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Smithtown High School East

By Steven Zaitz

The middle of January assuredly brings two things to Suffolk County – unbearably cold temperatures and the Section XI Winter Track League Championships on the Brentwood campus of Suffolk Community College.

From Friday night to Sunday evening, Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena was packed to the rafters with athletes from over 50 high schools across the county on both the boys and girls sides.

In League II, Commack and Smithtown East both had standout performances in the arts and sciences of running, jumping, and throwing. They competed against the likes of the mighty Connetquot, who finished in the top spot for the boys and second for the girls, Bay Shore, who were among the top five overall for both boys and girls, North Babylon, whose girls team took first place in the league, and of course archenemy to both, the always-dangerous Northport.

The Commack girls finished in fourth place overall with many noteworthy performances. The 4×400 relay was the team’s crowning achievement by winning the event by more than five seconds. With a time of 4:20.75, the Lady Cougar foursome Alexandra Pulcini, Hailey Torres, Nicole Bransfield, and Kate Hearns bested second-place Connetquot, whose quartet ran a 4:25.82.

Junior Kathryn Vidulich was best in the triple jump, reaching 35 feet. Senior Sophia Toepfer was second in the long jump with a leap of 16”10’, besting her teammate Vidulich, who came in third, by only a quarter of an inch. Toepfer was third in the 300-meter dash and senior Nicole Bransfield was third in the 55-meter hurdles.

The Bulls of Smithtown East were led by freshmen Rayshelle Brown, who was second, ahead of Bransfield, in the 55-meter hurdles at 8.84 seconds and senior Sarah Wisnieski, who was second in the 1000-meters and fifth in the 1500. Brown broke the school record by .003, a record that stood for six years. Brooke Rosenberg and Annabelle Willie crossed the finish line almost simultaneously in the 600-meter run. Rosenberg’s time was 1:48.78 and Willie’s was 1:48.90, good for third and fourth respectively.

Competing on Sunday, the Commack Boys achieved second place overall, behind Connetquot. The Cougars saw a well-diversified showing from runners, jumpers, and throwers. 

Nicholas Vought, a senior, won the 300-meter dash with a blazing time of 36.51. Vought finished second to Northport star sprinter Vito LaRosa in the 55-meter dash with a 6.62. LaRosa clocked in at 6.50. Commack’s 4×800 relay team bested Northport with a time of 8:30.24, capturing first place. The quartet was made up of Alex Walsh, Dylan Manning, Aidan Piracci, and Sam Byrd. The anchorman Byrd, a senior, had a very busy day as he also placed second in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600. 

I have to give credit to my grandmother because she is an amazing cook, and she made a great dinner of pot roast and biscuits last night,” Byrd said. “Also, I took it pretty easy this week knowing that a lot of us were going to be doubling and tripling up, so I was ready to run. I was happy to win the [4×800] but I wish it was enough to catch Connetquot for the league title.”

Andrew Riggs finished in second place in the 55-meter hurdles for Commack, with a time of 8.12.

Kaden Jacques and Daniel Pagan both jumped to a height of 5’8” and were awarded third and fourth respectively, as Pagan snagged second in the long jump with a flight of 20-8. Anthony Pisciotta was fourth in shot put with a throw of 42-4.75.

The Smithtown East Bulls Braden McCormick jumped to glory, capturing first place in the high jump at 6’5”. It was the highest jump of the day by a full five inches and after clearing the bar, McCormick, joined by his teammates, set off a wild, fist-pumping celebration that rocked the arena. With this giant leap, McCormick qualifies for the New Balance Indoor Nationals in Boston later this year. 

“It felt great clearing six foot five,” said McCormick. “I never thought I’d be jumping this high since only last spring I was having trouble clearing five feet ten. I’ve been lifting a lot more this season and the coaches on this team have really helped me get to the next level.”

Elsewhere for the Bulls, Kaelen Sue-Kam-Ling was third in the long jump competition with a leap of 20-2.5. Sue-Kam-Ling and his three teammates Josh Bobadilla, Jason Triolo, and Nicholas Piccoli finished fourth in the 4×200-meter relay to round out the activities for the weekend in League II.

The Suffolk County championships are up next for these track stars, and those meets will be held over the first weekend in February at the same venue.

Smithtown East High School hosted the 11th annual Smithtown Craft & Gift Fair from Dec. 2-3.

Over 100 vendors assembled in the school gymnasium, displaying handcrafted work and related gift items. Those in attendance were greeted with a plethora of options from jewelry, decorative wreaths, candy, organic soaps and more.

— Photos by Steven Zaitz

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Smithtown Robotics team joins forces with SCOPE for summer program. Photo courtesy SCSD

For the first time, the Smithtown Robotics Program has combined with SCOPE Education Services to host a summer robotics enrichment program.

Held at Smithtown High School East, the program is designed for students interested and eager to learn about the Smithtown Robotics Program, allowing them to become familiar with the robotic engineering process while strengthening the foundational skills necessary for future robotics and coding experiences.

Approximately 50 students have signed up for the program.

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File photo

In a message to members of the Smithtown High School East community, school officials notified families that on the afternoon of March 29 the facility was evacuated.

In the message, school officials said,  “Late this afternoon it was reported that graffiti was identified in one of our restrooms that could be interpreted as a nonspecific threat. In an abundance of caution and in conjunction with the recommendation of the Suffolk County Police Department, our facility was evacuated.”

Students were released as soon as possible, according to the message, and school activities were canceled. SCPD was evaluating the safety and security of the high school, and students are not permitted to return inside the building until the police department has given the district the appropriate clearance.

According to SCPD, Fourth Precinct Crime Section officers were investigating the incident after receiving a call at 1:17 p.m. about the graffiti.

Later in the day, Principal Robert Rose notified members of the Smithtown High School East community that SCPD determined that there was “no credible or specific threat to our school community at this time.”

“As is always the case, district administration, its security staff and the SCPD have worked together to ensure the collective safety of our school community,” Rose wrote. “While I know some were frustrated by a lack of information at the time of the evacuation, please know that our first priority is the immediate safety of our students and staff and collaborating with the SCPD to ensure that safety. We certainly understand and agree that notification to parents is also a priority and we will look into ways to get information to you quicker in the future.”

Students were instructed to return to school Thursday, March 30, and to return to the classrooms they left their belongings Wednesdays before reporting to their first period.

Rose wrote that if the SCPD determines “that a threat was made, an arrest will be made regardless of the
intention of the person who made the threat.”




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The Patriots of Ward Melville edged ahead of Smithtown East from the opening tip-off and never took their foot off the gas to keep the Bulls at bay to ink a 67-54 win at home Dec. 17.  

Ben Haug led the Bulls with six field goals, a triple and four from the line for 19 points, teammates Dominic Galati netted 10 and Niko Skartsiaris banked 8. 

Ward Melville senior Dylan Moore shared the top of the scoring chart with Devin Lynch, both scoring 12 points apiece followed by junior Tyler Jean-Noel who scored 11 with Lorenzo Beaton netting 10 along with 13 rebounds in the Division II contest.

The win lifts the Patriots to 4-1, and the Bulls, suffering their first loss of this early season, drop to 5-1.  

Both teams retake the court with home games Dec. 20, where Smithtown East hosts Newfield at 5:15 p.m. and the Patriots take on Bellport at 4:15 p.m.

The Smithtown East Bulls managed to keep the Comsewogue Warriors at bay through 16 minutes of play, protecting a three-point lead going into the locker room in a non-league matchup on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The Warriors rallied in the second half, tying the game at 33-all at the 4 minute, 53 seconds mark of the third quarter. They then took their first lead of the game to open the final eight minutes of play. 

Tied at 50-50 with 34 seconds left in regulation, both teams traded points at the free throw line when Smithtown East senior Ben Haug sank both of his shots with eight seconds left. The Bulls would edge out Comsewogue, 54-50, for the final score.  

Haug led his team in scoring with 27 points, and teammate Dominic Galati banked 15. 

Comsewogue’s Chris Beverly led the Warriors with 14, with teammates Austin Nesbitt netting 13, and Hayden Morris Gray notching 12. 

The Bulls are back in action Thursday, Dec. 1, with a road game against Hauppauge at 5:45 p.m., and the Warriors host William Floyd at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2.

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The threat of rain couldn’t damper the spirit of students and faculty at Smithtown High School East for the Oct. 1 homecoming game.

Students, families, staff and community members turned out to cheer on the East football team as the Bulls faced off against Connetquot.

The football teams’ offense and defense were well-matched, but the Bulls rally fell short, falling 13-7.

The halftime show featured a performance by the East Whisperettes kickline followed by the homecoming court to announce the 2022 king and queen — Jacob Wood and Alyssa DeGregory.

It was an extra special day for Jacob, who also celebrated his birthday on that day.

Seniors from Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West filled their schools’ football fields as students for the last time on Thursday, June 23.

Smithtown East’s commencement ceremony celebrated the graduation of 401 students and featured the district’s Assistant Superintendent Kevin Simmons, who was the principal at East for 3 1/2 years before moving to the district office, as the keynote speaker.

The two student speakers were Aman Mistry, who was voted by fellow seniors as the honor speaker, and Trishaulla Kanhai, who is president of the Class Council.

At Smithtown West, 358 students received their diplomas. Superintendent Mark Secaur addressed the students. National Honor Society President Tyler Nagosky was chosen by his classmates to speak at the ceremony and co-presidents Hunter Hayes and Madison Hilman also delivered speeches.

By Steven Zaitz
Northport defeated Smithtown East, 16-13, in the Suffolk County Class A Boys Lacrosse Championship game in a game that took place over the course of two days.
After a flash lightning storm struck at East Islip on June 1, the game was delayed for 30 minutes with Northport leading, 6-5.  After the officials restarted the game, Northport would outscore the Bulls, 7-2, but the weather would force yet another stoppage.  The game resumed June 2 with seven and a half minutes remaining, and despite a furious flurry of goals by the Red Bulls, Northport would hang on to win their second consecutive Suffolk County title.
Marcus Wertheim scored four goals and Brandon Marz three goals for Smithtown East.  Michael Meyer and Jacob Starcke scored four each for the Tigers, and Jack Deliberti would net three. The Tigers take on Port Washington for the Class A title on Saturday at Hofstra.

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Smithtown West sitting in second place in the League III standings — one game behind Half Hollow Hills East —hosted their crosstown neighbor Smithtown East who briefly led in the opening quarter. However, West was too much for their visitors closing out the game with a 63-32 victory Jan. 27.

Senior Nikki Mennella led the way for West with a three-pointer, seven field goals and two from the free throw line to top the scoring charts with 19 points. Laura Luikart followed with 15 points along with a dozen rebounds, and Karsyn Kondracki netted 12.

Smithtown East’s Angie Camarda banked 10 points, and teammate Jordan Townes scored nine. The loss drops Smithtown East to 3-10 while the win lifts Smithtown West to 11-1 in League, 15-1 overall, with four games remaining before post season play begins.