Bay Shore's Imani McGhee knows that the time for game playing is past. No longer is she a wide-eyed freshman looking to make a mark. She's not even a sophomore or a junior, deeply lodged in the middle of her high school career. McGhee is a senior and, with her days in the familiar maroon track suit numbered, she knows it's time to get down to business.
"I'm stretching more and holding it for a little bit longer, instead of just fooling around," McGhee said. "I give myself at least 30 minutes of warm-up time, instead of 10 minutes of stretching, just trying to get out there, and pulling something. The more stretching, the better. This is senior year, I have to go big or go home."
So far, she's going big. McGhee won the long jump at the Hispanic Games, held Saturday at the Armory in Manhattan. Despite suffering from a stomach ache early in the day, she flew 18 feet, five and three quarters of an inch.
Although McGhee prefers the long and deliberate warm-up period, she didn't get that luxury Saturday.
"When we came in this morning, we had to run and get our stickers," McGhee said. "It kind of threw us off. But, when I feel like I can't hit the board, I wing it and, as long as I don't foul, it's pretty good. I just try not to look down. I might double-step, but as long as I'm on the board, I'm good."
It was a banner day for all Bay Shore jumpers. Aviana Goode won the high jump, skying 5-5.
"I think my plant foot was good, which got me high over the bar," Goode said. "If you plant your foot down and bring your arm up, then you can get over the bar and it makes you go higher."
A third Bay Shore jumper, Anisa Toppin finished second in the triple jump, going 37-111/2.
Garden City's Jen Gerland won the mile invitational steeplechase in 5:40.90.
"I didn't want to think of the race as a steeplechase, I just wanted to run it like I was running a mile," Gerland said. "I wanted to run over the hurdles, act like there was nothing in front of me, and just keep going."
Gerland said the hurdles act as a mental barrier above all else.
"When you know that they're coming, you slow down," she said. "If you just think of it as a mile, you get into a fast mile mentality."
Manhasset's Tara Belinsky won the shot put, throwing 42-113/4.
Connetquot's Monika Farmer won the 1,500 walk in 7:08.50.