BUFFALO - Is there a better way to get a jump on things than to win your featured event against a talented field at your future college's stadium six weeks before classes begin?
Just ask Donna Jeanty.
A 2010 Brentwood graduate, Jeanty will attend the University at Buffalo on a track scholarship this fall.
Jeanty won a gold medal in the open women's 400-meter hurdles (1:03.20) ahead of silver-medal winner Rebecca Kelly (1:04.53) of Bayport Saturday at the Empire State Games.
Jeanty later ran the anchor leg of Long Island's silver-medal winning 4 x 400 relay team and the bronze-medal winning 4 x 100 team.
There's nothing like getting a chance to see what the future could be like. And Jeanty, an All-Long Island selection last spring, said she was sure the Buffalo coaches were watching.
"It feels great because this is where I'll be for the next four years," Jeanty said. "The coaches will get an early chance to see me run again and tell me what I need to work on."
It wasn't the first time Jeanty competed at the venue. She took sixth in the 400 hurdles for Brentwood at the outdoor state championships in 2008.
"Last time I ran here, it was windy and rainy," Jeanty said. "This time, it wasn't rainy, but it was windy. I'm definitely getting used to running here."
Being able to experience campus life for a few days also figures to give Jeanty a head start.
"I saw the dorms I'll be staying in when I took my official visit," Jeanty said. "Now I'm trying to get a better feel for the campus and the best places to get food."
The windy and rainy conditions didn't deter Half Hollow Hills West's Dan McCord on Friday.
McCord won the 200 in 22.24. "I knew I had some of the wind with me on the first turn, so I wanted to take advantage of it," McCord said. "The momentum helped me hold off the rest of the field."
Hewlett's Neil Cohen joined McCord on the gold podium after winning the 5,000 (16:44.59). Kings Park's Brandon Reynolds also took home gold in the shot put (15.59).
Koronios leads scholastic women. Nine Long Island athletes took home a total of 10 medals in scholastic women's events. But none stood out more than Carle Place's Joanna Koronios.
Koronios won gold twice, taking home hardware in the discus (40.09 meters) and the javelin (33.44). Shoreham's Shannon McDonnell won a silver medal in the 800 (2:22.31), Sachem East's Amanda Catherall took home silver in the 1,500 walk (7:51.86). Longwood's Imani White (shot put, 12.6) and Valley Stream Central's Joanne Imbert (high jump, 1.65) each won silver medals.