Passing Sabrina Spezia? Not gonna happen — and the St. John the Baptist senior let her opponent know it.
With a little more than 300 meters to go in the 1,500 meters at the CHSAA Intersectional track and field Championships Saturday at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in Manhattan, Archbishop Molloy’s Grace Murphy stepped slightly in front of Spezia.
It was a predictable move from the challenger, one the accomplished distance runner expected, but it still inspired an audible reaction.
"When she was trying to pass me, I did yell ‘no’ at her," Spezia said. "I just kept thinking, ‘I worked too hard this season to give up.’ I was going to die trying at the end."
Almost as soon as Murphy took the advantage, Spezia reclaimed it and held off her competition down the home straightaway. Spezia won in four minutes, 55.75 seconds and Murphy was second in 4:56.02.
"I just kept pushing everything I had," Spezia said. "She’s an amazing runner, so I was a bit worried."
Spezia closed with a 1:12.69 final lap, barely outpacing Murphy, who went 1:12.76 in the final 400.
St. Anthony’s won the team championship with 60 points. Kellenberg was second with 55.
Melissa Cunningham of St. Anthony's won the 200 in 25.60 seconds, blowing past the field at the starting gun and never letting up. Her performance in the finals wasn’t much different from her blazing fast trial run, where she clocked a 25.72.
"I’ve been working on my drive phase, so I’ve been trying to get out the first 50 meters while staying low to the ground, pounding the ground without popping up as [quick]," Cunningham said. "In my prior race, I’ve popped up really fast, which added on time."
Competitors had to deal with March-like weather for the Memorial Day weekend meet. Rain pounded the track for most of the morning, only to be replaced with cold, gusty winds in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the low 50s, but it felt a lot colder.
"It was insane," Cunningham said. "It feels like February again. When I was running the 200, right when I got out of my drive phase, I felt a gust of wind hitting me and I was like, ‘I just have to power through.’ I’ve been doing some parachute training, so that helped as well."
Cunningham’s teammate, Sarah Dolphin, won the 400 in 59.97 seconds. St. Anthony’s 4 x 100 meter relay team, composed of Giavanna Ciaravino, Erin Conte, Amanda Desenchak, and Felicity Permenter-Davis, won in 51.16 seconds. St. Anthony's 4 x 800 team, composed of Angelina Desjardin, Emma Rodriguez, Kelly Parker, and Riley Griffith, won in 10:27.71.
Elsewhere, Holy Trinity’s Logan Daley won the 100 in 12.74 seconds.
In the field, St. Anthony’s Marisa D’Angelo won the pole vault, clearing nine feet. Teammate Jacqueline Borruso won the discus, throwing 87 feet, two inches. Kellenberg’s Olivia Spirakis won the triple jump (29-9 ¾).