So often a race is defined by either a fast start or a big kick, but for Samantha Law, a consistent pace was the key to victory at the Nassau AA championships Thursday at Glen Cove.
The Great Neck North sophomore got in front of the pack at the start and slowly built her lead before cruising into the 1,500 finish at 5:02. She had a 40-meter advantage to work with for most of the race and kept in mind her coach’s advice to focus on pace instead of time on a warm afternoon.
“That was the strategy — just to go out, keep up a consistent pace and then just hold on and hope for the best,” Law said.
Law, who also won the 800 in 2:18.03, said she typically comes around the first lap near 70 seconds, but ran it at 74. That wasn’t the easiest strategy for someone who likes to stay ahead of the pack regardless of circumstance. But it worked.
“I was able to keep the pace consistent,” Law said. “That was helpful.”
Mepham’s Carissa Kahn took second in 5:11.35 and Alexis Tillman was third (5:16.05). Both were a kick away from closing the gap and making Law’s lead disappear. To combat that, coach Joe Bonvicino yelled out her difference as she made the laps.
On the boys’ side, Manhasset’s Timothy Courts went out with a different approach but came back with the same result in the 1,600. While others vied for the lead most of the race, he stayed in the pack and relied on a strong kick over the last lap to take first in 4:28.52.
“We figured that anybody who went out fast was going to come back when the heat started getting to him,” said Courts, who tried to run even splits.
But when New Hyde Park’s Julian DePaz didn’t relinquish his top spot going into the final 400, Courts said he decided he had to go to him. He unleashed his full sprint with 150 remaining for the lead, while Garden City’s Trevor Marchhart came in second in 4:29.87. DePaz was third in 4:32.30.
Manhasset’s Catherine Matteo won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:36.99 over Plainedge’s Joanna DeSousa (7:41.74) by slowly making gains on the competition and holding onto a lead late with one last efficient clearance over the water pit.
Hewlett’s Patsy Iannico won the 400 hurdles in 1:09.69 after falling at the first hurdle. Mepham’s Anthony Bolic won the 3,000 steeple in 10:38.89 and Mepham’s Jeremy Lissade grabbed the 100 title in 10.85.
Hewlett won the girls team title with 85 points ahead of Garden City (78) and Manhasset (61). Manhasset (78) won the boys title, Mepham was second (62) and Roosevelt third (42).