Shoreham-Wading River’s Katherine Lee stood on the line, awaiting the start of the 1,500 meters at Saturday’s St. Anthony’s Invitational. As she looked at her competitors, she saw a who’s who of Long Island distance runners. North Shore’s Diana Vizza was there. So was Sachem East’s Alexandra DeCicco and Calhoun’s Grace Moore.
This was, at the season’s first big Long Island-centric meet, the field of the day.
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“I was terrified before the race,” Lee said with a giggle. “I was talking to my teammate Kaitlyn [Ohrtman], who also ran in the race, and I said, ‘What if I don’t do well?’ My team was having a really good day and I wanted to be a part of it. So, I thought ‘OK, I really can’t mess this up.’ ”
Lee is certainly no slouch. She’s a runner who, not only belonged in the field, but made it considerably better. She has many accolades, chief among them a New York State Public School cross-country championship. So even though she was skeptical, it was no surprise when Lee won the event in four minutes, 30.11 seconds. She said it was her personal best time.
Lee went out in the front pack, pacing herself with DeCicco, Vizza, and Poly Prep’s Ella Ketchum. Once Vizza and Ketchum faded, it was Lee and DeCicco who battled it out in the final 200 meters.
“I was sprinting like my life depended on it,” Lee said
DeCicco finished second in 4:31.67. Ketchum was third in 4:33.52. Moore was fourth in 4:38.16 and Vizza was fifth in 4:38.73. Sachem East’s Valerie Romero was sixth in 4:44.60 and Ohrtman was seventh in 4:45.84.
Vizza had won the 3,000 earlier in the meet in 9:57.23.
St. Anthony’s Halle Hazzard won the 100 in 11.89 seconds and the 200 in 24.73 seconds. Entering the meet, Hazzard had the top 100 time in the state, running an 11.72 last month.
“My times right now are pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement,” she said.
Hazzard, who ran an 11.92 in the trials, said she focused on perfecting her form throughout the race.
“I was happy with my turnover, my arms, and getting my knees up,” Hazzard said. “It’s been what I’ve been practicing lately and I’ve been trying to use that in my races. It’s coming along.”
West Babylon’s Paige Keefer won the 800 in 2:12.72. She moved away from the field with 400 meters left, her victory never in doubt. Eastport-South Manor’s Taylor McClay was second in 2:17.19.
Bayport-Blue Point’s Taylor Gensler won the long jump in a leap of 16 feet, 10 1⁄2 inches.