Alex Colletti of Garden City stays ahead of the pack...

Alex Colletti of Garden City stays ahead of the pack in the boys 600-meter run during the Nassau indoor track and field state qualifiers at St. Anthony's on Wednesday. Credit: James Escher

The race started long before the gun, long before the buses started and long before the school day. The race began earlier this week at Alex Colletti’s house. It was there that the Garden City junior sat, watching videos of past races run by Syosset’s Jake Miller.

Miller was someone he hadn’t raced before, but he soon would. Colletti needed to be prepared and, when the gun went off in the 600 meters at the Nassau indoor track and field state qualifier on Wednesday night at St. Anthony’s High School, it was as if he had run against him all season.

"I’ve got to do my homework," Colletti said. "His past few races, he would always situate himself at the back of the pack and kick the last two [laps]. I knew, probably, what he was going to try to do this time. I just tried to hang in there."

Colletti knew that Miller would not fade and, as a consequence, didn’t let up on the gas as he held him off in the final stretch of the 600 meters, winning in one minute, 24.69 seconds. Miller was second in 1:25.08.

"He’s more of an 800 guy," Colletti said. "So, he still had that strength on the last lap to out-kick guys who don’t run a smart race and go out too hard. When I was leading after the first two [laps], I knew that I’d be seeing him on the last lap."

Both runners qualified for the state championships, scheduled for March 5 at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island.

"I guess that’s the prize for winning the state qualifier – two more weeks of training," Colletti said. "But I’m super excited. Ocean Breeze is a fantastic track, I’ll race against super good guys and hopefully can drop a fast time."

Colletti said that watching videos of opponents helps him anticipate moves.

"I like to visualize the race one or two days before, just to play through scenarios," Colletti said. "If something happens, hopefully I’ll be expecting it and can react."

Elsewhere, Oceanside’s Trevor Rinn held off Jericho’s hard-charging Alex Kasper to win the 1,600 in 4:28.18. Kasper, who looked to be fading in the final 300 meters, found another gear at the 150 mark and barely missed catching Rinn. The Jericho senior was second in 4:28.71.

"I did not hear him at all," Rinn said of the final lap. "But I’m just happy that I trusted my kick and kept pushing until the end. I knew if I let up, he would pass me."

Earlier in the meet, Kasper won the 3,200 in 9:50.75.

Freeport’s Kazeem Scott won the 55 in 6.64 seconds, Seaford’s Anthony Munro won the 55 hurdles in 7.91 and Uniondale’s Brandon Robinson breezed to victory in the 300, winning in 35.96.

In the field, Valley Stream North’s Ryan John won the triple jump, flying a state-best 47 feet, seven inches. The jump topped his previous season-best of 47 feet, ½ of an inch, which was the top mark in the state until he bested it, according to milesplit.com. John, a Clemson commit, also won the long jump (21-11).

Great Neck North’s Adam Namdar cleared 6-4 to win the high jump, equaling his mark from last week’s Nassau Class B championships. He remained tied with five other jumpers at the top of the state leaderboard, according to milesplit.

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