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.
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.
“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.”
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.”