Nothing can stop Freeport's Jonathan Greenwood from winning a race. No matter what the circumstances, the senior will fight through them if a gold medal is waiting on the other side. His performance at Saturday's Knight-Time Invitational at Uniondale High School was a perfect example.
"Friday, I bumped my knee on something," Greenwood said after winning the 800 meters in 1 minute, 58.14 seconds. "It was hurting me the whole race. The last lap, I really started to feel it. But I didn't want to stop, I just wanted to continue and win my race."
Pain wasn't the only thing pushing Greenwood on that final lap. Oceanside's Brian Benesch, who finished second in 1:59.55, crept up behind him on the final straightaway.
"I saw his leg," Greenwood said of Benesch. "That's what motivated me. I thought, 'He's too close. I have to go.' "
Pain, though uncomfortable, isn't a completely unwelcome sensation for Greenwood.
"I kind of like pain," he said. "It motivates me to go farther. Once you start hurting, the pain is good. The next race I run, I'll probably run harder to get past another pain."
He did have another race and he did run just as hard, winning the 400 in 49.77 seconds. Once again, he had to fight off a close competitor. Kiambu Gall of Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn finished second in 49.84.
"I had to chase him down," Greenwood said of Gall. "I never ran with him before. I took it easy, then he came up on the side of me, and I began to kick."
"It was a quick race," Obadare said. "It's mostly just a sprint. But I relaxed a little and a kid caught me. When I saw him next to me, I turned on the turbos."
Obadare rode those turbos to victory in 22.66 seconds, not letting a momentary lapse give the race away.
While Greenwood and Obadare felt the field sneaking up on them, Brentwood's Seamus Maloney had help from other sources as he was being chased down the final straightaway in the 3,200.
"I knew that they were coming for me on the last lap because I heard all my friends yelling that they were right behind me," Maloney said. "I used that to motivate me and push me harder."
Maloney used that push to propel him to a victory in 10:22.65.
"It's a two-mile race, so by that time, I'm in a lot of pain," Maloney said of the final lap. "But I know that if I want to win the race, I have to fight through it. I have to feel that pain. That's what distance running is all about."