It's every relay team's worst nightmare, the one thing that hours of practice are designed to protect against and one false move can potentially cause . . . a dropped baton. When it happens, the immediate chaos is almost too much to overcome.
So, imagine the thoughts running through the mind of Kristina Cherrington, Uniondale's 4 x 400 meter anchor leg, when she realized that the all mighty baton was headed for the ground at the Knight-Time Invitational Saturday at Uniondale High School.
"The top of the baton dropped off the tip of my finger. I didn't really grab it, it rolled, so I had to go pick it up," Cherrington said. "When something like that happens, you loose your momentum. I thought the race was over."
Far from it. After picking up the loose baton, Cherrington sprinted her way back into the race, picking off competitors as she went. With 200 meters to go, Cherrington said she thought victory was a possibility.
"I wasn't as tired at the 200 meter mark as I usually am," she said. "I was hyped up for this race. I had the energy left. As I was getting closer, I decided to push."
She edged Copiague at the line to win in four minutes, 13.78 seconds. Copiague was second in 4:13.91. It wasn't easy, but Cherrington, along with Michala Webster, Julie Mercer, and Asia Jinks, were champions on their home track.
They were the third Uniondale relay team to win. Jinks, Micah Forehand, Brianna McGregor, and Crystal Green won the 4 x 100 meter relay in 49.74 seconds. McGregor, Cherrington, Forehand, and Ayanna Whittaker won the 800 meter sprint medley relay in 1:53.37.
Green won the 200 meters in 26.58 seconds and the 400 meter hurdles in 1:04.62. Mercer won the triple jump, going 34 feet, one and a quarter inches.
Holy Trinity's Kristina Insingo continued her impressive senior year. The Nebraska-bound thrower broke two meet records. Her 147-foot, 6-inch discus throw bested New Brunswick Tiona Long's 130-foot, 3-inch mark, set in 2007. Insingo's 45-foot, 81/2-inch shot put toss broke New Rochelle's Krystal Graham's 2007 mark of 43 feet, 31/4 inches.
"I'm very excited for what's going to happen this season," Insingo said. "It's only the beginning and I'm already breaking my [personal best`s]."
Both marks were outdoor personal bests, Holy Trinity coach Justin Renna said.
On the boys side, Holy Trinity's Shaka Shomari won the 200 meters in 22.66 seconds. Despite running into powerful winds, Shomari blasted past the field on the turn and never looked back.
"I came off the turn full speed, so I didn't feel the wind at all down the back straightaway," Shomari said. "I knew [it was windy] going in. I thought I was going to hit mid-23 [seconds]. When I heard my time, I was surprised."
Baldwin's Jordan Brown won the 400 meters in 51.31 seconds. Massapequa's John Putnam won the hammer throw, tossing 179 feet, nine inches.