Though the event was in Westwood, California, there were quite a few interested Long Islanders on Saturday when Texas A&M and UCLA ran against each other in a battle of top-10 women’s teams.
Former Kellenberg runners Kim Mackay of UCLA and Jazmine Fray of Texas A&M competed against each other in the 800 meters, providing a local flavor to the meet in Southern California.
Fray won the race in 2:05.72 and Mackay took third (2:10.0).
“It’s funny how me and Jazmine are both from Long Island and meeting down in California. It’s a weird coincidence,” said Mackay, a Seaford product who graduated from Kellenberg in 2011. Mackay spent four years at Princeton, redshirting in one of them, and is pursuing a graduate degree in social welfare at UCLA.
“We never actually raced against each other, so it’s a lot of fun,” said Fray, a freshman at Texas A&M from Freeport.
The two runners were never on the same team, but forged a bond as Mackay remained close with the program and in touch with coach Marty Brown.
Fray broke Mackay’s school records in the indoor 1,000 meters and 600 (by two-hundredths of a second), though Mackay still holds the school record in the 800.
“She was a great role model,” Fray said of Mackay. “I looked up to her, and she definitely helped me as a runner and a person. When she came back to visit on breaks, she gave me tips and told me what college was like.”
When the two runners first met during one of Mackay’s breaks her freshman year at Princeton, she said she was treated “like a celebrity, and I never saw myself like that before. But Jazmine is an awesome runner and if I had any small part in her success, that’s great.”
Both have also found plenty of success at the next level, as Mackay won an Ivy League title in the outdoor 500 while at Princeton and Fray narrowly missed setting a program record in the 1,000 in her first collegiate indoor meet.
Fray added that the connection Kellenberg alumni continue to have with the program is part of what makes “Mr. Brown a great coach. He means a lot to all of us and everybody that has run for him will tell you the same thing.”
“Kim’s always given back and I know Jazmine will do the same,” Brown said. “That’s rewarding and that’s what you want as a coach.”
Of the success the two runners have had in college, Mackay said, “It says a lot about how much we love running, and about Mr. Brown and the track program at Kellenberg.”