Halle Hazzard threw her arms up in jubilation after crossing the finish line of the girls 55 meters at the state Track and Field championships at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island Saturday afternoon.
It was a rare display of emotion for the St. Anthony’s sprinter who, while rarely without a smile off the track, is a stoic, calm, and a sometimes emotionless force on it. Hazzard doesn’t brag, she doesn’t boast, she just wins.
But this victory was just too special and the time was just too good to be anything less than overjoyed. Hazzard, in her final indoor state championships, won the 55 in 6.86 seconds and the 300 in 38.67 — capping her indoor state championship legacy with two outstanding performances, and a bit of redemption from last season.
Hazzard lost last year’s 55 to Rush-Henrietta’s Lanae-Tava Thomas by .05 seconds. This year, Hazzard beat Thomas by .07 seconds and beat her challenger’s state meet record, set last season, by .08 seconds.
“This is my last ever 55,” Hazzard said. “I was really happy I hit 6.8. That’s been my goal since I’ve started running this . . . It was unreal. I can’t even explain it, I was so happy . . . The 55 is a hard race to get a hang of because it’s such a short race. Getting my state title today means that I know how to run this event. ”
Hazzard said that everything clicked at exactly the right moment, her form finally working like a well-oiled machine. Less is more in sprinting and sometimes Hazzard’s form is so succinct that she doesn’t appear to be moving at all.
“Everything was spot-on,” Hazzard said.
Powered by the euphoria of the 55 victory, Hazzard cruised to 0.67 second victory over West Babylon’s Brittany Korsah in the 300.
“I took off like it was a 55 and just held my form until the end,” Hazzard said.
The St. Anthony’s senior held a minor advantage over the rest of her competition — experience on the Ocean Breeze track. With the facility making it’s state championship debut, many had never stepped foot on the two-year old track surface. But because Hazzard had run a handful of her CHSAA meets there — including two Intersectional championships, she was well-acquainted with the fresh terrain.
“This track is really fast. You feel like you’re flying around those turns,” she said. “It reminds me a lot of The Armory. I liked it a lot better than Cornell [the state championship’s previous location].”
Sachem East walker Lauren Harris was also well-acclimated to the Ocean Breeze track, having set the national 1,500 meter national record there earlier this season.
“It’s really nice here,” Harris said.
Harris, true to form, won the 1,500 walk state championship in 6:27.05. The senior was pushed early in the race by Brewster’s Amelia Cuomo. By the midway point, Harris had opened up a 30-meter lead and, by the bell lap, was in a familiar position — all alone. Cuomo was second in 6:43.03.
“It wasn’t something I was expecting,” Harris said. “[Cuomo] hung around for a long time and, in the end, was really only 15 seconds behind me . . . In a competitive meet like this, when they go out with me, it really pushes me.”
In the field, Westhampton’s Sarena Choi won the triple jump, flying 39-61⁄4, besting the field by more than one foot.
“I think my second phase was really good,” Choi said. “My steps were kind of off, but the rest of it was good.”
Choi combated the ‘step issue’ by trying to jump higher up on her final phase, so she could reach further into the pit.