ENDICOTT, N.Y. — Nigel Green was so close he could feel it. This was what he had worked for, dreamed about, obsessed over, and it was finally within his grasp. The Floyd senior, who had fallen just short of victory in both the 100-meter trials and Division I finals, knew that he had one more chance to correct the minor deficiencies that had kept him from glory. He had little time to waste.
“I was getting frustrated,” Green said. “I knew what I had to do and was making the same mistake. It was aggravating, but I had to keep my head up high. My coach was saying to me ‘you can’t stay frustrated. If you want to be a high school champion, you have to play hard like a champion.’ ”
Green finally got it right, at the perfect time. The Southern Connecticut State-bound sprinter won the state Federation 100 title in 10.80 seconds on the second and final day of the state track and field championships at Union-Endicott High School Saturday.
Green was unhappy with his starts in the first two rounds, an ever-important component to any short-sprint victory.
“There was a lack of power coming off the first couple of steps,” Green said. “The first couple steps were very sluggish. In the final, I got a much [better] start.”
Although Green won the public school 300 indoor state title this year, the awesomeness of a Federation championship, one that encompasses all schools regardless of size or classification, was impossible to ignore.
“I remember, three years ago, I was watching others succeed and make this meet,” he said. “I was just sitting at home and watching. It just hurt me so much. It built a fire in my heart to keep training all summer into the fall.”
Huntington’s Kyree Johnson, who ran against Green at many Suffolk County meets, repeated as the 400 champion, winning in 46.88 seconds. Johnson edged Hackley’s Onye Ohia-Enyia (46.95) and Half Hollow Hills West’s Jovahn Williamson (46.96) at the line.
Johnson had barely beat Williamson in the Division I 400 Friday afternoon.
“I felt like it was much harder today because we had to run all-out yesterday,” Johnson said. “I didn’t expect the times to be any better, but I still gave it my all. That’s one race that I just don’t want to lose, especially at the state meet.”
At this point in the year, with legs worn from months of competitive use, winning is less about technique and more about desire and passion. To a degree, any true coaching is finished by the time an athlete gets off the bus. The spring state meet is about showing up and finding a way to get on the podium.
“It came down to who wanted it more,” Johnson said.
Perhaps no one outwardly enjoys winning more than Smithtown East high jumper Daniel Claxton. Claxton, who cleared 7 feet to win his first outdoor Federation title, is a spectacle unto himself, with onlookers clamoring to see how high he can fly.
“I hadn’t even started to clap and I had the whole stadium clapping for me,” he said. “That meant everything.”
Claxton has won three of the last four state Federation championships, encompassing indoor and outdoor track.
Sachem North’s Jonathan Lauer won the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:16.72 and Northport’s 4 x 800 relay team, composed of Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne, Tyler Dollhausen and Dan O’Connor won in 7:42.61.
New York State Outdoor Track and Field Championship
at Union - Endicott HS
Friday and Saturday
100 Hurdles: Chibugo Obichere, Valley Stream South, 14.64. *Division I.
400: Brittany Korsah, West Babylon, 54.44. *Division I
3,000: Brianna O’Brien, Wheatley, 10:04.66 *Division II
4X400: West Babylon (Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins, Paige Keefer, Brittany Korsah) 3:44.60.
Discus: Brittany Curtin, Connetquot, 139-6.
Shot put: Sade Meeks, North Babylon, 44-11.
Triple Jump: Sarena Choi, Westhampton, 39- 7.75.
Pole Vault: Amanda McNelis, Commack, 12-3 *Division I
100: Nigel Green, Floyd, 10.80
110 Hurdles: Anthony Romeo, Oceanside, 14.76 *Division I
400: Kyree Johnson, Huntington 46.88
400: Maurice Teachey Jr, Malverne 48.47 *Division II
3,000 Steeplechase: Jonathan Lauer, Sachem North, 9:16.72
4X800 meter relay: Northport (Isaiah Claiborne, Elijah Claiborne, Tyler Dollhausen, Dan O’Connor) 7:42.61
High Jump: Daniel Claxton, Smithtown East, 7-0.
Long Jump: Kyree Johnson, Huntington, 23-6.5 *Division I
Shot Put: Dan Byrne, Kings Park, 60-0.25. *Division I
Pentathlon: Ryan Cummings, Bellmore JFK, 3,165 *Division I