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Salute to the champs: Boys track

Northport's Elijah Claiborne, right, is congratulated after taking

Northport's Elijah Claiborne, right, is congratulated after taking first place in the boys 800 meters at the state track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

110 meter hurdles: Anthony Romeo, Oceanside

For the second consecutive year, Romeo was the best in the 110-meter hurdles in Division I. The Oceanside senior ran 14.51 seconds to capture the state title in the top public school classification. Romeo placed second in the federation race, running 14.39. He was one of the top hurdlers on Long Island, placing second at the Nassau state qualifier in 14.40. He also placed second in the 110 hurdles at the Nassau Class AAA championship, clocking 14.96.

800 and 1,600 meters: Elijah Claiborne, Northport

Claiborne left the state indoor championships in March without an individual title — despite being only inches away from one. Claiborne was clipped at the line in the indoor 1,600 meters, but didn’t let the same thing happen in the outdoor season, winning the federation 1,600 in 4:10.01.

“I didn’t want to lose on a lean again, so I had to make sure that I won that race,” Claiborne said.

A day earlier, he won the federation 800 in 1:52.33.

1,600: Kal Lewis, Shelter Island

When it comes to distance, there isn’t a better small school runner in the state. Lewis started his year with an outstanding cross country season, culminating in a Class D public school state title. A few months later, he added a Division II state championship in the 1,600, clocking 4:15.79. That time was good for eighth in the federation race, making him the top-finishing underclassman and, ipso facto, the returning favorite for next year’s federation race.

Pentathlon: Jack Poplawski, Whitman

No one was more well-rounded this spring than Poplawski. The junior scored 3,555 points to win the federation pentathlon. Poplawski won the long jump (21-11), placed eighth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.76), tied for eighth in the high jump (5-10 3/4), was second in the shot put (43-5 3/4), and was third in the 1,500 (4:29.58).

Poplawski was the top returning finisher from last year’s state pentathlon and made sure a state title didn’t elude him.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Poplawski said, moments after winning. “It probably will tonight or tomorrow.”

Discus: Steven Vasile, Commack

Vasile saved his best for last. The junior entered the state championship meet wanting to hit 174 feet in the discus, allowing him entry into the championship division at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. He did that on the first day of the state meet with a mark of 174 feet, nine inches on his second throw of the Division I competition. That won him a state title.

One day later, he tossed 177-7 on his opening throw to win the federation title.

High jump: Vladislav Cullinane, Babylon

Make it 2-for-2 for Cullinane. The Babylon senior won his second high jump state title of the year, clearing six feet, eight inches. He won the indoor state title, clearing 6-7 in March.

Cullinane said he got off to a rocky start this spring, a combination of poor weather and a technique in transition keeping him down. But, after working with a private coach, it all came together at the right time.

“I wanted to increase my speed around the curve,” he said. “I also worked on holding my back arch a little bit longer, so I wouldn’t snap too early and hit the bar.”

Triple jump: Jadan Hanson, Uniondale

Hanson’s quest for a state championship came down to the wire but, when it mattered most, the sophomore made it count. Hanson jumped 48 feet, 5 3/4 inches on his final try to win the triple jump.

“I was in third place going into our last jump,” Hanson said. “On my last jump, I had to give it my all because it was basically my last jump of the season . . . I hit the mark that I wanted to hit and got first.”

Triple jump: Sebastian Pereira, Southampton.

Pereira took his Suffolk dominance upstate and almost nothing changed. The senior won the Division II state triple jump title, jumping 49 feet, 1 3/4 inches on his sixth jump of his competition. Pereira placed third in the federation competition, going 47 feet, 1 1/2 inches. A week before his Division II triumph, Pereira won the triple jump at the Suffolk state qualifier, going 48 feet, 11 inches, and the long jump, going 22 feet, nine inches.

4x800 relay: St. Anthony’s (Brendan Dearie, Matthew Payamps, Michael Barbaro-Barnett, Mason Gatewood)

In what was perhaps the most exciting race of the entire state meet, St. Anthony’s went from last place to breaking the tape in seven minutes, 45.78 seconds. Gatewood ran a 1:51.06 anchor leg, outpacing Northport and bringing the Friars their second 4x800 relay championship of the school year. They won the same event in the indoor season.

All four of the relay members skipped individual events so they could be fresh for the relay.

“We always said we wanted to win a relay at a state championship,” said Payamps, who ran a 1:53.27 third leg. “It’s all about the team for us.”

4x800 Relay: Northport (Dan O’Connor, Thomas Fodor, Sean Ryan, Elijah Claiborne)

Only hours after winning the 1,600 and a day after taking the 800, Claiborne gave all he had on the anchor leg. It wasn’t enough to win the federation championship, which went to rival St. Anthony’s, but it was enough to give Northport their second public school 4x800 title of the school year — this one coming in the Division I classification. They also won the public school indoor state title. Northport finished in 7:45.79 in the outdoor state title race, thanks to a quick 1:53.46 from Claiborne.

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