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Halle Hazzard’s leg keys St. Anthony’s relay victory

Alyssa Yeboah-Kodie of St. Anthony's receiving the baton

Alyssa Yeboah-Kodie of St. Anthony's receiving the baton from Halle Hazzard in the CHSAA Sprint Medley Relay at the Millrose Games qualifier held at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory, on Jan. 13, 2016. Photo Credit: Errol Anderson

The CHSAA Girls 1,600 meter sprint medley relay was neck-and-neck for about a leg and a half at the Millrose Games Trials at the Armory in Manhattan Wednesday night. Then St. Anthony’s Halle Hazzard took over.

With a gritty intensity fitting of a champion, Hazzard grabbed the baton from Emily O’Neill and blasted past Kellenberg 100 meters into her 200 meter leg to give her team a commanding lead.

“My main goal was to take it out front and get out as fast as I could,” Hazzard said. “I felt great. I was warmed up and well-prepared.

Her teammates, Alyssa Yeboah-Kodie and Gianna Mincone, finished the job and handed in a four minute, 12.09 second victory.

The win qualified St. Anthony’s for the Millrose Games, scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Armory. Kellenberg, who finished second in 4:13.34, St. John the Baptist, Sacred Heart and Holy Trinity’s SMR teams also qualified for the prestigious event.

St. Anthony’s boys 4X800 meter team, composed of Chris Langer, Freddie Buckholtz, Sean Vierling and Ryan Dearie, also qualified. They won their trials event in 7:59.51.

North Shore’s Diana Vizza won the invitational mile in 4:54.34. Vizza, who established herself as the top distance runner on Long Island during cross country season, edged Germantown Academy’s Abbe Goldstein by .02 of a second.

The close victory represented a turning of the tides for Vizza, who took second in the invitational mile at the Hispanic Games on Saturday, running a 4:58.66 — not enough to edge Jessica Drop of Coginchaug (Connecticut), who ran a 4:57.29.

The loss, Vizza said, caused her to change her race strategy ever so slightly.

“Usually, I’m a very strength-based runner,” Vizza said. “The race last week went out pretty slow. I should have pushed early or in the middle. [Wednesday] I tried to take it out hard in the middle and not let anyone get me. The last 200 meters, I just put everything out there and really focused on my form and the speed that I’ve been developing.”

Huntington’s Kyree Johnson also learned from past mistakes to secure his spot in the Millrose Games. Johnson won the 55 meter dash in 6.45 seconds. Johnson, who ran a 6.43 in the preliminaries, false started while running the same event at the Rhode Island Classic on Dec. 30.

So, when Johnson heard a second gun after the initial start, one that indicated a false start, he was relieved to find out that he didn’t commit the transgression.

“I felt like a weight was lifted off my chest,” Johnson said.

But, even though he wasn’t disqualified, Johnson knew that he still had work to do.

“I pushed my hardest,” Johnson said. “I cleared my mind of every other thought and just thought about winning.”

And he did it twice. Johnson was part of the Huntington team that won the Long Island 4X400 meter relay in 3:20.71 later in the meet.

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