More than any other day this week, Wednesday was the day of "the heat." Anyone who ran that day probably can’t remember it any other way.
Tuesday was the day of the rain — with Nassau and Suffolk county championships being postponed due by a late-afternoon thunderstorm — and it did nothing to help. The storm had no cooling effect, just a lot of messed-up training schedules.
With temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s Wednesday — and the heat index making it feel even hotter — runners sheltered in shade and drank enough water to fill a small lake.
But for some, it was still better than winter.
"Honestly, [after] the winter that went on for so long and was abnormally cold, it kind of felt nice to be in the heat," Hauppauge sprinter Aiden Chu said. "I was always saying that I missed the heat."
Chu won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.38 seconds at the Suffolk Division III championship Wednesday at Kings Park. Hauppauge won the team title.
Chu’s teammate, Oba Awolowo, won the 400 in 52.07 seconds and was on the 4 x 400-meter relay team that won in 3:31.59. He said that the heat affected him, but he was able to push through.
"I had to work on my breathing techniques," Awolowo said. "I have this thing where when it gets really hot, my face tenses up and it ruins my whole body. I couldn’t do that. I had to relax myself and make sure the heat didn’t get to me.
"I had to clear out the thought about the heat and run my best. It was all about knowing how much I could handle."
Elsewhere in Suffolk, Ward Melville won the Division I title, edging out Floyd, 82-81. The Patriots’ Paul Tommolino won the 3,000 steeplechase in 11:20.36 and Anthony Petrillo won the 1,600 in 4:33.73. Ward Melville also won the 4 x 800 relay in 8:21.64.
Bayport-Blue Point won the Division IV championship with 120 points. Port Jefferson was second with 116. The Phantoms’ Brendan Style won the 110 hurdles in 15.74 seconds and the 400 hurdles in 58.63 seconds, barely outpacing Shoreham-Wading River’s James Washburn, who was second in 58.83.
Bayport-Blue Point added wins in the 4 x 400 (3:36.84) and the long jump, where Colin Strain went 20 feet, 7 ¾ inches.
Rainout helps Brown
The odd week of weather that arrived just in time for the county championships began with a thunderstorm last Friday afternoon that postponed the Nassau Class A steeplechase and field event championships to last Saturday. For Cold Spring Harbor’s David Brown, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Nursing a sprained wrist, Brown said an extra day of rest helped.
"I would have thrown considerably worse on Friday," Brown said. "When it was rained out, we had our trainer wrap my wrist and I was trying to rest it as much as I could."
Brown’s wrist felt a lot better Saturday and it showed. He won the shot put at 48-9 ½ and the discus at 131-2.
"When I threw the 131," he said, "I had some of the best form that I’ve had in a while."