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Track teams compete at League Championships: Gulluscio and Napoles come home with medals

The girls and boys winter track teams competed for the League 5 Championships last weekend. Things seem to be getting back to normal for winter track, with some COVID protocols.

Last season, winter track and field was the first sport back after the pandemic lockdown. However, last year winter track, which usually competes at indoor track facilities, was forced to hold all meets outside during brutal January and February weather.

At the start of the season all systems were go until the day before the season opener when an insurance snafu between Suffolk Community College (SCCC) and Section 11, the governing body of Suffolk County high school sports, forced a halt to the start of the season and cancellation of the first meet.

The second meet was rescheduled and held outside in December at Mattituck High School. Finally, right before the holiday break, Section XI and SCCC solved the problem.

Last Saturday, Jan. 22, at the girls meet, the Islanders were led by sophomore Kaitlyn Gulluscio, who came in 4th place overall in League 5 in the shot put with a toss of 26 feet and 2 inches. Kaitlyn has improved an incredible 6 feet from her best throw last season.

Kaitlyn Gulluscio, preparing to compete in the shot put. (Credit: Kevin Barry)

Going into the meet, sophomore Sophie Clark, another one of the Shelter Island stellar shotput throwers, was seeded third in the league, but had to miss the meet. The good news is that Clark and Gulluscio have qualified for the Small School County Championship, to be completed on February 6.

Junior Andrea Napoles came back after competing in the 1,000 meters to walk her way to a medal by finishing in 6th place in the 1,500-meters race walk with a time of 11:10.

Andrea Napoles competing in the 1,000 meters.(Credit: Kevin Barry)

In the 55 meters, all three Islanders set their season best times, led by Ariana Carter in 8.61 seconds, Alex Burns, 8.77 seconds, and Danae Carter in 9.11 seconds. Senior Lily Page, easily one of the most improved runners on the team, ran her best race of the season in the 1,500 meters with a time of 6:32, good for 12th place.

In the long jump, cousins Olivia Overstreet and Danae Carter, without much training in that event (Shelter Island doesn’t have a long jumping pit), gave excellent performances. Overstreet leaped 12 feet and Carter 10 feet, 4 inches. Carter’s jump couldn’t be counted due to a toe over the line.

The 300 meters was another good event for the Islanders. Ariana Carter seeded 17th going into the meet, finished in 10th place overall with a time of 49.76. Alex Burns was not too far behind, running a personal best time of :52.08.

The girls finished up the meet by racing in the 4 by-200-meter-relay. The team of Ariana Carter, Olivia Overstreet, Danae Carter and anchored by Alex Burns, came in 10th place with a time of 2:15.1.

Danea Carter relay-running for Shelter Island. (Credit: Janine Mahoney)

In the boys meet Jan. 23, sophomore Leonardo Dougherty and junior Hayden Rylott just missed medaling in their events by one place. Dougherty, with a great run in the 55-meter dash finished in 7th place with a time of 7:26. Rylott ran his best race of the season in the 1,000 meters, coming in 7th place with a time of 3:14.

Shelter Island is well known for milers — in the most recent past with Kal Lewis, the Green brothers Joshua and Jason, Tyler Gulluscio, Lindsay Gallagher, Alexis Hamlet, Janelle Kraus, Cliff Clark, Kevin Dickerson, Tommy Thompson and Toby Green (Toby Green is the present head coach of the track team) all made names for themselves and the Island’s track program in this event.

The new young milers on the team continue to get better and better with every meet. James Durran and Jaxson Rylott achieved their personal best times Sunday with a time of 5:26 for James and 5:42 for Jaxson. Sophomore Noah Green had to scratch out of 1,600 meters due to a pulled muscle that he received at the basketball game the day before.

Freshman Nathan Cronin, showing so much potential all season, ran a great race in the 300 meters in 52.7 seconds. In his first year to the sport, and only senior on the team, Emmett Cummings brought leadership to the team and was willing to try any event, from the 300 meters to 1,600 meters. Luca Martinez and Robert Beckwith, also brand new to the sport of track and field, shined in the sprints and shot put and got better all season long.

Both coaches, Toby Green for the boys and Kevin Barry for the girls, could not have been more pleased with how their teams performed during this championship meet. Each athlete ran, threw and jumped their hearts out, and they left the track proud of their efforts.

Next up for the Islanders is the Section XI Small School County Championships on February 6. A “Small School” is a defined by the governing body as a school enrollment of 10th to 12th grade under 1,000 students. Shelter Island’s enrollment is 53.