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Farmingdale sets school record in girls distance medley relay

Tara Mandel of Farmingdale anchors her team to

Tara Mandel of Farmingdale anchors her team to victory in the girls distance medley relay during the Massapequa Invitational at Massapequa High School on Friday, May 13, 2016. Credit: James Escher

It wasn’t exactly record-breaking weather, but that didn’t matter much to the Farmingdale girls distance medley relay team. By now, pretty much every runner on Long Island is accustomed to less-than-ideal conditions. The spring season, with all its falling rain and bone-chilling winds, has been as much about looking for warmth as it has been about looking for wins.

But, when given the choice, Farmingdale would pick wins over anything, especially when that win was accompanied by a school record. The DMR team, composed of Jackie Hilbert, Zoe Zebersky, Cristina Maher, and Tara Mandel, won in 13 minutes, 28.10 seconds at the soggy Massapequa Under the Lights Invitational on Friday.

The time broke the s school mark of 13:48, set in the late 1990s, Farmingdale coach Katie Dunn said.

Thoughts of breaking the record began rather innocuously. The team was looking at the board that displays all the top marks in the program’s history earlier this week. As their eyes moved up and down it, the DMR record jumped out at them, as if beckoning to be broken.

“We wanted something that was attainable, but challenging,” Zebersky, who ran the 800 meter third leg in 2:40, said. “We looked at that one and it seemed like something that was doable.”

Mandel led off the record-breaking race with a 1,200-meter leg in 4:17.

“I have a tendency to go out too fast and die out at the end,” Mandel said. “I wanted to stay with the first girl and try not to pace at all. It started out slow, but it got faster.”

Hilbert, who ran the 1,600 meter anchor leg in 5:24, got the baton in third place, approximately 65 meters behind the leader.

“I was just trying to keep my position and get the girl in front of me,” Hilbert said. “I slowly worked my way up towards the front. I just tried to keep my pace and push it at the end. I focused on sprinting the last straightaway.”

And sprint she did. Hilbert took the lead in the final 200 meters.

The weather, which featured pouring rain at points and damp conditions throughout (so much so that meet organizers began selling socks to warm runners’ uncomfortable feet), wasn’t much more than an annoyance, Hilbert said. With temperatures in the mid-50s, the runners could feel could feel all their extremities, which hasn’t always been the case this season.

“The temperature was perfect for running,” Hilbert said.

Farmingdale’s Njaure Ewa won the long jump, flying 16 feet, 9 1/2 inches. East Islip’s Jackie Ginty won the 100 meters in 12.67 seconds. Massapequa’s Taylor Rettig won the 1,500 in 4:45.62.

Sachem East’s Matt Patsy, Nick Pandolfo, Andrew Campbell, and Brandon Guerrera won the boys distance medley relay in 11:12.30. Lawrence’s Noah Serrette won the 400 hurdles in 58.58 seconds. Serrette was the only runner in the event to break one minute.

Wyandanch’s Ben Pernell won the 100 in 11.26 seconds. Riverhead’s Luke Coulter won the 1,600 in 4:17.67.

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