By Bill Landon
These type of Mustangs like to be pushed.
The Mount Sinai track and field team feeds off the pressure in practice — touting it as one of the main reasons the boys have been able to stay undefeated.
“We just have guys that work hard every day,” Sean Higgins said. “The coaches push us, and push us hard. They push us until we’re great.”
The junior was off to the races in a 102-34 win over visiting Southampton May 2, coming first in the 800-meter run and 1,600, and placing second in the 3,200. He also competed in the 4×400 relay.
His top finish was 5 minutes, 20 seconds in the mile.
“It’s not my best,” he said. “So we’ve got to get back to work and train that much harder.”
Junior Kenneth Wei on the other hand had two bests. He broke the school record in the long jump with 21-10.75 jump and triple jump with a 43-10.5 leap. He also finished first in the 110 high hurdles.
Head coach Lee Markowitz said Wei, who is at the top of his class, is the most coachable athlete he’s ever worked with, and defines what a scholar athlete is.
“Like my coaches say, it’s who wants it more,” Wei said. “It’s the desire to compete — to go up against the best of the best. It’s what drives us to keep going.”
Markowitz said Ryan Wilson is another junior who helps round out a strong, dedicated All-County class. Wilson is noted by his coach for his versatility.
“Ryan is a gifted distance runner who is always willing to help the team,” the coach said. “He excels in both the 400 and 800 events and is always ready to jump into the 1,600 or relay event if it means securing a victory for the team.”
Jack Pilon, one of seven seniors on a roster of nearly 60, said his 5-0 Mustangs benefit greatly from having so many tools in the toolbox.
“We have the depth,” he said. “Our sixth, seventh and eighth milers, they’re the ones out here with us every day doing the same amount of work, so I think that when other teams compete with us it’s difficult to keep up. We’ve got 10 guys that can go under five minutes in the mile — it’s hard to [compete] with that.”
Wilson also flaunted his team’s dedication while backing up his coach’s claim of his thirst for competition.
“Everyone comes to work and they train hard every day — they’re coming for their own reasons, whether it’s to get ready for another sport or to improve their best times,” he said. “We’re all trying to build the best program we’ve ever had. We have a strong program, but we’re also building for the future.”
Mount Sinai, now 5-0, remains atop the League VII leaderboard with one meet remaining. With the win over Southampton, the Mustangs have repeated nabbing indoor and outdoor league titles for the second straight school year. Mount Sinai is currently one win ahead of Elwood-John Glenn (4-1) and faces its rival May 8 at 4 p.m. for sole possession of the crown.
Markowitz said the practice atmosphere is contagious, as old and young push one another to build the future Wilson was talking about.
“It’s the work ethic — there’s zero complaining,” he said. “When they’re successful, it confirms for them that when we work hard, we win. We have a group, particularly of juniors, who if we tell them ‘You’ve got to run through a brick wall,’ they’ll say, ‘Ok.’”