It took a while for the St. Anthony's boys 4 x 800-meter track team. Thirty years to be exact.
But the Friars' foursome of Marc Saracino, Patrick Murphy, Brandon Keany and Peyton Hazzard took first in the Millrose Games CHSAA 4 x 800 in 8 minutes, 13.44 seconds at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, beating rivals Chaminade and Kellenberg.
The race was up for grabs as Staten Island's St. Joseph by the Sea and St. Anthony's traded leads for the first two legs.
Kellenberg's Michael Cook made a bold move to put the Firebirds in first on the anchor leg, but Hazzard kicked it into high gear on his final lap and blew past the field, leading the Friars to the victory.
It was the first time since 1980 that the Friars won the boys 4 x 800 in the Games.
The St. Anthony's girls team also made its presence felt.
Paced by sophomore anchor Olicia Williams and senior Olivia Abbate, the Friars overcame a 5-meter deficit during the third leg of the 4 x 400 and ran to a first-place finish over league rival Kellenberg in 4:01.07.
"This builds up our confidence a lot," Williams said. "I feel that we're unbeatable right now. I just hope we can keep it up."
That wasn't the case last year at the Games as the Friars came in fifth. But the difference between the 2009 Friars and this year's version is experience. Several runners shaved time off their quarter splits.
Williams noted the improvement of sophomores Shannon Murphy and Emily Taussig, who ran the first two legs. "Shannon runs 58 [seconds in her leg] and last year, she was doing 66. And Emily ran 66 last year and is running 60 now," Williams said.
Also for St. Anthony's, Karen Henning won the weight throw in 51 feet, 61/4 inches.
Brentwood's girls team of Stefanny Laureano, Brianna Reid, Donna Jeanty and Andrea Aberdeen also had success as it edged Bay Shore in the Long Island 4 x 400. "It's a mental race," Jeanty said. "You have to know when to pick it up and when to pace yourself."
The Garden City girls 4 x 800 team of Emma Gallagher, Taylor Hennig, Jenna DeAngelo and Michelle Rotondo took first in 9:22.66, ahead of Bronxville and North Shore.