The annual “Bulldog Invitational Track Meet” held at Hewlett High School this past Saturday brought in one of the largest school turnouts in the events’ history, with 35 schools from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens participating in 40 different events.
The boys and girls spring track teams have both put up successful seasons leading up to the Nassau County Track and Field Championships, including a division and conference title for the undefeated girls squad. The Bulldog Invitational has served as a prime track meet to prepare for postseason competition in 2011 and in years past.
“This has been a phenomenal year, and to cap it off with this invitational is great," said Eamon McHugh, the tournament's director and coach of the Hewlett boys track team. "We’ve got a great turnout and this meet is not only about getting great times and performances, but also about getting everybody enthusiastic about the sport.”
Since 2004, McHugh has led a moment of silence for former Hewlett track member, Jonah Richman, who, as a counselor at Camp Baco in 2003, died along with Adam Cohen and Jordan Satin in a heroic attempt to save David Altschuler from rough river waters. The moment of silence was held prior to the boys’ 4 x 800 relay race, which Richman competed in.
“Jonah experienced the camaraderie that you just don’t know until you’re actually a part of it,” McHugh said. “He experienced that when he came out to run track in his junior year and said how he can’t believe how he’s been missing this before.”
The Bulldog Invitational exhorts the ideal of family and passion for track not only in Hewlett and the Five Towns, but for all participants of the sport as well. The meet has invited schools in the past that field some of the top track and field athletes on Long Island.
“While having fun with the Bulldog Invitational, we wanted to show kids what this sport can do for you,” McHugh said. “This sport has also displayed the camaraderie that extents just beyond your team. There are so many kids here that have lifelong friends with kids from other schools.”
The Hewlett Bulldogs boys’ team placed seven different runners in the top six in the days’ events. Neil Cohen, Brian Chambers, Dimitri Baptiste and Hunter Gildin took an impressive first place in the 4 x 800 relay race, along with another first place finish by Kevin Dehaney in elite triple jump. Dehaney also placed third in the elite long jump.
Cohen placed third in the elite 800 meter race as well. Brian Durdaller placed in two different events: second in the elite pole vault and fifth in the 110 meter high hurdles. Corey Sider also placed in the elite pole vault, grabbing a fifth place finish.
On the girls side, Hewlett was led by Vanessa Pierre and Jayla Therancy, who won the high hurdle and jumps grand prix championship. Hewlett also collected a first place finish in the relay division.
"The girls winning the relay division shows their diversity and depth," Hewlett girls track coach Steve Honerkamp said. "It has been a great season for the girls as we have won the division and conference championships for the third year in a row. The girls were very impressive going through the season undefeated."
The boys and girls track teams will be in action at the Nassau County Track and Field Championship hosted at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Tuesday and Wednesday. Check back with Patch for the latest results from the meet to see how the Bulldogs fared against the county's top competition.