There was a good-old-fashioned Long Island traffic jam in the 3,200 meters at the Nassau Class A track and field championships Wednesday night at St. Anthony’s High School. It, literally, was almost anyone’s race. But, in the end, it was Manhasset’s Christopher Courts who took the crown.
There is an undeniable flow to almost every long distance race at this level of the sport. Runners go out tightly packed for a lap or two then, by the 1,000 meter split, three or, maybe, four runners have positioned themselves to win.
Wednesday night’s 3,200 wasn’t one of those races. Nearly half of the 14-man field came through the 1,000 split tightly packed . . . and they didn’t let up. Finally, with two laps to go, Courts was able to kick, build a little separation, and hold on to win in nine minutes, 51.75 seconds. East Meadow’s Bryan Villafuerte was second in 9:55.72.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be super fast, because we’re going for the win and not really a time,” Courts said. “So I was expecting it to be packed up for most of it. But, I was expecting it to thin out towards the end.”
It didn’t. Courts may not have expected that, but he definitely wasn’t worried.
“I was pretty confident in my ability to kick because I knew I had the fastest 1,000 time in the field,” Courts said. “It being a slow race actually played to my advantage. I was very comfortable with that. I knew at the end that I had a lot to give, so by the time we got to the end, I just took off and knew I had it.”
Elsewhere, MacArthur’s Timmy Weber won the 1,000 in 2:38.12 and the 1,600 in 4:34.93, Freeport’s Kevon Smith won the 600 in 1:22.12, and Uniondale’s Giordano Williams won the 55 dash in 6.65 seconds.
On the girls side, Syosset’s Mayu Iio won the 3,000 meters in 10:50.30, outpacing Mepham’s Rachel Tucci, who finished second in 10:53.90.
“I tried to stick with the girls who were pushing in the beginning,” Iio said. “After about 10 laps, I slowly started to push myself and I started leading . . . I didn’t want to lead at first because that would have taken away my energy and my goal wasn’t to [hit a personal best], I just wanted to win.”
In the field, Freeport’s Efe Omokeni won the long jump, flying 17 feet, 10 inches and Port Washington’s Alison Turner won the shot put, throwing 33 feet, three inches.