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Colabella wins mile at UTL Invitational

Hauppauge High School senior Ryan Colabella legs out

Hauppauge High School senior Ryan Colabella legs out the final stretch of the Suffolk County varsity boys cross country Class A championship race at Sunken Meadow State Park. Credit: James Escher

All week, the Hauppauge boys track team gave Ryan Colabella grief about one thing: pizza.

Colabella was entered in the "Born to Run" mile at Friday night's Massapequa Under the Lights Invitational. The rules: win the race before Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" -- a song lasting 4 minutes, 31 seconds -- ends, and win a pizza party for your team.

"Everybody was just joking around about it," Colabella said with a laugh. "My coach didn't really keep it a secret to the rest of the team."

With the race -- and a pizza -- on the line, Colabella delivered. The senior used a late kick with 500 meters to go to win the late-night race in a personal-best 4:23.5. And as an added bonus, because he finished before the song ended, he earned the much-desired pizza party for his Eagles teammates.

Colabella stayed at the back of the pack for the early part of the race as the field came through in a 64-second 400 split. He made his move approaching the final lap, outkicking the field and opening up a gap on second-place Eric Ratner of Clarke (4:25.1) with 100 meters to go.

From then on, it was Colabella vs. Springsteen -- though Colabella insisted that he wasn't paying attention to the song.

"I wasn't even really listening," said Colabella, whose previous personal best was 4:26. "It was all about winning. I just wanted to focus on the race."

The free pizza that he and the rest of the Eagles will enjoy next week won't hurt, though.

Said Colabella of his teammates, "They're going to love me now."

Earlier in the meet -- when the sun was still out -- an under-the-weather Joe Caraciolo of Massapequa fought off a 101-degree fever to win the long jump (22-7 1/2). Alex Williams of Wyandanch took second (20-1 1/4).

Caraciolo was hoping to top his Long Island-best 23-4 but couldn't complain about how his evening went.

"Being sick definitely didn't make things any easier," Caraciolo said. "But jumping 22-7 1/2 like this is just awesome."

In the girls meet, Northport's Stephanie Quinn used a well-timed lean at the finish line to take the 400 hurdles. Quinn clocked a 1:06.8, just two-tenths of a second ahead of Olicia Williams (St. Anthony's). Riverhead's Destiny McElroy took third in 1:07.9.

"After that last hurdle, it just came down to who could finish the strongest," Quinn said. "It was nice to know that I had that little bit extra left in me."


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