Bayport-Blue Point walked on- to the track at Connetquot High School Wednesday, winners of the last two Division III championships. The Phantoms were filled with pride. They were filled with desire. But, they were also filled with doubt.
"We didn't think we had a chance to win," senior Sam Triani said. "We lost a few girls who were very important to our county championship last year. We thought a few other teams had a lot better chance."
But, after a whirlwind meet packed with enough twists and turns to cause whiplash, Bayport walked off the track and onto the bus with its championship streak intact -- a 113.5-111 winner over Miller Place.
"We were supposed to lose by about 20 points," Courtney Dooley said. "Miller Place is a very dominant program. Winning it and pulling off a big upset is a great feeling. Miller Place beat us in counties in both cross country and winter track. We said 'that's not happening again.' That was a big motivator."
Bayport trailed Miller Place 110-103.5 entering the final event. The Phantoms needed a big performance from their 4X400 relay team to have any shot at the title.
"I wasn't nervous at all," Dooley said. "We're defending state champions in the 4X4, so I had that in my mind. We should have been able to win counties."
And they did. The quartet, composed of Triani, Dooley, Casey Hasher, and Kathleen Cibuls, won in 3 minutes, 59.82 seconds, earning 10 points and winning the meet. The time was a Division III county meet record, according to coach Vin Ungaro.
"We could breath again," Hasher said of the victory. "It was such a relief."
Dooley also won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:29.54, navigating through some tough waters -- literally.
"On the last lap, I fell into the water pit," Dooley said. "I was fully submerged. But, I got back up and still had a pretty big lead. I swam up a little bit, kept jogging, and finished."
Cibuls won the 400 in 58.08. Junior Kerri Nickel won the pentathlon, scoring 2,522 points.
Soaked to the skin or not, every Phantom felt a large sense of relief and gratification once the meet ended.
"This was definitely different from all the other county meets that we've won," Triani said. "The other meets we sort of knew that we were going to win going into them. They didn't mean as much as this one. We wanted this one more than anything."
Bay Shore won Division I, topping Sachem North 106-95.33.It was Bay Shore's third straight Division I title and its 10th in 13 years, according to coach Steve Borbet. Nailah Braxton won the pentathlon with 2,831 points. Anisa Toppin won the long jump, going 19 feet, one-half inch and the triple jump in 38-feet-41/2.
North Babylon won the Division II crown. Jessica Scheriff won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:05.68, and Danae Glover won the 400 hurdles in 1:02.46.