It’s no secret that Rockland County has provided and continues to provide a hotbed of talent in the cross country and track and field community.
The latest and among the best this year is North Rockland High School alum Liam Purdy of Garnerville, who has taken his talent to American University in Washington, D.C., where he is now under the tutelage of the celebrated coach and much-respected two-time Olympian Matt Centrowitz.
Purdy, who holds five school records at North Rockland and was the NYSPHSAA and Federation 1,000 meter champion — ranking third all-time in New York, top 25 in the nation and second in the U.S. in 2014 in the event – will be following in the footsteps of other former American University standouts such as Carlos Jamison, another North Rockland product, and one-time Pearl River HS star Brendan Fennell.
Purdy, rated “one of the best ever in the state,” by Dominican College coach Jamie Kempton of Nanuet — qualified for the Millrose Games and ran at the cross country Federation Meet during his freshman and senior years. Purdy was also a member of the 4×400 meter relay team that finished second at the NYSPHSAA.
Purdy also earned varsity letters for indoor track and outdoor track, helping lead North Rockland to fifth in the state in cross country, and league, county and sectional championships in indoor and outdoor track (the Triple-Triple Crown) in 2013 and 2014.
Other recent Rockland-bred standouts include Justin Romaniuk, a Suffern HS alum who later starred at Stamford University, and Tappan Zee HS standout miler Luke Gavigan, who was expected to finalize his collegiate plans this week.
“We have the luxury of home-grown talent in our own backyard,” noted Kempton, who has been charged with coaching the first-ever “official” men’s cross country team at Dominican College. Kempton, himself a top-notch competitor at both Albertus Magnus HS and Bucknell University, is also hoping to introduce winter track to the college to help bridge the all-important gap between the cross country and spring track and field seasons.
Kempton, quite naturally excited about the new venture at Dominican, has already tapped into this home-grown talent pool by bringing in North Rockland HS graduate James Feeney of Stony Point and Clarkstown South HS alum Dylan Roadarmel, a track specialist.
“We’re thin in cross country, a small team, but have upfront strength,” added Kempton. “Feeney is one of our top 5.”
The leader, by far, is Sudan native Booray Adam Nour, who ran with the Westchester Track Club while attending Bronx Community College, which had no cross country or track team. Adam Nour has a 4:08 mile and 1:52 800 to his credit.
“That’s very good for our level (NCAA Division II),” Kempton said.
Some of the top Chargers in track are long sprinter DeCarlo Richards, a Ramapo HS alum, and Andrew Pierre of Spring Valley, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Regional in Montvale, N.J.
Kempton’s men’s team and Howie McNiff’s women’s teams both open the season on September 4 in the Ramapo Invitational, held at Garret Mountain in Paterson, N.J. Both teams will then compete at the Fordham Fiasco on September 12 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
McNiff, a member of two Halls of Fame and perhaps the best runner ever to come out of Albertus Magnus HS, comes to the Chargers after coaching at his alma mater.
BOULDERS ROLLING: The defending Can-Am League champion Rockland Boulders, fresh off a franchise-record 8-1 midwest trip that solidified their hold on first place over the second-place Quebec Capitales, are at Provident Bank Park in Pomona August 21-23 to host the Garden State Grays. Starting times are 7 p.m. on August 21, 6:35 p.m. on August 22 and 5 p.m. on August 23. After climbing to 50-27, Boulders outfielder Stephen Cardullo was named the Can-Am League Pointstreak’s Player of the Week, while Marcus Jensen earned Pitcher of the Week honors. For more information on the team access: www.rocklandboulders.com.
*** The St. Thomas Aquinas College men’s and women’s cross country teams open the season on September 12 at Fordham University’s Ed Joyce Memorial at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Sophomore Brian Cook, a graduate of Pearl River HS, is among the Rams’ leading runners. Last year, Cook won Atlantic-10 rookie of the week honors. STAC’s men’s crew includes Nyack residents Richie Cant, an alum of Albertus Magnus HS, and Jamer Linares; and Stony Point residents Stefan Saeed and Vinnie Vasquez, a graduate of North Rockland HS. On the women’s side, the Lady Spartans look to Tappan Zee alum Meagan Jaskot of Blauvelt; Clarkstown South HS graduates Katari Salvesen and Kara Santa Teresa; Suffern residents Jumara Khabb and Angelica Matwejczu; and North Rockland HS alumna Kaitlin O’Grady of Tomkins Cove.
*** The Fordham University football team, including Clarkstown South alum Robert Carlyle, a long-snap specialist, opens its season against Army at West Point on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
*** Despite the hot and humid weather, it’s not farfetched to say that the 2015-16 hockey season for the Black Knights of Army is right around the corner. Group and season tickets are on sale. Mini-plan ticket packages will be offered beginning August 24 and single-game tickets will go on sale September 21. Visit www.GoArmyWestPoint.com/tickets or the ticket office at Gate 3 of Michie Stadium or call 1-877-TIX-ARMY.
• Angela Kelly of Garnerville and Alissa Silvestri of Congers are members of the women’s lacrosse team at Pace University in Pleasantville that earned Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II Academic Squad honors. The Setters posted a 3.42 GPA this past year and earned five wins as a first-year program.
THIS & THAT: The Nyack-based River Rowing Association is staging a Learn to Row day on August 22 at Rockland Lake State Park (lot No. 6) in Congers, from 8-11 a.m. No experience is required, and children ages 12 and up are invited. Potential recruits can attend free of charge and will learn how to row using a rowing machine on land before going out on the water in a racing shell with other experienced rowers. A limited number of seats are available. For information access: www.riverrowingassociation.org.
BERGINO BASEBALL CLUBHOUSE will host a benefit on August 27 for the Viscardi School, which serves children with severe physical disabilities. Former Mets star Mookie Wilson will be on hand. The clubhouse is located in the Landmark Cast Iron building at 67 East 11th Street. All revenue generated supports after-school clubs, sports and activities for Viscardi students. Details http://www.icontact-archive.com/oQwqeijYVpLtHCZPPVTbYbPfNkaIagtP?w=3
PERFECT TIMING: The Union Art Center in Sparkill (2 Union Avenue) will present “Cuba Antes: Images of Cuba on the Cusp of Change,” an exhibition of photographs by Julie Cahn of Valley Cottage. The opening reception is scheduled at 2 p.m. on August 22, with the exhibit scheduled to close on September 25. For information call 845-359-0258.