Sometimes, a race plan is only as good as the first 200 meters or less. Circumstances and situations can change in an instant, requiring strategies to shift on the fly. Those who don’t allow this harsh reality of the sport to fluster them usually thrive. Port Washington’s Aaron Siff-Scherr is one of those people.

Siff-Scherr adjusted to an early shift in pace and fought off North Shore’s Dylan Welch on the final lap to win the Division I 800 meters in one minute, 55.47 seconds on the first day of the Nassau Track and Field State Qualifier at North Shore Wednesday afternoon. The victory qualifies Siff-Scherr for the state championships, scheduled for June 9-10 at Union-Endicott near Binghamton.

“The pace wasn’t too quick,” Siff-Scherr said of the opening lap. “I knew it needed to pick up and we really needed to spread out. There were a bunch of guys in the race who could really sprint well.”

Siff-Scherr shifted into high gear with 300 meters to go, needing to keep up a furious pace for almost an entire lap.

“I didn’t think I would go that early,” Siff-Scherr said. “I thought I would be sprinting at the end and not from 400 out, but it worked. It’s whatever works. If you’re fit, you can win a race a few different ways.”

Welch barely left Siff-Scherr’s shoulder on that final lap, with the Port Washington senior running a strong final 150 meters to hold him off.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“We’ve had a great rivalry all through high school,” Siff-Scherr said. “It was a good race. I knew it was going to be a tough one and he’d be coming on in the second lap. But, I felt confident in my kick.”

Welch was second in 1:56.56.

With less than a month left in his high school career, Siff-Scherr is ready to prove his worth on the track at his final state championship. “I want to keep winning,” he said.

Carle Place’s Nate Armstrong won the Division II 800 in 2:03.67.

East Meadow’s Tim Euler fought off Baldwin’s Will Salmon, taking control in the final 400 meters, to win the Division I 3,200 in 9:31.66.

“To me, it’s all about switching gears,” Euler said. “I know I always have a good sprint-finish. It’s about working into the kick.”

Seaford’s Jason Linzer qualified in Division II, running a 10:02.23 in the 3,200.

In the field, Massapequa’s Kevin Cetin won the Division I discus, throwing 159 feet, 10 inches. Wheatley’s Antonio Liparoto won the discus in Division II (133-2).