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Seaford track athletes meeting all challenges

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Given the challenges of competing outdoors with a mask on and without the benefit of facing in-person competition, Seaford’s track and field programs have enjoyed a solid start to the winter season.

The postponement of cross-country from the fall to March hasn’t helped the situation for distance runners, Vikings coach Kimberly Cooke noted, although field event and shorter distance competitors are progressing at a rapid pace.

“It’s been challenging with the weather and it’s taking a little longer for the distance kids to get where they want to be, but that’s expected without the benefit of cross-country behind us,” Cooke said. “The turnout has been strong every day and the kids are really having a good time.”

Seaford’s boys’ team is coming off a runner-up finish to Valley Stream North in the Nassau Class C championships held last Feb. 6. Standout Jason Linzer, a two-time county champ, graduated, but the Vikings returned senior Ryan McClernon and juniors Anthony Munro and Jack Pidherney to lead the way.

Munro finished second in Class C in the 55-meter hurdles after winning the Conference 6 title in the event. As of Jan. 28, Munro had the fastest time in all of Nassau at 8.06 seconds. “Anthony leads a group of hurdlers who work hard across the board,” Cooke said. “His form continues to improve and he’s cut his time quickly. He’s added the long jump and triple jump this year following in his older brother Al’s footsteps and already had some impressive meets.”

McClernon guides teammates in distance workouts and is a year-round runner with a contagious work ethic, Cooke said. McClernon is working to improve his numbers in the 3200m and 1600m. Pidherney is a sprinter and jumper who brings plenty of energy and enthusiasm. He runs the 300 and 400 and handles the long jump and triple jump.

The Seaford girls are coming off a 7th-place finish in Class C, led by then-junior Ashley Sidoti’s county championship performance in the 55 hurdles. Like Munro, Sidoti, as of Jan. 28, was atop Nassau’s leaderboard in the event with a time of 9.47. Sidoti and fellow senior Sydney Mantione, who ranks in the top 10 in the event, serve as captains.

Cooke said Sidoti, who also competes in jumping events, has made steady progress every year since joining the program as a freshman. Sidoti, also a standout on the soccer field, helps lead team drills. Mantione, the coach noted, has made considerable strides in a short time. Sophomore Leah Brown is also excelling in the 55H, ranking fifth.

Senior Anna Butler, a standout softball pitcher, is in her second season of track and leading the Vikings in the shot put and weight throw. She set a personal best in the weight throw Jan. 27 when she topped 26 feet, ranking No. 2 in the county in the process.