington.

“I didn’t run; I was a thrower,” Wilson said. “I was too big to run.”

The head coach didn’t hesitate for a second when trying to compare this Blue Devils’ team to the numerous versions that he’d had a hand in previously.

“This is by far the best team that I’ve coached,” he said.

Assistant coach Eli Acosta, who said this is his 49th year in the Long Island track and field world, reiterated Wilson’s assessment of the team.

“I can say that this is the best track and field that I’ve ever coached in terms of talent,” Acosta said. “We have very talented athletes, that goes without saying. They also work quite hard.”

Wilson said his team is focused and driven, without being too uptight.

“It’s a well-rounded team,” he said. “They’re nice boys. They can be silly at times, but once they get on the track, it’s always business.”

Tucker and Johnson are undoubtedly the team’s most talented members, though the role of leadership is a shared duty among the entire roster, according to Wilson.

“It’s kind of fun,” Tucker said of his relationship with Johnson. “It’s like running with your brother.”

Acosta admitted that he and Wilson pit Johnson and Tucker against each other in certain events and in practice as a tactic to motivate the star athletes.

“They pick each other up,” Wilson said. “It’s more of the team that leads us, that drives our success, especially amongst our relay team.”

Despite their success, Wilson said he hasn’t seen any lull in the team’s drive or motivation.

“When these kids are able to stay humble and stay low, they’re always able to seek improvement,” Wilson said. “If the competition is not there, you have to compete against yourself.”

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Huntington's Douglas Taylor rushes through traffic. File photo by Darin Reed

The Huntington football team lost little time getting down to business on Sunday afternoon, scoring on the second play from scrimmage and going on to topple previously undefeated Deer Park on its home field, 26-6.

Infinite Tucker gains yards for Huntington. File photo by Darin Reed
Infinite Tucker gains yards for Huntington. File photo by Darin Reed

Infinite Tucker took the handoff from quarterback Will Wright and scooted 36 yards for the opening touchdown, setting the game’s tone. Tucker scored again on a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter after breaking a long run two plays earlier. A few minutes later, Wright hit Exzayvian Crowell on a slant pattern over the middle and the track star sprinted 68 yards to the corner of the end zone for Huntington’s third touchdown of the first half.

Sandwiched in between the Blue Devils’ second and third touchdowns was a 41-yard touchdown run by Deer Park, which helped keep the Falcons in the game until late in the fourth quarter. Douglas Taylor scored Huntington’s fourth and final touchdown of the day on a 6-yard run.

“We stepped up our level of play today and did a lot of things right,” Huntington head coach Steve Muller said. “Our guys played hard and with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They had their heads in the game.”

It was a productive day for Tucker, who rushed 13 times for 127 yards. The running back also recorded a team-high 11 tackles. Taylor tallied 50 yards on 11 carries. Wright completed two of four passes for 76 yards.

Huntington quarterback Will Wright passes the ball in a previous contest. File photo by Darin Reed
Huntington quarterback Will Wright passes the ball in a previous contest. File photo by Darin Reed

Huntington’s defense limited Deer Park to just 51 yards of total offense in the second half. Seven Blue Devils made tackles that resulted in a loss for the Falcons. Max Polster had nine tackles on the day, including one for a loss.

Playing a rare Sunday game after a fierce storm postponed Friday night’s contest, the Blue Devils needed a victory badly to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Huntington led at halftime, 20-6 and was never seriously threatened, despite a few ill-timed penalties. The victory improved the Blue Devils’ record to 2-3, while the loss dropped Deer Park to 4-1.

Huntington plays at Centereach on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Blue Devils will look to even their record at 3-3. Centereach (3-2) fell on Saturday to West Islip, 41-0.

“We need a good practice week to get ready for Centereach,” Muller said. “There is always a lot of things to work on. We are looking to improve every aspect of our play.”

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Gorgeous weather and a huge crowd set the stage for a Homecoming Day at Huntington Saturday. The festivities capped off a week that included spirit days, a pep rally, float building and an evening dance in the school gym.

Hundreds of students of all ages turned out for a midday parade through the heart of the village and up New York Ave., accompanied by district trustees and administrators, parents, teachers, family members and alumni. The Blue Devils marching band played along the way, while its booming sounds drew folks out of shops.

“Homecoming in Huntington is a very special thing,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “It’s a whole community event that brings everyone together. You can feel a true sense of Blue Devils pride throughout the week leading up to the big game. It’s a great experience.”

A crowd of nearly 2,000 watched the Huntington football team battle Suffolk County Division II top-seeded Half Hollow Hills West on Saturday following the parade. The Blue Devils scored first, when senior wide receiver Jahmik Curry received a 10-yard pass from senior quarterback Will Wright and the kick after failed, to raise the hopes of fans, and the teams were tied in the third, 14-14, before the Colts rallied for a 28-20 victory.

Halftime of the football game saw performances by the marching band and the Highsteppers. Royal Court members Vincent Fredericks, Spencer Pashkin, Infinite Tucker, Dan Mollitor, Sarah Fernandez, Cassandra Berwick, Holly LoTurco and Alexandra Berwick were introduced to the crowd before Mollitor and Alexandra Berwick were crowned homecoming king and queen.

“It’s an absolute honor to be named homecoming king by my class,” Mollitor said. “I’ve shared so many incredible moments with them and couldn’t ask to graduate with a better group of people. It will be sad to leave at the end of June. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Huntington High School.”

Senior running back Doug Taylor scored on a 50-yard run for the second touchdown of the day, and senior wide receiver Infinite Tucker received a pass from Wright to complete the 2-point conversion in the third. Half Hollow Hills West returned an interception 31 yards for the score, and senior wide receiver Exzayvian Crowell scored on a 1-yard run and the extra-point attempt was missed, bringing the final score to 28-20.

“It was just a beautiful day featuring a fantastic turnout for a spirited parade,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Thank you to the many from all of our schools who participated. Our Blue Devils fought hard against a top county-ranked team and gained confidence in the process.”

All five runners medal at state championship

Infinite Tucker, a Huntington runner, leads the 400-meter hurdles pack at states. Photo from Huntington athletics

Infinite Tucker won a pair of gold medals to lead the Huntington boys’ track and field team to an impressive showing at the state championships in Albany last weekend.

Huntington's Infinite Tucker poses with his medals. Photo from Huntington athletics
Huntington’s Infinite Tucker poses with his medals. Photo from Huntington athletics

Tucker won a pair of 400-meter intermediate hurdles races to capture the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and State Federation titles.

“I thought that I was going to win because I didn’t see anyone in front of me the whole race,” the junior said after the first of his performances Friday afternoon. “It wasn’t my best race ever, but I thought that I ran well.”

Tucker’s time of 52.29 seconds in the federation finals ranks him No. 2 in the state and No. 3 in the country this spring.

He plans to compete in the event one more time this season at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina this week.

Huntington sophomore Kyree Johnson fared well in the 400 dash against a field filled with exceptional athletes. He ran against five seniors in the State Federation finals and finished third in 49.20 seconds. A day earlier, the runner earned a fourth place medal in the NYSPHSAA final. The State Federation races include the top public school, New York City/PSAL and private and parochial school athletes.

Huntington's Kyree Johnson, Scott Gulizio, Infinite Tucker and Shane McGuire won the silver medal in the federation’s 4x400 relay. Photo from Huntington athletics
Huntington’s Kyree Johnson, Scott Gulizio, Infinite Tucker and Shane McGuire won the silver medal in the federation’s 4×400 relay. Photo from Huntington athletics

Johnson’s best time of 48.5 seconds in the 400 dash this spring ranks him No. 1 among all New York sophomores. He too will be racing at nationals.

The long weekend ended on a high note when the Blue Devils’ 4×400 relay won a silver medal in the State Federation race, crossing the finish line in 3 minutes, 16.73 seconds, finishing behind Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School. Huntington outraced Newburgh, who had won the NYSPHSAA title only one day earlier.

“What an awesome race,” Huntington head coach Ron Wilson said of the relay. “You just had to be there to witness such excitement. The crowd of people gathered at their feet as the eight remaining young men grabbed the batons.”

Junior Exzayvian Crowell ran with the Blue Devils relay on Friday for the state title, where the team earned a fourth-place finish. Sophomore Shane McGuire took Crowell’s place for Saturday’s State Federation finals, joining Johnson, Tucker and senior Scott Gulizio on the track.

“Shane gave everything he had on the first leg and ran a personal best of 51.4,” Wilson said. “He almost collapsed trying to pass the baton to Scotty Gulizio, who split 49.2, which is good. Gulizio passed to Kyree Johnson who ran a 48.7 split and brought us to third. When our anchor, Infinite Tucker, got the baton, he took off like a jet. He passed the Newburgh anchor, who had won the state crown just the day before. He then set his eyes on the state leader, Boys and Girls, who was about 20 meters ahead of the rest of the field.”

Huntington's Kyree Johnson poses with his medals. Photo from Huntington athletics
Huntington’s Kyree Johnson poses with his medals. Photo from Huntington athletics

The Boys and Girls anchor, Richard Rose had just won the 400 dash in a sizzling 47.11 seconds, so it was a difficult assignment for Tucker to run him down, but the athlete gave it his all, splitting 47.435 seconds, falling just short of first place. Huntington’s time is a new school record and the second best in the state this spring. It’s also the second fastest in Suffolk, ever. Amityville set the record of 3:16.66 in 2002.

“We were just a bit shy of the Section XI record, but we will have one more crack at it at the nationals,” Wilson said.

All five Huntington athletes medaled at the state championships, with Crowell earning one in the NYSPHSAA 4×400 relay race and McGuire getting a silver medal in the State Federation finals. Gulizio won a pair of medals. Johnson and Tucker won four medals each.

“It was an exhausting weekend,” Wilson said, “but well worth it.”