ITHACA, N.Y. - Winning championships takes more than just speed and stamina. It also takes a tremendous amount of self awareness. Garden City's Emma Gallagher certainly doesn't lack any of that. Gallagher knows her strengths inside and out, and that strength is on full display whenever she runs the 600 meters.
"I'm really strong through the 400 [mark]," Gallagher said. "The final 200, I can hold it when most girls can't. It's a weird distance, but I'm pretty good at it."
Pretty good might be an understatement. Gallagher proved her 600 dominance again Saturday, winning the event in one minute, 34.91 seconds at the state indoor track and field championships at Cornell. It was her third consecutive indoor 600 title, coach Erica Fregosi said.
After the starting gun fired, Gallagher was charged with navigating a crowded field filled with eager runners with championship dreams.
"I had to avoid getting boxed in," Gallagher said. "I just tried to stick myself in front of all of them. I was fine. I just had to make sure I was in front of the pack."
Once the initial wild herd was in Gallagher's rearview, the junior stuck behind Rush-Henrietta's Ceara Watson for the first two-thirds of the race before dashing out in front of her as the final lap began. As the two came barreling down the final straightaway, Gallagher turned her head ever so slightly, checking the status of her run at a three-peat.
"I wanted to make sure [Watson] wasn't coming up on me," Gallagher said. "I wanted to know if I had to push it more and what kind of distance I had on her. I saw that she was coming, but I was fine. I wasn't going for time because it was a slow track, I was just going for the win."
Miller Place's Tiana Guevara, a senior, finished her indoor career with a victory in the 1,500, winning the event in 4:35.42, .08 seconds in front of West Genesee's Laura Leff.
"I've had a really shaky race season because I haven't been racing the way I usually do," Guevara said. "My coach, Fran Sullivan, sat me down and said 'you have to race like you. You have to take it out hard and make everyone work. If they're going to beat you, they're going to beat you when you're gassed.' That's what I did. I stuck to our plan and am very happy about that."
Sachem North's Katie Michta won the 1,500 meter walk in 6:49.44, a race dominated by L.I. Glenn's Alexa Kluepfel finished second in 7:06.67. Connetquot's Monika Farmer was third in 7:08.57.
Bay Shore's Imani McGhee won the long jump, flying 19 feet, two and three quarters of an inch.
Long Island swept the top three places in the 4 x 400-meter relay. Uniondale's unit, composed of Kristina Cherrington, Michala Webster, Ashley Souffrant and Crystal Green ran a 3:58.79. Asia Jinks ran for Green in the relay trials. St Anthony's finished second and Half Hollow Hills East was third.