Notebook: Fuller, Longwood take flight

          Notebook: Fuller, Longwood Take Flight   


Longwood 800-meter specialist Joe Fuller moves his teammates with his inspired racing.  When Fuller chose to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. he drew on that same sense of wonder.

“I would love to design the next fighter pilot (jet) or something like that,” said Fuller. “I’m in love with those.”

Fuller, who finished eighth in the 800 at the New York State Federation championships in June, is a self-described tinkerer and car-repair junkie. He’d taken some engineering courses at Longwood, and when Embry-Riddle contacted him through the SAT’s this year, he was intrigued.

“I was interested in the school- they have a good aerospace engineering program- whether or not I ran track there,” said Fuller. “Then I found out that they had a decent track program.”

Fuller anchored Longwood to a 3rd place finish in the 1,600-meter sprint medley at the New Balance Outdoor Championships in June. He combined with Joe Payton, Blake Evans and Mark Jackson to bring the school its first All-America relay. 

He is not sure what his role will be at NAIA Embry-Riddle, but brings 1:53.65 credentials and an improved tactical sense after racing against the state’s best this spring.

“Running at States was a changing experience,” said Fuller.  “I was used to running on Long Island, where the top guys have the same strategy- to kick at 250 meters. At States, they started their kick with 300 meters to go and just maintained it. That was a learning experience.”

  • Fuller’s teammate, Joe Payton, blossomed into an elite 400-meter intermediate hurdler this spring. The State Federation runner-up, Payton popped a 52.85 at the Section 11 State Qualifiers, tops in the state this year and the No. 12 mark in the country.

But despite his accomplishments, Payton had to wait until after the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, where he was a part of Longwood’s All-American 1,600 Sprint Medley, to find a college fit.

“It was a frustrating experience,” said Longwood coach Joe Reilly, who worked on the recruitments of Payton and teammate Joe Fuller. “Because these two guys had great times and a lot to offer.”

Payton found a fit- with Buffalo, where Longwood assistant coach Victor Archibald ran. But the situation highlighted how difficult it can be to for track athletes to find scholarships, no matter how talented.

“It’s kind of like a chess match,” said Reilly.

Payton has shown promise in the 400 meters as well as the 110 hurdles. But the 400 intermediate hurdles will likely remain his signature event.

“My main goal is to be in the Olympics,” said Payton. “The Olympic trial time is 50-flat.

  •  Port Jefferson multi-athlete Tom Bove is one of a rare breed who can pick up an event in a snap. After three days of workouts,  according to coach Rod Cawley, Bove was throwing 110 feet in the javelin.

For Bove, who took fourth in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals decathlon, the pole vault has proven a bit more elusive.

“I used to mess around with the pole vault after practice,” said Bove. “I never knew exactly how to do it. They say I ‘ninja’ it, because I go over on my back, which you’re not supposed to do.”

At Nationals, after slogging through his top three events, the 110 hurdles, 100 meters, and long jump, Bove ninja’ed over the bar in the pole vault for a PR 12-11 clearance, saving fourth place.

“I’m hoping in college that I can learn the right way to do it,” said Bove, who will compete for Roger Williams College in Rhode Island this fall.

  •  Port Jefferson, which placed sixth in the NYPHSAA Cross Country champs in Class C last year, has a strong core returning. Cawley returns senior Andrew Keresztes, senior Cole Conte, and freshman James Burke, who have all gone under 4:25 at 1,600 meters.  Burke set the eighth-grade New York state record in the 1,600 meters with a 4:23.14 clocking last spring. They will be joined by junior Kevin Anderson and senior Fred Agostino.

Keresztes is also a 1:54.05 performer at 800 meters.

“Georgetown and the University of Pennsylvania want him quite badly,” said Cawley.

  • Joe Intervallo, who coached track at Saunders High School in Yonkers last year, is the new boys cross country coach at New Rochelle High School.