In a sport that is so often separated by class distinction in the post season, top match ups can be avoided just because of school size. Perhaps that’s why Tuesday night’s 3,200 meters at the Nassau State Qualifier at St. Anthony’s High School was so special. It was a rare battle between two of the county’s distance titans, Oyster Bay’s Alex Tosi and Calhoun’s Elias Platanias that went right down to the final lap.
And it was Tosi who took it, finishing in nine minutes, 43.39 seconds, outpacing Platanias with a final lap kick. Platanias finished second in 9:45.71. Both qualified for the New York State Championships, scheduled for March 5 at Cornell University in Ithaca.
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“It was a really slow first mile,” Tosi said. “At about the 2,000 meter split, I looked back and saw it was just me and Elias. I was like ‘wow, this is a two-person race now.’ It’s going to come down to guts.”
Tosi used a nifty move on the second-to-last lap to set up his eventual separation from Platanias, stepping to the outside to use the lapped runners to try and box his top competitor in.
“I got him trapped,” Tosi said. “He couldn’t get in front of me.. . . . I knew I was a good kicker, so coming down to the last lap, I said ‘this is it. You have to hunker down, give it everything, or he’s going to get it. It’s one or the other.’”
He chose right. With approximately 190 meters to go, Tosi turned on his jets, using his kick to fly away from Platanias and leave no doubt as to who was the top distance runner in the county on this night.
“I wasn’t sure how much of a kick he had,” Tosi said. “I never had to kick against him. I had a little bit more today. Luckily, I got it.”
Port Washington’s Aaron Siff-Scherr qualified in the 1,000 meters, winning in 2:38.22. North Shore’s Dylan Welch finished second in 2:38.61 and also qualified.
East Meadow’s Tim Gibson won the 55 meter dash in 6.53 seconds. Carey’s Gregory Matzelle was second in 6.55 seconds and also qualified. Matzelle edged Gibson by 0.0028 seconds at last week’s Nassau Class A Championship.
Seaford’s Nick Kocienda won the shot put, tossing 49 feet, 1 3⁄4 inches.
“I felt like I stayed a lot lower than I normally do,” Kocienda said. “When it came off my hand, it was a lot smoother than normal. The height was also a lot better.”
As he sat waiting to take his final throws of the night, Kocienda said that he knew that he needed his last few to sail higher than his first few. He caught his winning distance on the fourth of his six throws, he said.
On the girls side, Cold Spring Harbor’s Daniela LoCastro won the 3,000 meters in 10:15.80. Massapequa’s Taylor Rettig was second in 10:40.60. North Shore’s Diana Vizza, who ran a 9:50.43 in January and had the state standard, was third in 10:48.47 and qualified.
LoCastro pulled away midway through the race and never looked back.
“I was feeling strong and I said ‘you know what, I’m just going to go for it,” LoCastro said.
Elmont’s Erykah Camal won the 55 meters in 7.43 seconds.