Long Islanders who won the gold at the state high school track and field meet:
Margaret Atwood, Sachem East
By March, it was almost a formality that Atwood would stand alone atop the podium — but that didn’t make it any less sweet. Atwood, who held the top walk time in the state for practically the whole season, won her first state championship in six minutes, 49.09 seconds.
After sticking with the field for the first two laps, Atwood won by more than 15 seconds — a testament to her season-long dominance.
“I expected the race to go out fast because it was a big meet with a lot of energy,” Atwood said. “A lot of girls went out really hard, but I didn’t want it to scare me. So, I just stayed close and maintained my pace for most of the race. You’re just fighting the clock when you’re up there.”
Because the event is not contested at the outdoor state meet, this was Atwood’s only chance for a state title — and she aced it.
“It feels really great,” she said. “I was looking forward to this meet the entire season.”
Atwood walked to a second-place finish at New Balance Indoor Nationals, good for All-American status.
Chibugo Obichere, Valley Stream South
For the second straight year, Obichere was the top public schools 55-meter hurdler in the state, running an 8.19. Obichere finished second overall in the Federation race. Sophia Myers of the Queens Teaching won in 8.01 seconds.
“It was a great moment to know that I could do it again,” she said.
Obichere’s victory was hardly a surprise. Not only was she the defending public schools champion, but she was the best hurdler on Long Island all season long. The junior ran an 8.04 at the Hispanic Games in early January, a time that held up as the fastest indoor time on Long Island, according to milesplit.com.
Obichere also plays basketball during the winter season.
“I’m happy [with the season],” Obichere said. “With basketball, we made it to the playoffs. We lost in the second round, but it was a big improvement, and [on the track], I was a state champion again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Floyd 4 x 200-meter relay
Kianna Hawkins, Tatianna Kistner, Jade Foster, Antoinette Miller
With fresh legs and full spirits, the Floyd foursome ran the ‘perfect race’ at the perfect time.
“All of our handoffs were really good,” Kianna Hawkins who, along with Tatianna Kistner, Jade Foster, and Antoinette Miller, won the 4 x 200-meter relay in 1 minute, 41.49 seconds. “We didn’t really make any mistakes.”
The time broke the Suffolk indoor record, previously a 1:43.00 run by Bay Shore in 2011, according to Suffolkxctf.com.
While the extreme handoff proficiency was certainly a major factor in the championship, the fact that none of the Floyd four had run an individual event earlier in the day cannot be discounted as a huge advantage.
“We could push ourselves even more,” Hawkins said.
After running the second-fastest time in the prelims, only milliseconds off the pace at 1:41.91, Floyd began to feel confident that they could take it home in the finals.
“We were ready to run,” Miller said. “We knew could drop [the time] if we had better handoffs.”
And that’s exactly what they did.