Southampton’s Spencer Crough knows the importance of knowing. He knows himself. He knows his race. And, perhaps most importantly, he knows his opponents. So, when Bayport - Blue Point’s Victor Garifo sprinted way ahead of the pack midway through the Suffolk Division III 800-meter championship, Crough knew that the race wasn’t over yet.
“Coming around the 500 mark, I knew [Garifo’s] lead was growing, but he’s more of a distance guy and I’m middle distance,” Crough said. “I knew I had a good kick and I was hoping I could catch him on the final stretch.”
That kick, and the knowledge that the race had still another ebb before it flowed home, was enough to carry Crough to victory. The junior kicked with approximately 250 meters left, flying past Garifo and across the finish line in 2 minutes, 0.71 seconds on the first day of the Suffolk boys track and field division championships Monday afternoon at Centereach High School. Garifo was second in 2:01.80.
“I know from over the years how [Garifo] runs,” Crough said. “Fortunately, I was familiar with most of the guys in my heat . . . I think that really is helpful. You know which guys you can stick with and help pace throughout the race. I think that went to my advantage today.”
Riverhead’s Luke Coulter took the Division II 800 championship in 1:55.27. Coulter used his kick in the final 150 meters to outpace West Islip’s Kyle Kelly on the final straightaway. Kelly was second in 1:55.46.
“I was expecting to be in third place by the 400-meter mark,” Coulter said. “That’s exactly where I was. They started kicking there. I just held back and let them do their thing. Then, at the 150 mark, that’s when I turned it on and finished it up.”
Sachem North’s Christopher Tibbetts won the Division I 800 in 1:55.56.
Bay Shore’s Jeffrey Reyes stayed a few strategic feet behind Ward Melville’s Mike Reilly for most of the Division I 3,200, before blowing past him with 200 meters left, en route to a 9:34.37 victory. Reyes ran a 58.1 final lap, coach Kurt Langer said. Reilly was second in 9:38.21.
“That was the plan,” Reyes said. “My coach told me that it was going to be a tactical race. There was no point of leading the race if you don’t have to run a personal best.”
Smithtown West’s Michael Grabowski won the Division II 3,200 in 9:42.37 and Westhampton’s Jack Ryan took Division III in 9:48.20.