Hauppauge's Nick Crociata takes his team to a first place...

Hauppauge's Nick Crociata takes his team to a first place finish in the mile medley relay at the Massapequa Under the Lights track and field Invitational at Massapequa on Friday, May 12, 2017. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

When Nick Crociata isn’t sure how a race went, he doesn’t just look at the clock, gauge how his body feels, and talk to his coaches. These are all fine tactics, but not fine enough for the Hauppauge senior. No, Crociata goes to the videotape.

Crociata’s parents record all of his races and then, after careful analysis, he uploads them to YouTube, linking the videos to his own channel, aptly named ‘Crociata Track Channel.’

“On the finishing laps, I see if I could have had more [energy left] by the way I act after I finish the race,” Crociata said. “If I’m down on the ground, obviously I had nothing left. But, if I’m standing up and talking to people, then I know I could have finished stronger and maybe I could have started my move a little earlier.”

Normally, he watches each race once or twice. But, there’s one race he’s watched just a tad more than that. Crociata finished fourth in the 600 meters at the state indoor championships at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island in March.

“I could have come out a little faster, maybe get ahead of the pack instead of having to collapse on it and getting tripped up by a couple of guys in the pack,” said Crociata, who ran it in 1 minute, 22.12 seconds and finished a little over a second off the pace. “Maybe if I led or stayed close to the front the entire time, and then just outkicked everyone, it could have been a different outcome. But, every race is a learning process and that one was a big one for me.”

Crociata will have a chance to make a new tape this March, and if things break right, he might be replaying it for the rest of his life. The senior is the top returning finisher from that race, making him the early favorite for state gold. In fact, he is the top returning finisher on Long Island in any state indoor event.

“I feel pretty confident that I can come home with that state title,” Crociata said. “I’m definitely feeling stronger then I was last year at this point . . . I’m hoping to take the state by storm.”

Crociata has already started strong. He won the 600 in 1:22.37 at the North Shore High School Season Opener Dec. 1 at The Armory in Manhattan.

He hopes this is only the beginning of a memorable season, filled with school-record breaking performances and Suffolk County dominance. Crociata is the defending Suffolk Small School County Champion, running a 1:22.10 on Feb. 4.

Although he plans to dabble in both the 1,000 and 300, the 600 is Crociata’s race, and he’s not about to let it go without a fight.

“I kind of have the mentality that it’s my race and my county,” he said of the 600. “If you want to come up and challenge me for it, good luck to you. But, it’s mine.”

He’s hoping to hold onto it for the whole season, and finally, when he looks at the tape of his final indoor race, be watching a champion.

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