Only one thing could make qualifying for the 3,200 meters any sweeter for Calhoun seniors Jack Curran and Zach Toner.
Doing it together.
Curran won the race at the Nassau state qualifiers at St. Anthony's Tuesday with a time of 9 minutes, 47.85 seconds, and Toner was second in 9:51.58.
"Coming into this season, we knew if we worked as hard as we could, we could both qualify for states," Curran said. "It's really special. I'm really happy I could do it with him."
Added Toner: "This kid right here is my best friend. It's great."
Curran and Toner met on the middle school track team, but said they became close in the spring of their freshman year.
"We've been running together since freshman year in the spring, and we've been running together every day over the summer for the last three years, seven days a week," Toner said. "When I get on his back, it's just like practice and I just go from there."
That's practically how the final laps of the race played out.
Curran established a substantial early lead, running nearly a half-lap ahead of the field midway through. Toner was battling Syosset sophomore Ryan DePinto for second place, and created space from him down the stretch to give the Calhoun duo the top two seeds.
DePinto also qualified for the state meet with a time of 9:54.27.
"I'm not the fastest guy, so we've been working on speed all season, closing our workouts hard, so I knew if it came down to [the end], I could get it done," Toner said.
Added Curran: "It's amazing. Going first and second in sectionals, knowing Calhoun is the best. We have a really nice squad and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
On the girls side, East Meadow's Amanda Ashe took the 3,000 in 10:23.82. North Shore's Elizabeth Caldwell (10:25.94) was second. Both qualified for the state championships.
"It feels awesome," Ashe said. "I'm so excited to go to the state meet."
The pack was tight for most of the race, as Ashe hung around in the top three, but pulled away in the final few laps by nearly lapping the entire field.
"I just wanted to sit on the first couple girls and then go in the end," Ashe said. "I'm happy that the race played into my favor. Placing was the first thing that mattered."
Garden City girls excelled in other track results, as Katie O'Neill and Emma Gallagher took first and second, respectively, in the 600 with times of 1:35.99 and 1:36.49, and Emily O'Neill won the 1,000 in 2:57.38. Manhasset's Kathryn Hallet won the 55 in 7.51.
Other boys track results included Wantagh's Patrick Quigley winning the 55 in 6.68 seconds, Freeport's Jonathan Greenwood winning the 600 in 1:21.71 and Massapequa's Daniel DeLuna winning the 1,000 in 2:35.80.
In field events, Jericho's Noah White won the boys shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 5 1/2 inches and Tara Belinsky of Manhasset won the girls shot put with a throw of 40-6. Tayvon Hall of West Hempstead took the boys long jump with a jump of 22-1, and Elaina Hobbs of Valley Stream North took the girls high jump at 5-3.
The top two seeds in each event automatically qualified for the state championships except in relay events in which only the winning team qualified for the state championships.
A third-place finisher could qualify for the state championships if he or she had previously recorded a state-qualifying time earlier in the season.