Elmont's Ashley Fulton wins the 55 Meter dash during the...

Elmont's Ashley Fulton wins the 55 Meter dash during the Nassau track and field state qualifier on Tuesday Feb 11, 2020 at St Anthony's High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

The grandeur and spectacle of the Millrose Games isn’t anything new to Ashley Fulton. The Elmont sophomore has been running at the prestigious meet since she was eight years old, competing in the ‘Fastest Kid on the Block’ 55-meter dash that features top youth runners.

That day, Valentine’s Day 2015, she came in second in 8.65 seconds.

Since then, Fulton’s been back to Millrose a number of times, but still hasn’t walked away with a win. Next weekend, she will get her chance to change that. Elmont will be competing in both the 4X200 meter and 4X400 meter relays at the 114th Millrose Games at the Armory in Manhattan, and Fulton will be looking to capture that elusive crown.

"This year is one of the years that I’ve worked the hardest to achieve my goals," she said. "So, I’m ready to win Millrose and take it home."

Elmont won the Long Island girls 4X400 meter relay in four minutes, 5.10 seconds at the Millrose Trials on January 12 at The Armory. The team, composed of Fulton, Alexandra Williams, Stephney Pryce, and Andre-Anna Rodney have made their name as the top 4X200 meter relay team in the state. They ran a 1:42.71 at the Historically Black Colleges & Universities Showcase at the Armory last weekend, the top time in the state as of Thursday, according to milesplit.com.

Elmont ran 1:43.14 at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic in December, which was the top time in the state until they bested it last weekend.

"We’re happy that we have the number one time, but we’re not necessarily focused on that," Rodney said. "We’re focused on beating those times and our school record. It’s not something that we’re dwelling on."

But, that doesn’t mean they are above checking. Williams said the team monitors whether or not they’ve relinquished the stranglehold on the top spot.

"We do care about it," Williams said.

So far, it’s been nothing but good news.

"I’m very proud of us," Pryce said. "But, even though it’s the number one time in the state, I feel like we can do a lot better, since we’ve already made so much progress."

Elmont isn’t shy about their goals for the rest of the indoor season. Time-wise, they want to break 1:39.19 in the 4X200. That time, run by Maryland powerhouse Bullis last weekend, was the fastest in the country, as of Thursday.

They also want to win the state championship and take top-3 at New Balance Nationals in March, Fulton said.

With county championships and state qualifiers thrown in as well, it’s bound to be a busy second half of the season for Elmont. But first, it’s all about Millrose.

"We’re looking forward to winning, to be honest," Williams said.

Record-Breaking Del Gandio Top Hurdler in State

There are notes above the door frame in Kate Del Gandio’s Mount Sinai bedroom. The notes are constantly updated, with new times and new goals for the University at Albany-bound senior to hit. Two weeks ago, Del Gandio needed to reach up and replace another number.

She ran an 8.22 in the 55-meter hurdles at a Suffolk crossover meet on Jan. 9 at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. The time broke a 22-year Mount Sinai school record and, as of Thursday, was the top time in the state and the seventh-fastest time in the country.

"I couldn’t contain myself," Del Gandio said of her excitement level when the time popped up on the scoreboard. "I literally started crying because I was not expecting to see that 8.22 show up."

Del Gandio had just missed the record in her previous race, something she stewed over for a week. When it was time to run again, she shattered that now-old record, which was an 8.37, set by Amy Linnen in 2000, according to coach Bill Dwyer.

"I ran an 8.39 and I was very frustrated," Del Gandio said. "…It was a lot of frustration going into practice that week. I pushed myself really hard. We worked on my start to the first hurdle, fixing my arms, and that last drive to the end. The frustration definitely went into it. I remember standing on the starting line (on Jan. 9) and saying ‘lets do this.’ Then I ran one of the best races I’ve ever run in my life."

So what’s the newest number on the post-it note?

"Right now, I want to go sub-8 [seconds] in the hurdles," Del Gandio said. "So, I have a 7.9 written. I’m right there."

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