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Elmont boys track striving to be the best

Elmont's Ayo Obadare takes second in the boys

Elmont's Ayo Obadare takes second in the boys invitational 400-meter dash in a time of 48.49 seconds during the Hispanic Games at the Armory in New York. (Jan. 5, 2013) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Elmont's 4 x 400 relay team has wasted no time making a statement. They want to be the best, they believe they are the best, and, so far, they are the best.

A 3:22.02 finish at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 gave the senior quartet the top time in the country, according to milesplit.com.

The mark was all part of the plan for Chad Barker, Ayo Obadare, Roshane Wright and Brandon Atkins. A 3:25.62 showing at the Bishop Loughlin Games was the previous top time in America before the four improved on it.

"We went in there with a purpose," Atkins said of the Marine Corps meet. "We wanted to run a better time. We had a goal in mind and were aiming high. That's why we did so well."

The group is tightly knit, on and off the track. It is this cohesion and familiarity that gives them the confidence that they can maintain the nation's top mark.

"We're really close," Barker said of his teammates. "If one of us needs something, the other is going to help out. It's the same thing on the track. If one [of us] is slacking, we're all going to pick up for him. That's how we run."

Obadare also has the top individual time in the 300, running a 34.42 at the Bishop Loughlin games -- a number that has held up for three weeks.

The two top finishes have installed a large sense of pride in both Obadare and his teammates. It's not a feeling that they have any desire to lose.

"We've been building for a while just to be where we are at this moment," Barker said. "But, we don't want to stop. We want to keep going."

With the success will come greater pressure. If they were ever an early season surprise, they certainly aren't anymore.

"When you're in front, there's always someone looking at you, trying to knock you down," coach Mike Graham said.

The team not only knows this, they relish it.

"We're trying to stay on top," Obadare said.

So how good can they be?

"Hopefully, the best," Barker said.

They're certainly on their way.

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