Suzie Petryk runs with a steely determination that few can match. The senior captured All-State honors in two events to pace Huntington girls at the New York State Track & Field Championships at the University at Albany last weekend.
Petryk finished fourth in the 2,000-meter steeplechase and 13th in the 800 run. She also ran on the Blue Devils’ 4×800 relay that took 10th place.
“It was absolutely amazing to be able to run at states with my teammates,” Petryk said. “We have all worked so hard and I really could not have asked for a better way to end my last high school track season.”
The two-day meet saw a string of sensational performances by the top athletes from across the state. In the midst of a magical season, Huntington went toe-to-toe with New York’s best and impressed its opponents.
On the first day of the championships, Petryk went out very aggressive in the 800, hitting the first 400 meters faster than she has in any 800 race. Her fifth place finish came against an extremely talented field.
Saturday saw Petryk back on the track early in the morning. The runner turned in a great effort in the race, which featured the four best athletes in the event in the country going head-to-head. The Blue Devils star finished fourth in 6 minutes, 59 seconds to earn All-State and All-Federation honors. The Federation includes New York City/PSAL, private and parochial schools.
Huntington’s 4×800 relay team consisted of Petryk, Nicole Abbondandelo, Alexandra Koumas and Katie Nugent.
“They ran aggressive with some of the best teams in the state,” Huntington head coach Shawn Anderson said. “They only ran a few seconds off their best, going 9:19. It really was a nice way to end the weekend. Nicole had a huge personal best of 2:19.8 to lead it off.”
“It was a great experience and I was privileged to have had the opportunity to race with my teammates,” said Abbondandelo, a freshman who has quickly risen to be one of Suffolk’s top runners.
Koumas, a junior who is one of the county’s top hurdlers, never fails to give the relay team her best effort.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better than to have shared this experience with my teammates, especially Katie and Suzie in their senior year,” she said. “It’s something I will never forget.”
Nugent, who only joined the track program two years ago after earlier playing lacrosse, became one of Huntington’s key athletes, excelling in numerous events.
“This was a really fun experience,” Nugent said. “Even though I only ran for about two minutes, every part of the trip was memorable … and spending time with my teammates is something I will never forget.”
Huntington won league and Suffolk Division II titles this spring and Anderson sees last weekend’s state championships as another important step for the program.
“Overall, it was a great experience; a first for them all,” Anderson said of the weekend in Albany. “Sometimes gearing up mentally and trying to perform under the big stage can take its toll, but the girls handled it well. The team had a blast and with one week of training this week, nationals should be an amazing experience as well.”
Petryk will compete in the steeplechase at the nationals.
“This time she will be fresh because it’s her first race,” Anderson said. The Blue Devils’ distance medley and 4×400 relay teams will also be competing.
This version corrects Suzie Petryk’s placement in the 800-meter at states.