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Huntington’s Infinite Tucker stands out at state

Huntington's Infinite Tucker completes the last lap of

Huntington's Infinite Tucker completes the last lap of the 4x400 giving Huntington the win during the Suffolk Section XI State Qualifier on Saturday June 4, 2016 at the Port Jefferson High School Credit: Bob Sorensen

CICERO, N.Y — Over the last two days, hundreds of athletes stepped onto the red track surface at Cicero- North Syracuse High School. They came from the farthest corners of the state, some only a hop, skip and a jump from the Canadian border, others only a stone’s throw from Jones Beach.

But, few of those athletes were talked about like Huntington’s Infinite Tucker. Everyone seemed to had heard about the Suffolk standout and, after Saturday, they’ll certainly remember him. Tucker gave the masses something to talk about, winning three titles on the second and final day of the state boys track and field championships.

Tucker won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.06 seconds, the 400 hurdles in 52.35 and along with Lawrence Leake, Kyree Johnson and Shane McGuire, the 4 x 400 relay in 3:15.00.

The Division I 110 hurdles, which Tucker won in 14.05 seconds, was the only race that appeared to put any sweat on Tucker’s headband. The UMass-bound senior came from behind to outpace Beacon’s David Adams, who finished .03 seconds behind.

“To be honest, I like it when someone is in front of me, so I can play catch up,” Tucker said. “My main goal is always to play catch up. As [Adams] got in front of me I just kept snapping my lead leg down and I pulled out the win.”

In the 4 x 400, Tucker was handed a lead from McGuire and ran a 47.5 anchor leg to secure the victory. Huntington’s time improved the quartet’s Suffolk County record, set last week at the county state qualifier. The Blue Devils will run for a national championship — potentially their second of the school year after winning indoors — next weekend in North Carolina.

“I just tried to finish the race,” Tucker said. “I didn’t feel like going all out and pulling anything. Nationals is next week, so I just took it easy.”

Tucker wasn’t the only Huntington 4 x 400 member to take home an individual title. Johnson won the 400 in 47.94 seconds.

Nor was Huntington the only Long Island relay team to win a title. Hauppauge’s 4 x 800 unit, composed of Cullen Armstrong, Kolbe Cordon, Nick Crociata and Nick Beglane won in 7:41.29, outpacing West Islip, which ran second in 7:44.19.

Armstrong, the third leg, battled West Islip’s Dan Cameron and handed off in first.

“It was the first time I was actually ahead of him,” Armstrong said. “Every time we race against them, I always end up chasing him. Our coach told us, ‘Run your own race, don’t run West Islip’s race.’ I went out decently. I didn’t want to kill myself because I knew I could kick at the end and pass him.”

Running anchor, Beglane’s lead was never in doubt as he cruised around the track toward victory.

“I’m not used to getting the batten in first,” Beglane said. “I’m used to mowing people down. I just stayed relaxed. My first lap wasn’t all that fast. I let them get a little closer, so I knew that I’d have enough gas to finish at the end.”

Stony Brook’s Jyles Etienne won the high jump, clearing six feet, 10 inches. Smithtown East’s Daniel Claxton was second, clearing 6-8.

“I was scared because I was clearing the [early] heights on my third attempts,” said Etienne, who came to the boarding school from his native Bahamas last year. “But then I put it together on 6-10 and made a good jump.”

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