The Huntington High School indoor boys’ track and field team is expected to be among the best in Suffolk and perhaps the state this winter.
The Blue Devils’ roster includes 37 freshmen and sophomores and 18 juniors and seniors.
Huntington returns two seniors who reached last year’s state championship.
Ronald Wilson is the head coach of the Huntington boys' winter track and field team.
Eric Sands will return as one of Suffolk’s top shot putters and Johnathan Smith is back as a leading middle distance runner.
Sands came from behind to beat-out teammate Sam Bergman for his first county weight throw title. He went on to finish ninth in the state fields “and we are looking for him to build on that success,” Huntington head coach Ronald Wilson said.
Smith is one of the top returnees in the state in the 600m dash. Ranked No. 1 in Suffolk, No. 3 on Long Island and No. 5 in the state, the teenager will have his hands full with a variety of exceptional juniors and seniors also coming back in the event.
“Jonathan will also be pushed by two of our own, junior Justin Stevens and sophomore CJ Kiviat,” Wilson said. “We are expecting Kiviat to make an immediate impact this indoor season.
Smith, Kiviat, and Stevens will be three of four athletes on what is expected to be a dynamic 4x400m relay team. Sophomores Anthony Joseph and Isaiah James along with a host of other athletes are also vying for a spot on the relay.
Junior Gary Barash and sophomore Mekai Butts both showed great promise in the shot put and weight throw last winter. “We are looking for them to be much improved,” Wilson said.
Huntington has sent a relay to the state championships in each of the past four years, winning a state title in 2015 and state and national titles in 2016.
“Last year, we sent a young 4x200m relay team that placed ninth in the state championships, just outside of earning a medal,” Wilson said. “That relay consisted of sophomores Nasir Youngblood, Jason Turner and Joseph, freshman Josiah Melendez and Smith. This core group of young sprinters is full of talent. We are hoping to continue to build upon the success we had in previous years.”
Huntington will also be strong in the jumps, with seniors, Joe Garetano, Jaden Bholan, Rahliek Thomason and Trevan Meagher. Garetano and Bholan competed well in high jump and long jump last winter. “We are looking for them to improve,” Wilson said.
Thomason picked up triple jumping in the spring and had some success. “We are looking for him to improve as well,” Wilson said. “Meagher is a big strong kid that we are looking to help us in both the field events and on the track.”
Junior Jaylen Bush returns as one of Suffolk’s top hurdlers and he, too, will have his hands full. “Suffolk County boasts some of the top hurdlers in the state,” Wilson said. “Longwood’s Jahiem Dotson is the county’s top hurdler and Bush is not too far off of him.”
Blue Devil distance runners Aidan Heller, Isaiah James, Andrew McKenzie and Carlos Martinez enjoyed a splendid cross country season and should improve this winter season.
Joining the varsity team from J. Taylor Finley Middle School are seventh graders Ramon Lyons and Jahmar Francis, who will compete in the sprints and jumps and eighth graders Matthew Armstrong and Samuel James, who will vie in middle distance and distance events. Seventh grader Damien Santos and eighth grader Dominick Vidota will join Huntington’s throwers.
“We will look to once again advance several of our athletes to the state championship this season,” Wilson said. “We will continue in rugged League III and the Suffolk Large School Championship division. Our league boasts some great teams including North Babylon, West Islip, Bellport, Deer Park, Comsewogue, East Islip, Eastport, Half Hollow Hills West and West Babylon.”
Huntington was upended last winter after winning five consecutive league titles, but rebounded a week later by capturing third place in the Suffolk Large School Championships.
Wilson will be assisted by Eli Acosta and program consultant Haidee Ganz-Bonhurst. “We are all excited about the season,” Wilson said.