Written by Kevin Cotter Friday, 02 July 2010 00:00
The Oyster Bay boys track team finally amassed enough successful efforts to dethrone Carle Place, a team that had won the Division Championship ten years in a row. The victory was truly a team effort, as the hurdlers, sprinters, jumpers and distance runners all contributed greatly to the victory. Oyster Bay earned 148 points, followed by Carle Place with 89 points.
Josh Grant and Jeffrey Gershon saved their best throws for the meet. Each man threw the shot put over 40 feet for the first time in their careers, Grant throwing 41 feet and 9 inches, while Gershon threw 40 feet and 8 inches. According to winter track coach Chris Weber, “The throws were unbelievable. Yet, they can easily improve by adding some height to their throws. They are capable of throwing anywhere from 43 to 45 feet.”
In the discus, Grant placed 2nd with a throw of 128 feet, while Gershon threw 119 feet and nine inches for 3rd place. “There has been a friendly competition between us all season.” said Grant, “It’s made us improve right up to this point. We’re glad we were able to help the team.”
The win may have been sweetest for junior Joe LaCorte, who had to wait a year to redeem himself after Oyster Bay’s second place finish last year. “I didn’t finish strong last year and it cost us crucial points. I couldn’t wait for this day.” LaCorte ran his personal best in the mile (4:42) and the two mile (10:32). He earned All-Division status in each, but more importantly finished each race by passing rival runners just before the finish line. Joe would later qualify for the New York State Championships in the steeple chase, along with Shane Giannetti.
Shane Giannetti was unbeaten throughout the day. He contributed 30 points by winning the mile and two mile, and anchoring the 4 x 800 relay run with Andrew Kenn, Eric Seaman and Joe LaCorte.
The 800 meter race may have been the most exciting running event of the day. Chris Murdock, Nick Gismondi, and Steven Tortora all positioned themselves for a strong finish. Tortora took a strong lead with 150 meters to go, pushing the pace for Murdock and Gismondi, both known for their strong finishes. The race was won by Murdock, with Gismondi placing 2nd and Tortora 4th with his personal best time of 2:08.1.
Senior Brian Dillmann, known for being a diversified track athlete was able to win the triple jump, and place third in the long jump. Brian would later qualify for the state meet in the pentathlon. Throughout his track career, Brian has taken part in just about every event in track and field. A three time qualifier and county champion in the pentathlon, a 2009 All Division pole vaulter and a former steeple chaser, Dillmann will be greatly missed. His ability to fill in gaps where he was needed most will be his legacy.
Other scorers for Oyster Bay included Nick Gismondi in the 400 meter hurdles, Chris Murdock (400m hurdles), Bobby Singh (100 meters, 200 meters), Daniel Eng (high jump and long jump) and Nick Mavros (3200 meters).
Chris Murdock and Shane Giannetti have had distinguished track careers at Oyster Bay High School, albeit quite different ones. Murdock is an All-County soccer player and Giannetti received a full scholarship to William Jewel University for tennis. Both athletes made history in what many would call their ‘second’ sport.
Murdock, running for his third season, was a member of the 4x800 record breaking relay team in 2008 and also anchored the relay that broke the record in 2009. He qualified for the state meet as a sophomore in 2008 in the 400 meter hurdles, hoping to one day break the school record in that event as well. This year he qualified in the 800 meter run, and nearly qualified for the 400 hurdles with a school record time of 58.0.
Murdoch again anchored a school record breaking relay team which, in spite of winning the Class A county meet, did not qualify for the state meet in Vestal, New York.
Shane Giannetti realized he had distance potential in his very first season as a winter track athlete, which happened to be this year. Under the coaching of Mr. Chris Weber, Shane enjoyed nearly instant success, earning All-County status in the 3000 meter race. By the end of the regular spring track season, Shane had become a division champion in the 1600m and 3200m races and a county champion in the 3000m steeple chase. He broke the steeple chase record in his very first attempt at the event and came within two-tenths of a second of breaking the school record in the 3200m (approximately two miles) with a time of 9:32.2. Although breaking the 10 minute barrier in either of these events seems impossible to most (Joe Jazwinski broke it in the 3200m by running 9:44 last year), Shane managed to do both.
Entering the state meet in Vestal, New York on June 10th, Shane and Chris were hoping to run the best times of their careers. Neither athlete had to compete more than once in a day, so there was no need for either athlete to ‘save’ themselves for another race. Both men left everything on the track, using every ounce of their strength and endurance. Each ran the best race of his life.
Giannetti, with an incredible time of 9:49.5, earned fifth place in Division 2, running 10 seconds faster than he ever had before. “I felt like my water jumps were a lot better,” the senior stated, “and although the hurdles were slick, I was able to move over them quickly enough to stay competitive.”
Murdock, with an 800 meter time of 1:57.75, was able to take sixth place. After the race, he said, “My start was faster than usual. I went out in 58 seconds, which was my strategy. Most of my competitors went out too quickly, and I was in the back of the pack. Most of them faded and I was able to pass them in the last 200 meters.”
Each athlete leaves behind quite a legacy. It is fitting that Murdock, a fixture in so many record breaking relays over the years, is able to walk away with an All-State medal around his neck for the 800 meter race. This is the race, his teammates will tell you, that Murdock owns in this town. Equally fitting is Giannetti’s finale. Though graced with great running genes, according to some, he was an awkward jumper/hurdler. It was through his hard work and extra hours of practice (including weekend trips to neighboring schools since Oyster Bay has no steeple barriers) that made his race nearly perfect.
Chris and Shane’s names will be posted on the record wall just outside the weight room at Oyster Bay High School. The excitement they brought to the big meets in 2010 will be remembered for years to come. Teammates and coaches and fans thank them for those memories.
The 4 X 800 meter relay team shattered the school record by ten seconds. The previous record was 10 minutes and 24 seconds. Fiona Brunner, Maria Moreno, Alex Venuto and Courtney Cartwright set a new school record with a time of 10:14.6 earning All Division honors. Eliza Tappan made All-Division for the 100 meter high hurdles. Brooke Mahoski made a significant contribution as a distance runner. Freshman Alley Puccio had a great debut as a premier high jumper.