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Island athletes surging toward winter championships

LAUREN GURNEY PHOTO Emma Gallagher in traffic during the 600 meter dash.
LAUREN GURNEY PHOTO Emma Gallagher in traffic during the 600 meter dash.

If you believe Punxsutawney Phil, there’s six more weeks of winter left. But there’s only a week of winter track left.

The championship season is underway. In order to qualify and compete at the small school championships, an athlete must have run one of the top 24 performances during the season. The best time run by each athlete is referred to as their seed time.

On January 27, the boys team traveled to Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus to compete at the Last Chance Meet against Suffolk County schools. It’s called the Last Chance Meet since it’s the last chance athletes can improve their seeds to qualify for the top 24 slots at the small school championships.

Freshman Tyler Gulluscio ran first in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:28.88 minutes, a personal record (PR). Freshman Jonas Kinsey and senior Jack Lang ran the 1,000-meter run next with times of 2:53.29 (PR) and 3:08.41 minutes, respectively. In the 300-meter dash, sophomore Alberto Morales, freshman Jason Green and junior Michael Payano ran times of 45.07, 54.43 (PR) and 40.24 seconds (PR).

Next up at the Last Chance Meet was the 600-meter dash, with senior Joshua Green, Payano and Morales running times of 1:26.79, 1:39.65 and 1:43.23 (PR) minutes respectively. Joshua Green took first place by running the fastest 600 of the meet. Last and certainly not least, in the individual events, sophomore Kal Lewis took first place in the 1,600 meter-run with a time of 4:27.82 and freshman Domingo Gil ran 5:25.40 (PR) minutes.

In the relay events, Payano, Kinsey, Lewis and Joshua Green ran the 4 by 200 meter in a time of 1:41.78, lowering the school record in the event. Jason Green, Gulluscio, Gil, and Lang ran the 4 by 400 meter in a time of 4:33.00.

On January 28, the girls team traveled to Staten Island for the Ocean Breeze Invitational for their last regular season meet. The Ocean Breeze track is a state-of-the-art facility built two years ago with hydraulically adjustable banked turns that attracts incredible talent. This meet included teams as far afield as Maryland and Massachusetts. The first event run by the girls was the 800-meter run. Seniors Lindsey Gallagher, Francesca Frasco and Isabella Sherman ran times of 2:26.14, 2:50.53 (PR) and 3:23.04 (PR) minutes, respectively. Sophomore Emma Gallagher ran the 800 in 2:32.78.

Freshman Lauren Gurney ran the 55-meter dash in 8.65 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 35.47 seconds. Lindsey Gallagher, Frasco and Emma Gallagher ran the 200-meter dash in 28.02, 34.62 and 29.76, respectively.

Based on their season’s best seed, numerous Indians qualified for the top 24 spots at the small school championships, including  Joshua Green, Lewis. Lindsey Gallagher and Emma Gallagher.
The girls small school team championship was held on February 1. Although our athletes qualified for multiple events, they didn’t run them all because there is not enough time to recover between the closely spaced races. Emma Gallagher chose to run the 600-meter run and did so in a time of 1:46.67 minutes (PR). Although Lindsey Gallagher qualified, she didn’t run due to illness.

BRYAN GALAGHER PHOTO Joshua Green closing in on the leader, running the 600-meters.
BRYAN GALLAGHER PHOTO Joshua Green closing in on the leader, running the 600-meters.

The boys small school team championship was held the following day. Joshua Green’s primary event was the 1,000-meter run where he took third place overall with a time of 2:41.28 minutes. Joshua Green also ran the 600-meter run in 1:33.43. Lewis ran the 1,600 meter run to a first place finish in 4:28.99. The boys capped the night off with a 4 by 400 meter relay powered by Payano, Kinsey, Lewis and Joshua Green. In a field of 15 teams, the Indians took an impressive third place with a time of 3:43.89.

The individual championships, also known as the State Qualifiers, is scheduled for Monday, February 12 at Brentwood. Whittling down the field even more, only the top 12 in each event qualify to run. It’s a major accomplishment to qualify for State Qualifiers because it includes athletes from all Suffolk County (small and large) public high schools.

Last year, we had one athlete qualify; Lindsey Gallagher in the 600-meter run and she has qualified in that event again. On the boys side, Joshua Green is currently ranked as the number 12 seed in the 1,000-meter run and Kal Lewis is ranked as the number 8 seed in both the 1,600- and 3,200 meter runs.

Unless an athlete at the large school championship on Monday, February 5 betters Joshua’s time, he’s in. And unless five athletes better Lewis’ time, he’ll also qualify for State Qualifiers.

Only the top three or four athletes at State Qualifiers, depending on the event, will compete at the New York State Public High School Championships the first week of March.