To claim the 4x800 meter relay state title this year, competitors will have to fight off not only one Lewin sister, but two. The Kellenberg 4x800 team is a Lewin sandwich, with freshman Maureen leading off, and Deirdre, a senior, running anchor. With Julia Bryant and Nora Bennett in the middle, the Firebirds took the CHSAA intersectional championship in 9:44.25 Feb. 13 on Staten Island and qualified for the March 5 state high school meet at Cornell University.
Deirdre Lewin also qualified in the 1,000 meters, winning at the intersectionals in 3:00.47.
Though she had competed in CYO events, Maureen had not run high school track before this year. With an older sister and two parents who loved to run, she said that she wanted to try it while Deirdre was still on the team.
“I’ve really enjoyed the whole year so far,” Maureen said. “I got to try a lot of new races that I didn’t know I would enjoy.”
The 4x800 relay is certainly one of those. Maureen ran her way onto the team at the Molloy Stanner Games in mid-January and has been a staple on it ever since, using her toughness and determination to make sure she hands off at, or near, the top of the pack.
“I have never seen her give up in a race,” Deirdre said. “That’s something really important that you need to be successful. She works so hard and I think that will pay off in the future. But, just for a freshman, she’s been incredible. She’s probably one of the fastest freshman in the Catholic league and one of the fastest freshman “800” runners in the state. I’m excited to see how she’s going to do the rest of this year. I know she’s going to do great things throughout her high school career.”
Entering Tuesday, Maureen ranked fourth in New York among freshman in the 800 meters, running a 2:25.32, according to milesplit.com, in January’s freshman 800 meters at the Ocean Breeze High School Invitational.
Deirdre has tremendous confidence entering the 4x800 in the state championships, calling this year’s edition of the relay team the best she’s been a part of. As the lone senior on the team, she relishes her role as anchor and team leader and was especially proud of ralling the Firebirds by overtaking Susann Weir of Staten Island Notre Dame in the intersectionals.
“I got the batten in second and was 60 meters behind,” she recalled. “I knew that we had to win the relay to qualify for states. That was a big responsibility. But, I caught [Weir], which was exciting. It’s a bigger responsibility, but I love it … I love being challenged and I loved catching that girl. I knew I could do it.”
Entering Tuesday, Kellenberg had the second fastest 4x800 meter time on Long Island, running a 9:28.67 at the Armory Track Invitational. Sachem East had the top time, running a 9:19.15 at last weekend’s Millrose Games, according to milesplit.com.