Jean Love of Westbury, left, competes in the boys 4x200...

Jean Love of Westbury, left, competes in the boys 4x200 relay during the U.S. Air Force Hispanic Games at the Armory in New York, NY on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Credit: James Escher

Needless to say, it was a long day for the Bay Shore boys 4x800-meter relay team. It started with a 5 a.m. wake-up call, then a 5:50 a.m. train, and a long, almost endless day watching teammates and competitors alike run around the most famous oval in Washington Heights.

But, a little after 8 p.m., everything fell into place and the 15-hour wait became worth it. Perry Balsamo, Darin Cofield, Jake Rabin and Nolan Kata, won the race in 8 minutes, 10.46 seconds in the final boys event of the Hispanic Games at the Armory in Manhattan.

The time is third fastest in the nation this season, according to

“It gets me a little nervous, waiting all that time, but we brought it today,” Kata said.

Kata said that his day was full of Netflix, music, and ‘getting in the right head space’ before the big finale. It would have been easy for Kata to be a little sluggish once he finally got on the track, but any fatigue he had washed away instantly.

“When you step on the track, it’s a different feeling,” he said. “You lose everything. It’s just running for the race.”

Kata had the entire day to prepare for the relay. His teammates ran individual mile races early in the morning, but still had an entire afternoon and most of an evening to wait around.

“My coach just told us to try and stay off our feet to rest our legs,” Balsamo said. “So, we were kind of just hanging around.”

Elsewhere, Westbury’s 4x200 team, composed of Naquan Frazier, Jean Love, Isaiah Allen, and Jarvis Kuunifaa, placed third in 1:31.40. Maryland’s Eleanor Roosevelt won in 1:30.39.

“We wanted to just put a message out in the world that Westbury is coming,” Frazier said.

Allen also finished third in the triple jump, flying 45 feet, 4 inches. Sean Dixon-Bodie from Connecticut Bloomfield won in 51-6 1/2.

Oceanside’s Jonathan Gamarra was second in the invitational 400 in 49.41 seconds, .44 behind the winner.

In the field, Massapequa’s Nick Bianco and East Meadow’s Brandon Love tied for third in the pole vault, clearing 14 feet. Wallkill’s Louis Martinez cleared 15 feet to win.

“Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been mainly focusing on my plant,” Bianco said. “I’ve been a little wobbly. I’ve been holding the pole and it’s been shaking as I plant it. I’ve been really trying to get it in firmly, so I can get off the ground a lot better.”

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