On Saturday, March 3, Joshua Green made history.
The Shelter Island School senior became the Island’s first New York Winter Track State Champion.
Joshua was a key member of the winning four-person distance medley relay team at the championships held at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, bringing together public and private high schools statewide for a winner take-all showdown.
The distance medley relay is comprised of four legs of 1,000 meters, 200 meters, 600 meters and 1,600 meters. Joshua was chosen by Section XI (Suffolk County public high schools) to run the 1,000 meter leg, which has been his strength all season.
He teamed up with Patchogue-Medford’s Zachary Hicks running the 200 meter leg, Sachem East’s Adriel Robinson running the 600 meter leg and Patchogue-Medford’s Carlos Santos running the 1600 meter anchor leg.
Before the race, Joshua said he was “pretty nervous and quiet — quiet because I was running the first leg of the race and I wanted to leave my team in a good position when I handed off the baton.”
There were 11 teams in the race and a lot of pushing and shoving from the starting gun to get good positioning, and Joshua fought through the crowded field and delivered on his race plan by leaving his team in third place.
After handing off the baton, Joshua watched his teammates battle to a second place position through the second and third legs of the race. On the first turn immediately after the hand off for the final 1,600 meter leg, the leading team’s runner cut the inside of the track too closely, stepped onto the inside rail and fell down, putting Section XI in the lead. Section XI’s anchor leg, Santos, took off and was outrunning the field by 40 meters with one lap to the finish.
At this, Joshua said the whole team was “freaking out because we realized that we could actually win this.” The second and third place teams kicked hard in the last lap, making up ground, but Santos beat them to the finish line with a team time of 8:54.11 minutes, one second ahead of the second place team.
The Section XI team was crowned both state champions by New York State Public High School Athletic Association for besting all the public school teams, and crowned state champions by the New York State Federation which includes all athletes statewide.
When asked about his preparations during the season, Joshua said he continued to work hard beginning with cross country season and started taking his races more seriously, which included, he said, with a smile, not staying up late playing video games the night before races.
Coach Toby Green, the varsity boys winter track coach, said the “Section XI team did a great job. They all linked up and did what they needed to do. Joshua’s come a long way since 7th grade and is deserving of his State Champion title. He’s led the Shelter Island boys team for four years through all the workouts, day in and day out. I am very proud of him.”
Shelter Island Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio, a hands-on individual who is an avid supporter of all our school’s sports, attended the championships, and said, “Congratulations to Joshua and his Section XI teammates. To win both titles is an amazing accomplishment and a result of the hard work and effort that Joshua has put into his sport. I am very proud of him and fortunate to have been there to witness him make Shelter Island School history.”
Senior year certainly has been Joshua’s year. This year he earned All-County honors in cross country, All-State honors in winter track and now has two winter track state championship titles added to his running resume.
What’s next? Joshua plans on pursuing mechanical engineering in college and is currently considering SUNY-Farmingdale, the University of New Haven and SUNY-Cortlandt.
Before heading off to college next year, he said one of his goals is to break the school’s 400-meter outdoor record, 52.2 seconds, set by Marshall McLean in 1991. And the good news is that he will have opportunities to do that, now that the school has a varsity spring track program.