By Clayton Collier
The Comsewogue boys’ track and field program added to an already banner year this past weekend, breaking a pair of school records as six athletes placed at divisionals as the host team.
Having already broken the 100-, 200-, 400- and 1×400-meter relay records this season, the Warriors tacked on to their historic season, taking the 800 and 4×400 relays school records Friday.
Head coach Brad Posnanski, currently in his 19th season at the helm of the program, said this year’s squad has been one of the best teams he has coached at Comsewogue.
“This was probably the best season we’ve had in 12 years,” said Posnanski, whose team will head to state qualifiers at Port Jefferson this coming weekend.
Seniors Austin Sperl and Conner Holroyd, as well as juniors Aidan Reindl and Ivan Almanzar, clocked in at a school record 3 minutes, 23.58 seconds, passing the previous mark by just under a second and taking third in the divisional race.
In the 800, Sperl’s record time of 1:55.73 eclipsed the previous school mark by one-hundredth of a second, taking second place in the divisional meet. In addition to the 4×400 record that the All-State runner anchored, Sperl also holds the school record in the 400 and was part of the record-breaking 4×100 team.
Sperl said the 800 record meant a great deal to him because he has been running the event since eighth grade.
“I was really excited because I didn’t think I got it,” he said. “Then, when I made it to the line, my coach told me. It was sweet. That was probably my favorite school record that I got.”
With a senior core consisting of Sperl, Holroyd, shot-putter Jason Hank, 4×100 team member and hurdler Arman Hezarkhani, and 800-runner Nick Lepore, it was a bittersweet final home meet.
“It was very emotional,” said Hezarkhani, who was sick that day and almost didn’t participate in the meet. “I remember when I was on the blocks for the 400 hurdles; that just kept going through my head: ‘This is the last race, this is the last race.’ It was an awesome way to end my high school career. Not end — almost end it.”
Hezarkhani placed fourth in the 400 hurdles. Also placing were Reindl, who took fifth in the triple jump, and junior Gavin Holroyd, who placed seventh in discus.
Hezarkhani and Sperl will be the two seniors continuing their track careers into college. Sperl, who Posnanski described as “one of the top runners” he’s coached, is headed to the University at Albany this fall. Hezarkhani will attend Carnegie Mellon University, a place that he feels will fulfill his various needs.
“I’ve always liked to balance academics and athletics,” he said. “I think I will be able to maintain my excellence in both there.”
Sperl’s mother, Donna, credits the coaching staff for the team’s success, saying the mix between Posnanski and assistant coach Mike Cohen is a winning formula.
“Coach Cohen is very personable, very outgoing and jokes around with them a lot, so it’s a good balance,” she said. “[Posnanski] is very strict and he demands a lot out of them physically, but he’s very quick to text them or call them to tell them ‘good job.’”
Looking ahead toward next year, Comsewogue will return a junior who has already made waves. Almanzar holds the school record in the 100 and 200, with times of 10.9 and 22.2, respectively, and was a member of the record-breaking 4×100 squad. Also among the junior returners are Reindl, Gavin Holroyd and Alex Velasquez; the latter will return after sitting out the majority of this past season with an injury.
Hezarkhani said that although this season is not finished yet, he is confident in next year’s team’s abilities.
“I think the team is going to be strong,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, a lot of hard workers, and that is just what it comes down to, really.”