In the final race of his high school career, Eastport South Manor senior Thomas Meehan was able to reach the podium at the New York State Track and Field Championships at Cicero/North Syracuse High School on Friday and Saturday.
Meehan placed sixth among fellow public school runners in the 800-meter race in 1:55.73, which was good enough for seventh place in the federation race, which encompasses all schools (public, private, Catholic, New York City). Meehan, who won his heat, was just over a second slower than the first-place runner, Jay Navin of Saratoga, who finished in 1:54.24, but he was the fastest runner from Long Island.
Meehan got off to a good start in the race but eventually fell to second place in the second lap. In the final 200 meters, he was side-by-side with Franklin Newton of Fordham Prep, who will actually be Meehan’s teammate at the University of Buffalo, but Meehan was able to sprint and beat out Newton to win the second heat.
“My first goal was to make it [upstate] and I was ecstatic that I made it,” he said. “Right away I was pushed by one of the kids who came out pretty fast, but with 200 meters to go, I felt really good so I kicked it and I was lucky enough to place in the top six.”
With graduation coming up, Meehan will now say goodbye to the end of a successful high school career. He reached a state championship four times over his four years at ESM—once for spring track, once for indoor track and twice for cross country in the fall. Meehan placed sixth in the 1,600-meter race upstate this past winter.
Meehan will be graduating with teammates Matt Lafferty, Jacob Black, Jaggar Chaisty, John D’Amaro, Tom Buckley, Chris Lake, Sean Clark, Anthony Reyes, Matt Frost, Mark Faithfull, Tyler Murano, and Frank Tropea III. Meehan said he’s going to miss his time at ESM.
“It’s been a great four years—I’ve had great coaches who always cared,” he said. “It’s kind of a sad experience, putting on that ESM jersey and running in my last race, but it was a great experience. I’m excited to go to Buffalo and run but I love my high school career too.”
Hampton Bays seniors Taylor Catz and Joe Veeck also made the trip to states. Catz competed in the pentathlon while Veeck was in the pole vault.
Catz just missed out on placing among public school Division II athletes with a seventh-place finish—the top six get on the podium. Catz accrued 2,986 points in the pentathlon, just missing sixth place by 20 points. Catz finished third in Division II in the 110-meter high hurdles in a personal best 15.91 seconds, 10th in the high jump with a height of 5 feet 3¼ inches, second overall in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet 9½ inches, eighth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet 10 inches and then, in the final event, Catz placed ninth in the 1,500-meter race in a personal best 5:04.73.
Hampton Bays head coach Dave Goodman thought, in the days leading up to the meet, that 3,000 points would get Catz on the podium. For the most part, Goodman thought Catz did well in most of the events. The tough result, Goodman said, was the 18-foot-10-inch result in the long jump. Catz had leaped well over that during the season, at times jumping 20 feet. Overall, though, Goodman was proud of Catz.
“Taylor Catz pb’ed on last event of his life,” he said. “Both of them [Catz and Veeck] went out like warriors.”
Veeck had a tough go of it in the pole vault, where upstate, the height begins at 12 feet—Veeck reached 12 feet 6 inches at the Section XI Individual Championships two weeks ago to qualify for states. Veeck reached 12 feet but couldn’t get past that.
Goodman said that with about a month to go in the season, Veeck really started to get his height up, and a lot of the credit can go to Hampton Bays alumnus Josiah Hoshyla and Jim Henderson, who trains track athletes at a warehouse in Ronkonkoma. Hoshyla informed Veeck of Henderson’s training site, and, eventually, Veeck was going up the island two to three days a week to work on his craft. Goodman said it greatly improved his height.
Catz and Veeck will graduate this month, along with Darrell Galicia, Phil DiPierdomenico, Allan Meza, Christian Iquia, Andres Tapia and Brian Intermaggio.