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Zaria Fuller, Chibugo Obichere head state's best in girls track

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the 100-meter hurdles at the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championships at Middletown High School in Middletown, N.Y., on June 8, 2019.  Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth

Zaria Fuller, Uniondale, Pentathlon

Part of the reason Fuller got to the top of the federation podium was her prowess in an event she didn’t expect to stand out in -- the shotput. Fuller finished fourth in the shot with a toss of 34 feet, 7 inches, said she was surprised that she was able to throw so far in an event that isn’t typically her strongest.

“I’m not a thrower,” Fuller said. “Compared to where I was last year to where I am now, it was a big improvement . . . I have better technique. (I was practicing) the glide and driving through.”

But, it was just that kind of weekend for Fuller, who won with 3,544 points – her first state pentathlon championship.

Chibugo Obichere, Valley Stream South, 100m hurdles

This time, it wasn’t close. This time, Obichere got the biggest prize and in runaway fashion. The senior, who is no stranger to the top of the podium, won her first Federation championship – running a 14.13 in the 100-meter hurdles.

“I just tried to come out of the blocks really well and push off with my back foot,” Obichere said. “I just executed through the race, continued to accelerate to the end and finished strong.”

Obichere also won the Division I 100 hurdles in 14.06.

Gianna Paul, Whitman, 400m

This could be the beginning of a very medal-heavy four years for Paul. The freshman opened eyes on the first day of the championships with a 54.95-second victory in the Division I 400. She kept them open on the second day with a 54.85 clocking in winning the Federation 400.

“I always seem to do really well on the home straightaway,” said Paul after her first-day victory, foreshadowing what would happen a day later. “I just pick it up and hold it to the end.”

Kayleigh Robinson, Mt. Sinai, 400m hurdles

Among the small school ranks, there is no one in the state better than Robinson when it comes to long-form hurdling. Robinson edged Wayne’s Aubrey Runkle to win the Division II 400 hurdles in 1:02.38, her second consecutive state title in that event. Runkle was second in 1:02.66.

“I knew (Runkle) was creeping up on me,” Robinson said. “I felt her on me. So, I just ran as fast as I could because I was here to win. That’s what I planned on doing and that’s what I did.”

Sarah Connelly, Mt. Sinai, 1,500m, 3,000m

Connelly keeps doing two things – getting faster and winning championships. After coming from behind to win the Class B public school cross country championship last fall, Connelly employed some more of that late race magic to capture a Federation 1,500 championship. Connelly used a late kick to pass Valley Stream South’s DeAnna Martin at the line and win in 4:31.11.

Connelly clearly has the formula for coming behind to win down pat.

“You have to push your arms and kick as hard as you can,” Connelly said. “That’s all I think of.”

Connelly also won the Division II 3,000 in 9:43.63, placing fifth in the Federation.

DeAnna Martin, Valley Stream South, 1,500m

Martin wasn’t taking any chances when it came to her Division I 1,500 meters championship. The senior blasted out of her starting position to take a gigantic lead early in the 1,500 and, among large school competition, was able to hold on for the victory. She finished in 4:31.90, second in the Federation and first in Division I.

The victory marked a quick return to the podium for Martin, who placed fourth in the 800 in 2:08.94 on the first day of the championships.

Juel Charles, Valley Stream North, Discus

Charles saved her best for last. The senior threw 133 feet to win the Federation discus championship, out-tossing the runner-up by a full 2 feet. The throw came a day after Charles placed fourth in the Division I discus – finding her way into the Federation final with a 126-7 throw.

The mark of 133-0 was the farthest on Long Island this season, according to milesplit.com.

Charles reached the podium once again in the shot put, placing sixth with a throw of 39-9¾.

Soledad Jean, Half Hollow Hills East, High Jump

After an indoor championship, Jean was calm, cool and collected as she entered the Middletown jumping area for a shot at the outdoor title.

“I was a lot calmer,” Jean said. “If I’m stressed for bigger meets, I tend to have more mistakes and get down on myself more. Being more relaxed helped.”

Jean’s serene calm led to a championship, clearing 5-7.

“My form has gotten a lot better,” Jean said. “I keep speed when I approach the bar and when I’m going over the bar, I hold my arch better and for longer than I did in winter.”

Alissa Braxton, Commack, Triple Jump

There wasn’t much doubt about this one. Not only was Braxton the indoor state champion, but she holds the indoor state record. So, despite a change of venue and a little wind to deal with, it was no surprise that Braxton won the Federation outdoor triple jump championship, flying 40-2½.

It was Braxton’s second championship of the weekend. She won the Division I triple jump title with a 41-9¾ inch jump. Braxton also placed third in the Division I long jump at 18-2.

Natya Glasco, Roslyn, Shot Put

When she needed that big throw, Glasco delivered. After failing to break 42 feet in her first three attempts in the Federation finals, the senior nailed a 43-5 mark on her final try to win the state championship.

She placed third in the Division I shot at 42-8¾. Glasco was the class of Long Island all season in the event. Her 43-8¼ throw at the Nassau State Qualifier was the best on Long Island all season, according to milesplit.com.

Sarah Bolton, Cold Spring Harbor, Wheelchair 200m and 400m

Bolton raced against the clock en route to two state championships. She finished the 200 in 1:04.39 and the 400 in 2:11.15. Bolton, who has been in a wheelchair her entire live after being diagnosed at 18 months with a genetic disorder affecting her motor skills, also competed in the first event in state championship history where wheelchair athletes competed against each other, placing second in the 100 in :34.49.

Bolton said she hopes to one day compete in a full heat of wheelchair racers at the state championships.

“That would be really fun,” she said.

Half Hollow Hills West 4X100m relay - Michele Daye, Sydney Grant, Martina Keith, Madison Byrne

They left their names on the podium and the Long Island leaderboard for all to see. Daye, Grant, Keith, and Byrne ran 47.62 to win the Division I 4X100 relay championship. The time was the fastest on Long Island this season, according to milesplit.com.

The team followed up with a second-place finish in the Federation final, running 48.02.

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