The only way to tell Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne apart was by looking at their jerseys. While the Northport twins are fraternal, they look identical, all the way down to their talent. The brothers were all over the track Monday night, running a combined six events and doing a whole lot of winning at the Suffolk large school track and field championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
Isaiah, who wore a blue Northport jersey, won the 3,200 meters in 9 minutes, 37.84 seconds, the 600 in 1:23.03, and was on the 4 x 400 relay team that came in second to Huntington.
Elijah, decked out in white, won the 1,000 in 2:35.85, finished second in the 1,600 in 4:26.67, and ran on the 4 x 800 relay team that came in third.
The two wore different color jerseys because Northport ran two teams in the 4 x 800 and an alternate scheme was needed to differentiate between the two squads.
Isaiah fought back from third place in the 600 and passed Huntington’s Johnathan Smith, who finished second in 1:23.70, with 100 meters to go.
“I wanted to cut [Smith’s] lead going into the third lap,” Isaiah said. “He looked like he was slowing down a little, so I had to capitalize. When I got to the final straightaway, I just knew I had to put my head down and finish strong.”
In the 3,200, Isaiah, ever the tactician, sat in the top pack before moving with 300 meters left and cruising to a relatively easy victory on the final lap.
“My coach [Jason Strom] just wanted me to relax and get ready for the 600, because he knew it would be a tougher time to win that,” Isaiah said. “He just told me stay [up front], relax, and not use too much in the race. So I was happy about that.”
Although Isaiah owns the top time on Long Island in the 1,000, according to milesplit.com, it was Elijah who was able to hold off teammate Dan O’Connor in Monday night’s edition. O’Connor was second in 2:36.36.
“I was just trying to make sure I had a lead and wanted to drop everyone behind me with two laps to go,” Elijah said. “I was scared my teammate was going to catch me on that last lap, so I started pushing myself even further. I didn’t want to get beat. I glanced behind and he was right behind me. So I was worried about that.”
Led by the Claibornes, Northport won the team championship with 69 points. Brentwood was second with 62.
Elsewhere, Longwood’s Jaheim Dotson won the 300 in 36.70 seconds and the 55-meter hurdles in 7.66 seconds. Dotson got off to a quick start in the hurdles and cruised. Bay Shore’s Timothy Roberts was second in 8.14 seconds.
“I got that separation because of my start,” Dotson said. “I wasn’t so good at it [in the beginning of the season], but as I practiced more and more, I was able to get faster and faster and get my start better. Once I got my start better, it just carried through.”
Elsewhere, Whitman’s Aiden Smyth won the 1,600 in 4:24.94 and Brentwood’s Jelani Stoddard won the 55 in 6.59 seconds.