Just call Chaminade “The Finishers.” The Flyers know how to kick and they did it well Sunday, sneaking up on the final straightaway to steal two races at the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA league championships at St. Anthony’s.
Brandon Mirabella outkicked St. John the Baptist’s Mike LaFemina in the 600 meters to win in 1 minute, 27.41 seconds. LaFemina finished second in 1:27.57. John Rogers outpaced a hard-charging Christopher Langer of St. Anthony’s to win the 1,000 in 2:38.21, with Langer second in 2:38.75.
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“I know that I had a kick because I’ve been working on 200 speed at the end of my race,” Mirabella said. “I just tried to stay a little bit behind [LaFemina], on his tail, and I tried to get a little bit to the outside. I just ran for it at the end.”
Cross-country season showed Mirabella that his endurance was at an acceptable level. Indoor season was just about getting the speed work in. “I have the endurance, so I’ve really tried to build on my speed,” Mirabella said. “I’ve just tried to get faster and faster so I can pull those kicks out of my bag.”
Rogers stood on the sideline, watching his teammate explode down the final straightaway, and was inspired to do the same in the 1,000. If need be, of course.
“I pretty much wanted to mirror what he did,” Rogers said. “I mean, I wanted to control the race from the beginning, but if there was anyone at the end, just outkick them.”
Langer was there at the end, jetting past Rogers on the final lap and requiring the Chaminade senior to take a page out of his teammate’s book.
“He came out of nowhere and kind of blindsided me,” Rogers said of Langer. “The last straightaway, I knew what I had to do.”
Rogers and Mirabella, along with Will Reich and Jason Ward, won the 4x400-meter relay in 3:35.76.
St. Anthony’s won the team title, scoring 84 points. The Friars ran 1-2-3 in the 55 meters. Justin Percival won in 6.62 seconds. Heron Maurisseau-O’Neal was second in 6.68 and Devin Henry third in 6.84.
Percival was on the winning 4x200-meter relay (1:34.03), placed second in the 300 (36.76 seconds) and was named the meet’s track MVP. Liam Ackerman, who won the pole vault (14 feet, 6 inches), was the field MVP.
Predictably, St. Anthony’s, a cross-country powerhouse, excelled in distance events. Ryan Kutch won the 3,200 in 9:36.14. Freddie Buckholtz was second in 9:36.28. Buckholtz won the 1,600 in 4:28.10. Kutch was second in 4:31.81 and Langer was third in 4:33.25.
St. Anthony’s also won the girls title with 84 points. Halle Hazzard won the 55 meters in 7 seconds and the 300 in 40.49 seconds. Hazzard said she would like to get down to 6.8 or 6.9 before Saturday’s CHSAA Intersectional Championships in Staten Island.
As for what she can do to shave those milliseconds off, Hazzard said: “My start was fine. It’s just transition things, things having to do with my turnover. I just need to clean that up a bit.”
Alyssa Yeboah-Kodie won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.37 seconds and the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 2 inches.
Sacred Heart’s Ellen Byrnes won the 600 in 1:38.23. Holy Trinity’s 4x200-meter team — Aries Burrell, Kim Peragine, Dominque Kelly and Victoria St. John — won in 1:48.49.