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Hannon, McCarthy, King, Ridley pace Elmont girls relay

It might be premature to call it mission accomplished for the Elmont 4 x 200-meter girls relay team, but the Spartans certainly are getting close to the place they want to be.

Paced by a strong opening leg from sophomore Valencia Hannon, Elmont ran to a second-place finish in the 4 x 200 in a season-best time of 1:42.71 Saturday at the New Balance Games at the Armory.

Success is nothing new for Elmont's latest sprinters, who took second in the 4 x 200 NYSPHSAA indoor championships last winter. Elmont followed that up last spring as it bought home a NYSPHSAA championship in the 4 x 100.

The key for Elmont will be to maintain the ride it has been on lately.

Saturday, the Spartans, with three runners, including Hannon, junior Ashley McCarthy and senior Cherrelle King, returning from last year's indoor 4 x 200 relay team, didn't seem to miss a beat.

Sophomore Kyla Ridley, who ran the anchor leg Saturday, is the newcomer to the group.

Of course none of Elmont's sprinters were ready to say they were a finished product. They all agreed improving on the little things will make them a championship-caliber sprint team again.

"We need to work on our baton passing and keeping our form," said McCarthy, who ran the second leg. "But this finish definitely gives us more confidence for the rest of the season."

It helps a team's confidence when it runs a season-best time against top competition, which the Spartans did.

Elmont, which took second to Medgar Evers' (Brooklyn) powerful sprint team, easily bested last season's time state championship time of 1:45.47.

"We were hoping to finish around 1:42," Hannon said. "Now we are shooting for 1:41."

King agreed and thinks the team is on its way to bigger things.

"We switched around the first two legs and it worked well," said King, who ran the third leg.

McCarthy initially was on the opening leg, with Hannon on the second leg. The Spartans switched it around with the hope it wouldn't affect the team's chemistry.

"We made the switch so we could get off to a faster start," said Hannon, a short, explosive runner who took second in the 100 meters at the NYSPHSAA championships last spring.

But the team's accomplishments at the New Balance Games won't mean anything if they don't have it together in time for the county championships and state qualifier.

Hannon said: "We just have to do the little things."

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