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Whitman's Jack Poplawski one step closer to defending state title in pentathlon

Whitman's John Poplawski signals victory after finishing first

Whitman's John Poplawski signals victory after finishing first in the 1500-meter run portion of the boys pentathalon on the second day of the Suffolk boys and girls state qualifier meet at Comsewogue on Saturday,. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The repeat is now within Jack Poplawski’s reach.

The defending state champion in the boys pentathlon out of Whitman secured another trip to the state championships by winning the event Saturday afternoon with a total of 3,376 points on the second day of the Suffolk state qualifiers at Comsewogue.

Poplawski placed second in the 1,500 (4 minutes, 34.59 seconds) and long jump (6.23 meters) to seal the victory. He downplayed his focus on repeating as state champion and emphasized how his primary goal will be setting an even higher bar for himself.

“I don’t think it’s so much about defending what I did last year,” said Poplawski, who will compete at Middletown on June 6-7. “Mostly just improve upon what I already have and improve upon last year."

Longwood’s Jaheim Dotson had one of the more impressive overall displays of the day, as he finished a double-winner after placing first in both the 110 (14.18) and 400 hurdles (52.92).

The senior won the 300 dash indoor state title this past winter and will make one final run at another state title.

“There’s a lot of motivation,” Dotson said. “I love competition and I’m not scared of battles. I’m ready to compete.”

Brentwood’s Julio Rodriguez also put on a show by winning the 100 (11.24) and 200 (22.32). He was part of Brentwood’s winning 4x100 relay team as well (42.99), alongside Zion Wellington, Frank Grey and David Wood.

Michael Danzi of Smithtown West secured an exhilarating win of one one-hundredth of a second over Northport’s Sean Ryan in the 1600 (4:19.03).

Other boys winners included Westhampton’s Jack Meigel in the high jump (6 feet, 8 inches) and Mount Sinai’s Kenneth Wei in the triple jump (48-5).

On the girls side, Brentwood’s Brianna Davis was a double-winner in the 100 (12.12) and 200 (24.98). She said the experience was made even sweeter by the fact that she scarcely missed qualifying for the state championships last spring with a third-place finish in the 100.

“I’m proud of what my 100 and 200 times have become this year,” Davis said. “I’m happy about finally breaking 25 [seconds]."

Her teammate, Donisha Jeanty, was also victorious in the 400 hurdles (61.81). After also winning the 800 on Friday, she discussed the added significance behind qualifying for the state championships in Saturday’s event.

Namely, how it’s a family affair.

“Everybody was telling me to run the 400 hurdles because my sister was the state champion in it,” said Jeanty, whose sister, Donna, won the outdoor 400 hurdles state title in 2010. “I want to sort of follow in her footsteps. I know that it would make her really proud. It would make everyone proud to go out there and prove that I could go out there and be as fast as her, or faster.”

Mount Sinai’s Sarah Connelly built a considerable lead late in the 1500 and rode it to victory (4:35.77).

“I was a little nervous,” Connelly said. “I knew at the ending I had it in me so I just pushed like there was no tomorrow on the last lap.”

Included amongst the girls winners were Longwood’s Arianna McLeod in the 100 hurdles (14.50) and Bay Shore’s Caitlin Christie in the shot put (41-1).

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