In a sport most consider individual, watching others finish out a relay that you started can be nerve-wracking.
But for the Bay Shore girls 4x800 team, consistency helps calm the jitters that come with standing on the side while teammates round out a race. Bay Shore took first at the Armory’s Hispanic Games in Manhattan on Saturday, and did it with four legs within two seconds of each other.
“It makes me nervous, but I also have a lot of confidence in the other legs and I know they’re pushing just as hard,” said Caelyn Reilly, who ran the first leg. “As each leg goes on you see how hard they’re pushing and trying.”
Reilly ran her leg in 2:26.28, and Jasmine Reyes (2:24.62), Anna Pirkl (2:26.36) and Bridget Kanaley (2:24.29) followed to fill out a 9:41.57 relay. The close times give coach Andres Borromeo the flexibility to change the leg order regularly, allowing each runner to see race strategy from different angles, Reilly said.
Usually running as a middle leg allowed Reilly to become used to chasing other runners to make up ground. Leading off hasn’t been a regular spot for her, but Saturday gave her the chance to use her experience to build a lead from the beginning.
“Bringing that skill to the lead-off leg has helped me go out faster and maintain the lead,” Reilly said.
Bay Shore never trailed and beat second-place Perkiomen Valley by more than three seconds. At the highly competitive Hispanic Games, a first-place performance is more than just a building block.
“We expected to have tough competition, but after my leg and the third leg . . . I was like ‘oh we could definitely do this,’” said Reyes.
Reilly and Reyes, both seniors, attributed a lot of the team’s success and consistency to the amount of time spent practicing together. All four runners competed last year, and are friends away from the track.
“We always motivate each other and we push each other,” Reyes said. “It’s not really a coincidence that we’re running the same time. It’s because we push each other.”