When Alex Tosi decided to take up steeplechase this spring, he couldn’t find a steeple barrier to use for practice.
The Oyster Bay senior jumped over hurdles instead, only encountering his first steeple when he finally stepped on the track for an April race at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational. It was hardly a problem as he quickly became a top competitor in the county, topping his Long Island season with a win in the 3,000 steeplechase at the Nassau state qualifier in 9:32.37 Friday at North Shore.
“That’s why you probably see my water pit, form-wise, isn’t as good as the other guys usually,” said Tosi, who has run the event five times. “But because of that, I compensate and make it up by running harder on the straightaways to extend the lead.”
Tosi already reached the qualifying time before coming to the qualifiers. Manhasset’s Timothy Courts was second (9:36.03) and Mepham’s Christopher Perillo third (9:49.82).
Tosi had to measure his stamina after Friday’s 3,200 win in 9:30.59. He’ll compete in both at the state championships at Cicero-North Syracuse next Friday and Saturday.
“It was really a matter of feeling it out throughout the race and seeing how much I had left in my legs from [Thursday],” Tosi said. “And I had a lot left.”
Tosi said he enjoys the steeplechase more than the 3,200 because it takes more energy and feels more methodical than the typical distance race on a track. It doesn’t get more grueling than jumping over barriers into water and that played into Tosi’s approach.
“You go over those hurdles and each time you get over it, if you have more endurance, that guy behind you will fall back a little more and he’ll have to try to make it up,” Tosi said.
And once he had gotten over the once unfamiliar hurdle, he was home free down the straightaway.
Freeport’s DeAsia Greer won the 200 in 25.56, narrowly reaching the finish before Valley Stream North’s Angeli Andre (25.63) and Manhasset’s Kiyah Owens (25.70).
“I wasn’t really afraid, more so ‘I’ve got to get there first before you,’ ” Greer said of her mentality.
The win qualified Greer for her first spring state championship in her final season.
“This is my senior year so everything is coming into place,” Greer said.
Calhoun’s Cristin Rodriguez won the 100 hurdles in 15.12 over Valley Stream South’s Chibugo Obichere (15.53). Strong finishes have been normal for the county champion, and she was already set for a state championship appearance. She credited her prerace energy for helping her.
“I was really nervous before I got on the line, but I was excited to see how I’d do,” Rodriguez said.
Port Washington’s Andrew Adelhardt won the 1,600 in 4:25.54 by surging late and then holding off a bigger surge from East Meadow’s Timothy Euler (4:26.65) down the stretch.
“I felt him on my back so I waited for him to come to the 100 and that’s when I went,” Adelhardt said.
North Shore’s Diana Vizza added on to Thursday’s 3,000 win with a victorius 4:29.37 finish in the 1,500.