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Cavanaugh, Belot lead Kellenberg to track glory

Kellenberg teammates Katie Cavanaugh, left, and Odrine Belot

Kellenberg teammates Katie Cavanaugh, left, and Odrine Belot take first and second, respectively, in the girls 100 meter hurdles at the CHSAA Intersectional track and field championships. (May 26, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Kellenberg hurdlers Katie Cavanaugh and Odrine Belot have a running joke between them: If they were ever to be conjoined into one super-hurdler, they would be unstoppable.

"We know each other's strengths and weaknesses," Cavanaugh said. "Odrine has a good stride, I have a good finish, and we both get out to good starts. So if we combined, we'd be like the ultimate hurdler."

Until there's a major scientific breakthrough, they'll have to settle for just being the two best hurdlers in the CHSAA.

Cavanaugh set a meet and school record in the 100-meter hurdles as Kellenberg cruised to its first CHSAA outdoor intersectional championship in six years Saturday at Randalls Island. The Firebirds scored 75 points, 17 points ahead of second-place St. Anthony's.

Cavanaugh finished in 14.24 seconds for the victory. Belot finished not too far behind -- she took second in 14.32, a near-dead heat.

"It feels so good, especially because last year, Michelle [Anthony] and I were so close," said Cavanaugh, a senior. "I don't think I ever beat her in a race, but now to come back and do what she did makes me feel so proud."

Cavanaugh and Belot both had quick starts and ran stride for stride through the halfway mark. True to her strength, Cavanaugh finished strong over the last few hurdles to nose her teammate for the win.

"It was such a good race," Belot said. "We were both clean over the hurdles, too."

Belot was one of two double-winners for the Firebirds, winning the 400 hurdles in a personal-best 1:03.62 and the triple jump in 39 feet, 23/4 inches to earn most outstanding field performer.

"My last jump felt really good," the senior said. "Last year, I went to states jumping 38 feet, and I ended up jumping a 39. So after this, I feel like I can hit high-39s or maybe 40 feet."

Kellenberg's Jazmine Fray -- named most outstanding track performer -- won the 800 in 2:14.00 and the 1,500 in 4:44.05. Teammate Ashlin Conroy won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:16.91 and ran first leg for the second-place 4 x 800 (9:46.16) relay team.

"My coach told me that for the state meet, I needed to get a good time so I could be in the better heat," said Conroy, who broke her personal record of 7:22 in the steeplechase. "I definitely wasn't expecting a personal best at all."

Natalie Jean finished second in both the shot put and the discus to round out a well-balanced Firebirds victory.

"We're a true track and field team," Kellenberg coach Marty Brown said. "Chemistry is important to winning, and we have great team chemistry."

Now if those chemists could just get around to creating that super-hurdler . . .

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