Ward Bandsma, Eric Jacobson, D.J. Matusz and Nico Bernard placed second in New York State in the 4x800-meter relay over the winter. They lowered their time to 7:49.43 at New Balance Nationals a week later.
This weekend, with Daniel Asher replacing Bandsma, the Raiders will look to win the title in Division 1 as they have already lowered their time to another school record, 7:47.17.
“They were psyched,” coach Rich Clark said. “They were a team working for each other out there and it was Arlington and us and we beat Arlington. It’s fantastic to get a school record. I couldn’t be happier. Kudos to them. They did a great job.”
That time came at the Warwick Fast Times Relays days before the state qualifier, but due to post-prom events, the team wasn’t fully in tact for the qualifier. Matusz was the lone runner in attendance, but since Scarsdale already had the super cut time, all they had to do was participate in the race with any runners at the qualifier.
Expecting the full relay to be present, the coaches had to scramble to field a team.
“You had to field a team or we would lose the automatic entrance,” coach Clark said. “I thought they were going to be there.”
They certainly have Matusz, Shan Daniel, Michael Waxman and Matthew Shepetin to thank for giving them an opportunity to run at states.
“My hope is they win the state meet and I think they have a really solid chance of doing that,” Clark said. “And they all plan on doing nationals the following week.”
Also competing at nationals will be the girls sprint medley relay team of sophomore Yurami van Eer, junior Annabel Jacobs, freshman Maeve Jacobson and senior Sierra Donovan, representing all four grade levels.
Clark recognized them as some of the 20 or so “unsung heroes” on the track team this year.
“Yurami ran more races than anybody this season because she would always volunteer for the relays all the time if they were missing a person,” Clark said. “She was just a tough competitor. I’m glad Yurami and Sierra are going. Annabel is a hard worker and she has to come from across the bridge in Rockland. And Maeve is great, a freshman.”
Junior Michael Callahan had a strong performance at the state qualifier. After recently cracking 6 feet in competition for the first time, Callahan cleared 6-2 at the qualifier, but there were too many ahead of him to qualify. He’ll have a chance next year to build on his late-season success.
Jake Coleman, a sophomore, took third place in the 3,200-meter. He’d been overcoming an injury after doing an ill-advised post-workout training session. Coach Clark felt Coleman could have won the race if he were healthy and waited just a little longer to kick.
“He ran a tough race,” Clark said. “I thought, ‘I think he might die,’ because he hadn’t been training, but he was just tough as nails. In hindsight had he started his kick a tiny bit later he might have beat him. He was only a second and a half off. To get the 9:49 was super. He was happy with that and so was I.”
The performance has Clark excited about cross-country in the fall.
“With [assistant coach] Doug [Rose], I’m really looking forward to cross-country,” Clark said. “We were close last year. We really woulda, coulda, shoulda, but we’re gonna do it this year. The kids are psyched and we have a lot of kids coming back. Yes, Andrew [Levy] was No. 1, but Jake was right there. If Andrew hadn’t outkicked him, Jake would have gone to states as a sophomore. I’m really looking forward to it and if they do their summer running — and I always look to the next season at the end because I’m three seasons — they’ll do well.”
Victoria Capobianco, Natalyn Kapner, Lizzie Hurshman, Lea Reisel and Alexa Doyle will give the girls team a strong starting point.
“They will be the core of five girls,” Clark said. “I think they’re going to shine. They might be the unsung heroes next year.”