HUNTINGTON 4x400-METER RELAY
Infinite Tucker, Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake, Shane McGuire
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Tucker was skeptical. The senior who recently committed to UMass didn’t quite know if he and his Huntington relay teammates could pull it off. After a day that featured intense individual competition, having enough energy left in the tank to win another major race was a tall order for the Blue Devils. But as soon as Tucker turned onto the final straightaway, he knew winning was a possibility. And he was right. The foursome of Tucker, Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake and Shane McGuire won Huntington’s second consecutive indoor 4x4 championship, finishing in 3 minutes, 24.02 seconds. A week later, the same four won the national title at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
DANIEL CLAXTON, SMITHTOWN EAST: HIGH JUMP
This year, there was no sweating it out for Claxton. There was no final jump that he absolutely had to make late in the day and, most importantly, there was no second place. Claxton cleared six feet, eight inches to take home his first state championship. He placed second lin the winter of 2015 and fourth last spring, falling both times to Floyd’s Hasani Rathan, who graduated after the spring season. “It felt great to finally win one,” Claxton said. “I’ve been working at it for such a long time and I knew that I had the ability, skill level, and work ethic to do it.”
TUCKER: 55 HURDLES
Tucker’s leg smacked into the final hurdle and he fell forward. That wouldn’t exactly be considered advisable hurdle form but, in this case, it worked. The tumbling Tucker won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.38 seconds — .02 seconds ahead of Rochester Wilson Magnet’s Kelly Brown.
“I couldn’t get my leg completely over the last hurdle,” Tucker said. “I knocked it down and then I just gave it all and dove for the finish …. I thought I had lost it. But I knew I gave it my all, so I wasn’t as mad. Then, when I saw the time on the board, I got really happy.”
DENISHA WEST, WESTBURY: TRIPLE JUMP
Those driving on Jericho Turnpike can’t miss the announcement as they pass Westbury High School. “Denisha West, NYS Triple Jump Champion,” the welcome sign on the school’s front yard reads. The distinction is something she wanted badly, not only to represent her school, but her region as well.
“I’m very proud to represent my island; Long Island,” said West, who flew 38 feet, three quarters of an inch.
West battled it out with Sachem North’s Leah Blackall, who finished second with a 37-10 ¼ ijump. West earned a trip to the state championships by placing second at the Nassau championships , flying 36 -2 1⁄2 .
UNIONDALE 4x200 RELAY
Chris Borzor, Ragilio Harriot, Cleveland Modest,
Uniondale saw its 4x200 meter relay championship not as a pinnacle achievement, but more of an encouraging sendoff toward the spring season. Borzor, Harriot, Modest, and Duhaney took the public school crown in 1 minute, 32.72 seconds. Uniondale finished third behind state Federation teams in the overall race.
“Keep improving,” Duhaney said of what the title meant.
Uniondale reached the state championships by running a 1:33.13 at the Nassau qualifier. It won the Nassau Class A championship in 1:33.14.
Consistency was key for Harris during the indoor season. “We didn’t do anything different toward the end of the season,” Harris said of her training regimen. “We just kept doing what we’re doing and progressively got better.” That commitment to stability led to unmatched success. Harris won the 1,500-meter race walk in a personal-best six minutes, 35.16 seconds. Harris broke away from the pack by the midway point of the race, walking to a victory by more than 14 seconds.
A week later, Harris set a national record in the nile race walk at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Vizza proved that her prowess in the 1,500 meters mile on the indoor track is just as strong as her prowess on the 5-kilometer cross country course. She won the 1,500 in 4 minutes, 31.67 seconds, outpacing North Rockland eighth-grader Katelyn Tuohy, who was second in 4:32.33.
“I knew Katelyn was a really tough competitor,” Vizza said. “I made sure that I never eased up until the line and really tried to apply my strength to the middle and kick throughout with much better form.” It was Vizza’s second state championship this school year. She won the Class B Public School cross-country championship in November.