Ellen Byrnes can get used to this sixth lane thing. Normally, the outside lane spells doom in a short sprint — what, with it’s wide turns and poor visibility — but lately, the Sacred Heart speedster has made it her own.
Byrnes, operating out of the far lane because of a second-place finish in the trials, won the 300 meters in 40.69 seconds at the CHSAA Intersectional championships at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island Saturday. Byrnes was a double winner on this day, also taking the 600 in 1:35.90.
Byrnes, who was voted the track MVP of the meet, led the whole way in the 300. As the furthest starter, she had no one to chase during the race, needing to trust that the daylight ahead of her meant she was that much closer to a championship.
“I thought it was really hard,” Byrnes said of the precarious start position. “I was kind of running with no one in front of me, so I just had to go all out. I pushed as hard as I could the whole time . . . I was really working on getting a strong start and holding it the whole time. On the last curve, I felt them catching me, so I just went all out.”
Byrnes’ victory came by inches. Kellenberg’s Camryn Beckford finished second in 40.88 seconds and St. Anthony’s Brianna Burkley was third in 40.92 seconds.
Byrnes found herself in the same position in the 300 at the CHSAA League championships on Jan. 28, with the senior starting in the outside lane and holding on to win, after falling to Burkley in the trials.
“I had the same exact race plan,” Byrnes said. “Brianna and Camryn had such good races [today]. The whole race was so competitive.”
Byrnes’ teammate, Maggie Maier took 18 seconds off her previous personal best and won the 3,000 in 10:00.74.
St. Anthony’s ran away with the team title, scoring 80 points. Kellenberg was second with 39. St. Anthony’s thrower Mikyla Rodgers won the weight throw, tossing 47 feet, 8 1⁄4 inches, and the shot put, throwing 38-4 and was named the field MVP.
Before the meet, Rodgers shifted her shot put throwing style from a shuffle to a glide start.
“I think that gave me more power,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers alternated between the glide and shuffle earlier this winter, but has decided to exclusively use the glide technique for the rest of the season.
Rodgers’ teammate, Bianca Skelton, won the pole vault, clearing 10 feet for the first time — a major milestone for the junior.
“My run was a lot more aggressive, and I planted with my hands higher, which I usually struggle with doing,” Skelton said.
Putting a cap on St. Anthony’s highflying day was Nicole Karabaich, who cleared five feet and won the high jump.