Walking around in wet shoes is hard enough, but try racing with them. That was the situation Cold Spring Harbor’s Tony Kasper found himself in as he toiled around the track in the 1,000-meter steeplechase at the Seahawk Invitational at Cold Spring Harbor High School Thursday afternoon.
“On the second [water jump], I hit a little more into the water and got it a little above my ankle,” Kasper said. “It’s difficult running with your feet waterlogged. It’s much harder than it seems. Even in spikes, it feels like you’re running in quicksand. It’s tough. It makes you very tired and gets you cold, which is not a good thing to have in a race.”
Wet shoes and all, Kasper was able to put the squishy discomfort aside and win in 3 minutes, 19 seconds.
A hurdler by trade, Kasper runs the event every year at his home meet, but usually not anywhere else.
“It’s a great meet to do it at,” Kasper said. “While I want to focus my main season on the hurdles, it’s a nice break to do something fun that includes some hurdle stuff and a really challenging distance race. I am a cross-country runner in the fall, so I kind of like to do a little bit of everything.”
His experience jumping over hurdles, he said, eases him into the event a little bit — but, for steeple novices, there’s almost nothing else in the sport that can prepare them for the water jump, the event’s signature challenge.
“I think it took quite a few seconds off my time,” Kasper said of his hurdle experience. “A very time-consuming thing, for me, would be to climb over the steeples, which most people do, or at least put their foot on it. When I hurdle, it’s almost like I’m running over it. It doesn’t really take any time at all.”
With only two entries in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, that event became a true one-on-one battle rarely seen anywhere outside a dual meet. Roslyn’s Todd Warshawsky won in 10:44.40 and Cold Spring Harbor’s Robert Becker was second in 10:58.90.
“It was a first for me,” Warshawsky said of the one-on-one competition. “I didn’t really get to warm up well, but I was mainly out here to work on my form . . . It was still a competitive race, for the most part. I still worked hard. I got over the dry barriers well, but I still need to work on the water jumps for next time.”
Kellenberg’s Julia Bryant, in her steeplechase debut, won the girls 1,000 meter edition in 3:32.20. The time broke Kylie Pearse’s 2010 Kellenberg school record of 3:34.4, coach Marty Brown said.
Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Sinead Heaney won the girls 2,000-meter steeplechase in 8:07.70.