Wheatley School runners take county championships

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Wheatley School runners take county championships
Eight Wheatley High School athletes claimed county championships in cross country, track and field, with two races breaking school records. (Photo courtesy of East Williston School District)

Eight Wheatley School athletes took county championships in cross country, track and field earlier this month, breaking two school records in the process.

The championship season came after last year’s spring sports were canceled because of COVID-19, making this season the last for runners who were juniors last year.

“We’re very pleased with our student athletes and how they competed at the highest level in the county,” said Michael Scaturro, director of physical education and athletics at the Wheatley School. “It’s a great accomplishment for all of them.”

Scott Schmuck, Declan Brady, Bryan Schmuck and Nadeem Al-Okla all won the boys 4×800-meter relay county championship, setting a school record of 8 minutes, 41.72 seconds. Al-Okla also won the 3,000-meter steeplechase county championship, with Scott Schmuck taking second.

Juliana Mendes, Emmie Keys, Caroline O’Brien and Julia Schriefer also took the county championship in the girls 4×800-meter contest.

Separately, Keys took the county championship at the 2,000-meter and set a school record of 7 minutes, 48.7 seconds. Keys also won the 2,000-meter steeplechase and Schriefer won the 1,500-meter and 800-meter race, both as county champions.

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Varsity girls track coach DJ Paulson noted how coming back after a yearlong hiatus of spring sports factored into his message to the student-athletes.

“It afforded them the opportunity to kind of finally put last year behind us, look at achieving this year’s goals, and creating memories with your teammates that can last forever,” Paulson said. “That to me has been the theme for this season.”

For Robert Capobianco, the varsity boys track coach, the end of the season has been a “mixed bag of emotions,” especially with runners like Al-Okla graduating.

“We had our last major workout yesterday on the track and he was kind of emotional at the end of it and I know I was as well,” Capobianco said. “It’s tough seeing the seniors leave, especially when you missed one whole spring season with them.”

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