Carey’s Gregory Matzelle sprinted down the straightaway, head forward and arms popping as he made his way toward the finish line in under seven seconds in the 55 meters at Tuesday night’s Nassau Class A track championships at St. Anthony’s.
When he crossed it, Matzelle ran to the infield, eyes gazed up at the illuminating scoreboard as he and the five other competitors waited for the final results. He knew it was close, way too close for comfort, and probably way too close for a victory . . . or so he thought.
“I thought I had lost the race,” Matzelle said. [East Meadow’s Tim Gibson] got his head out in front of me.”
They continued to wait, and then wait some more. The race was so close that officials needed to be called up to the scorers table to view photos and determine a winner. A process normally done in under a minute took nearly 10.
Finally, Matzelle was declared the winner, crossing the line in 6.5762 seconds. Gibson was second in 6.5790 seconds, a 0.0028 margin.
As close as close can get.
“I pulled it out because my chest was head of [Gibson’s],” Matzelle said.
Manhasset’s Kiyah Owens won the 55 meters on the girls side, winning by more than decimal points. She finished in 7.43 seconds. Uniondale’s Ayanna Whittaker was second in 7.46.
“I got a really good start in the finals,” Owens, who ran a 7.50 in the semis, said. “ . . . I had a lot of power. I didn’t use blocks. It was the position I was in. I positioned myself correctly. I was in my zone and didn’t let anything distract me . . . I maintained my pace and kept my legs moving.”
The time was a personal best for Owens, breaking her previous top mark of 7.49, she said.
Owen’s teammate, Kayleigh Caggiano, won the 1,000 meters in 3:02.18. Port Washington’s Lucy Hurt finished second in 3:02.89. Uniondale’s Asia Jinks won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.65 seconds. Hempstead’s Niasia Harding took the 300 meters in 41.02 seconds.
Calhoun’s Grace Moore won the 3,000 meters in 10:28.59 and the 1,500 meters in 4:57.22. Moore battled Garden City’s Steph Gerland yet again in the 1,500. The two were separated by under a second in last year’s 3,000, with Gerland taking the title. This year, Gerland finished second in the 1,500 in 4:59.19.
“It was definitely motivation to try and win again this year,” Moore, a senior, said of last year’s 3,000 meter loss. “Especially because this is my last county meet.”
On the boys side, Calhoun’s Elias Platanias won the 3,200 in 9:44.63 and Uniondale’s Christopher Duhaney won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.67 seconds. Port Washington’s Andrew Adelhardt won the 1,600 meters in 4:30.