Roslyn’s Davidson, Great Neck’s Spagnoli among those who shined at state track

Roslyn’s Davidson, Great Neck’s Spagnoli among those who shined at state track
Roslyn H.S. junior Zach Davidson soared to third place in the pole vault at the indoor state championships on March 2. Photo credit: Roslyn H.S.

So much of success in sports is because of luck, and a person being in the right place at the right time.

And don’t forget the “cool” factor; that can be the difference between a high school athlete never trying a sport, and one day being one of the Top 3 in the state at it.

Zach Davidson came out for the Roslyn track and field team as a freshman and, like many kids encountering the sport for the first time, wasn’t sure which event he’d like to do and be good at.

He tried hurdles, triple jump, sprinting, all of it was nice, but none of it really spoke to him.

Then he experimented with the pole vault, and he became hooked.

“It was just so much fun, getting to go through the air like that,” Davidson said the other day. “I figured that was the (event) for me.”

Two years later, Davidson clearly made the right choice. Despite his school not having a pole vaulting pit the past two years, the junior has become one of the best in the state.

On March 2 at the New York State indoor meet on Staten Island, Davidson soared 14 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault and finished third, getting his personal record in the process.

“He’s great because if you tell him to do one little adjustment, he’ll make it right away,” said Roslyn coach Kristen Hamilton. “We saw as a freshman he was very bouncy, had really good spring and body control, and so we thought he had a chance to be good at vaulting.”

Davidson said he was greatly benefited by the new Roslyn track and field complex that opened this year, as he finally had a place to fully practice. The past two years he’d go to other schools to practice and get his reps in at meets.

That helped him move from 14th at states in 2023 to a medalist this year.

“Just having been there before made my nerves be not as bad,” Davidson said. “I knew I had a shot at Top 5, and I really wanted 15 (feet), but by the time I got to try 15 I was just exhausted.”

Davidson’s terrific meet was just one of several outstanding performances by area athletes at states. Great Neck South’s Isabella Spagnoli, who has competed at states the past two years in both indoor and outdoor seasons, finished eighth in the 3,000 meters in 9:59.85.

It was the highest state finish for the junior.

“My coach knew that if I ran the race right, I had a spot on the podium,” Spagnoli said. “And there were a ton of really good girls in my heat, because that pushed me to go faster. I was really, really happy with my time.”

Spagnoli was thrilled to break minutes and get her first state track medal.

“It was definitely a goal of mine, and I am really so happy I finally did it,” Spagnoli said. “And I think I can go a lot faster outdoors.”

Also going pretty fast indoors was the Manhasset boys 4×800 relay team, which set a new school record and finished second, with a time of 7:56.38. John Hogan, Cole Thalheimer, Kenneth Lee and Ryan Boldi finished just three seconds behind winner Saratoga Springs.

Port Washington sophomore Samantha Benson-Tyler continued to excel in the race-walk competition, grabbing fourth place in the state meet with a 6:59.51, a new person record.

And in the girls triple jump, Port Washington’s Bella Lucas again soared to new heights, as she finished seventh, leaping 37 feet, 7.5 inches.

Lucas, a junior, said she’s still not fully recovered from a badly-sprained ankle suffered during fall volleyball season, was thrilled to place after being seeded 15th coming in. Her distance was also a personal best, breaking a school record set back in 2000 by Port Washington track legend Nicole Dumpson.

Lucas said she had an even better jump, over 38 feet, but just scratched with her foot over the line. Still, breaking a record that’s been around a quarter-century was a huge accomplishment.

“That record has been around a long time and it was definitely a goal to try to break it,” Lucas said. “My nerves had really gotten to me the last time at states, but this time I felt really relaxed and ready to go.”


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