Consider Rashad Tucker’s Saturday performance as his big announcement.
The Freeport junior took first in 50.27 seconds in the 400 meters at the Nassau Coaches Invitational at Levittown’s MacArthur High School, and he said the result showed that he’s ready to make an impact on the top flight of Long Island track.
“I knew I had to make a statement and prove a point because it kind of felt like I was getting slept on,” Tucker said.
Tucker came out of the opening pack with the lead, pushing around the 200-meter mark to open up more space between him and the field. He surged, holding the distance down the straightaway to the finish.
“I knew I had to take it out fast because I’ve run against a couple of the guys before and they were on the inside lane, so I knew I had to get out on them,” Tucker said. “I tried to set a tone and make everybody chase me.”
An opening appeared for Baldwin’s Ralph Cordeau and Holy Trinity’s Tyler Dingle to make up ground at the straightaway, but Tucker held them off with confidence as he neared the finish. Cordeau took second in 50.50 followed by Dingle in 50.95.
“I took a look at the clock and started running, so I could run sub 50,” he said.
He finished a sliver off that mark, but the early season result showed that he’s a threat for the highest level moving forward — even to possibly place at states, he said.
“I wanted to let people know that I’m here and [this] is the best way to show them,” Tucker said.
Freeport wasn’t done with the 400 after Tucker’s win. DeAsia Greer won the girls race in 57.87 and Ashley Lyons finished second in 59.25.
Greer took the lead from the first turn and seemed to gain strength as the race progressed. After the first 300, there wasn’t much doubt that she’d win, but she still appeared to be getting faster when she hit the finish.
“Sometimes that happens,” Greer said.
The senior said she wasn’t concerned with her place, only with personal improvement and performing to the level she thought she could.
“At the end of the day I have to run my race, and I have to beat my time and better myself,” Greer said.
On the other hand, when the guns goes off, she doesn’t let anything distract from what she’s doing. That includes motivations or who’s behind her.
“You don’t think — everything goes out the window,” Greer said. “You can’t think when you run.”
Garden City’s Stephanie Gerland won the 1,500 in 4:58.05, leading Plainedge’s Joanna DeSousa by a couple meters from the start until the last lap when the leaders separated. DeSousa took second in 5:03.53.
Holy Trinity’s Jeffrey Young won the 110 hurdles in 14.69 and Locust Valley’s Stephanie Reyes won the 100 hurdles in 16.23. Valley Stream North’s Emily Martino won the 400 hurdles in 65.78 and Freeport’s Jordan Brown won the boys in 60.40.