Shaka Shomari is used to running like the wind. But, running into the wind? That's another story. Sprinting into incredibly strong gusts, the Holy Trinity senior won the 200 meters in 22.66 seconds at the Knight-Time Invitational at Uniondale High School Saturday.
Although the wind was whipping throughout the day, never giving the flags, or most of the runners for that matter, a rest, Shomari wasn't affected by it. He's too fast for outside factors to interfere.
"I came off the turn full speed, so I didn't feel the wind at all down the back straightaway," Shomari said. "I knew (it was windy) going in. I thought I was going to hit mid-23 (seconds). When I heard my time, I was surprised."
Shomari took control of the race around the turn, accelerating past the field and never looking back.
"Coming into the meet, I knew I wanted to take the 200," Shomari said. "It was my main focus. So I took it out hard and made sure no one was getting past me on the turn. Coming off the turn, I tried to go full speed toward the finish line."
Shomari said he felt the wind more when he ran the 400 meters later in the day, a race that he finished sixth in 52.75 seconds. Baldwin's Jordan Brown won in 51.31 seconds.
Port Washington's Jenny Aguiar won the girls 400 meters in 58.51 seconds, fighting the wind and Uniondale's Kristina Cherrington as she made her way toward the line.
"I couldn't even bring up my knees," Aguiar said of the wind. "There was a lot of resistance. I felt like I was getting pushed backward."
Aguiar said she sang rapper Eminem's 'Till I Collapse" to herself as she passed Cherrington in the final 100 meters.
"It's a song about your bones collapsing and getting this feeling like you can't walk anymore," she said. "I wanted to feel that way as I crossed the line."
Cherrington was second in 59.24 seconds.
Sachem East's Alexandra DeCicco won the 800 meters in 2:19.12. The junior was also affected by the gusty conditions.
"At first, I thought I should stay behind people and not do all the work," DeCicco said. "It turned out that I could go a little bit faster. It was just a battle through the wind the whole day ... I just tried not to think about the wind and keep my arms in."
DeCicco who is an accomplished distance runner, winning the Class A race at the Suffolk Cross Country State Qualifier on Halloween, likes running the quicker race. It was her first 800 meter race of the season. She ran a 2:16 last season, she said.
"I'm happy that I was still able to break 2:20," she said. "I'm excited for the rest of the season because I want to run fast in the 800 and this might help make me mentally stronger."
Garden City's Steph Gerland dominated the 1,500 meters, winning in 5:15.05. New Rochelle's Maeve McKinney was second in 5:25.85.