Teams from Long Island and surrounding areas gathered for the 100th annual Port Washington Invitational on April 21. It is the longest running invitational in the United States and withstood the end of World War I, the Great Depression and
World War II.
Former Olympics race walker, Bruce McDonald, a retired teacher and coach of Port Washington Schools, was present at this special track meet. He had many years of working with Port’s track team and was amazed to see his family of athletes compete on their home track. He is remembered by many to have had a big impact on making the track and field association so successful over a numerous amount of years.
“We had a great turnout from both teams and spectators, and it was a lot of fun,” said senior captain, Lucy Hurt, who will be running at Cornell University in the fall.
Gerry Malloy, who ran in this meet for Roslyn High School 66 years ago, was at the meet to be honored for his medals and great track achievements. He even brought the exact clock he won at the Port Washington Invite for the one mile race to show athletes.
Twenty teams engaged in fierce competition and FAT timing was provided. More than 500 fans came to support the track meet. A professional announcer helped organize the clerk in times and areas along with the help of New York State track officials. The track officials dedicate numerous hours around the state timing and dealing with athletes races.
Port Washington coaches Jeremiah Pope, Arnold Donado, Iesahawn Johnson and Sandy Josefowski organized the entire meet and prepared their athletes for this competitive event. These coaches dedicate a great deal of time to their runners and the exact times reflect their efforts.
“I think the invite was the best one I’ve been a part of,” said Pope. “The number of teams doubled and coaches couldn’t be happier with their athletes performances and also being part of the historical event. It was an honor to have coach Mac present. He has been the pioneer to keep the invite going for a long period of time and coach Donado and myself felt we owed it to him to reach the 100th.”
A 4×100 relay was ran by elementary school fifth graders. Port Washington 100th annual invitational T-shirts were awarded to these young athletes. Spectators were excited about the race and amazed at the fast future track stars.
“I felt it was also important to involve the elementary schools because Track and Field does not have a youth program in the area,” said Pope. “This was a way for them to not only have fun, but to familiarize them with the meet so they can understand what is going on when they get to middle school.”
The Port Washington track and field teams have performed outstandingly well in the division and county. Both teams have about 40 athletes and each individual helps the team in meets and invitationals. All of these athletes are the reason that our program is so strong and ranked so high in the division.
The invitational was a special moment for the coaches and athletes of Port Washington and the competing teams as well as for the spectators.
“All in all, I think the meet was a success and we couldn’t thank everyone who participated and helped out to make this one the most memorable yet,” said Pope.
Sydney Rosenthal is a senior at Schreiber High School.