There wasn’t much party planning left for Indya Hunter to do. And, even if there was, there wasn’t much she could do about it. Hunter had a race to win and any birthday plans would have to wait until a victory was secured. And, true to form, she made sure that happened quickly.
Hunter, an Amityville senior, won the 100 meters in 12.46 seconds at the North Shore Invitational Saturday afternoon at North Shore High School. The victory came on Hunter’s 18th birthday, only hours before her birthday party.
Despite the victory, Hunter said she still found things to work on as the track and field post-season pulls into view.
“I was happy with the start, I wasn’t happy with the finish,” Hunter said. “It could have been stronger. But, my main goal was to get out hard and finish the race.”
Hunter said her form ‘broke down’ halfway through the race, something that she hopes to correct before the Suffolk Division Championships, scheduled for May 20 and 22. She also knows exactly what that perfect form is.
“Nice knees, nice elbow motion with the arms, and going smooth throughout the race and not so tense,” Hunter said.
Hunter may have had issues with the way the race finished, but her start was so precise that she was able to carry that momentum the rest of the way.
“I pushed off the blocks, it was pretty powerful,” Hunter said. “I came out strong.”
Ultimatly, the goal for Hunter is 12.1 seconds - which would, theoretically, put her at or near the top of the Long Island best-of-season list.
“I have a couple workouts to do, but I give it about a week and a half and it will get there,” Hunter said.
Elsewhere, Hempstead’s Rene’e Newton won the 400 in 57.67 seconds and the 400-hurdles in 65.83 seconds. North Shore’s Nicole Schneider won the 1,500 in four minutes, 47.82 seconds, outpacing her teammate Sophie Rosencrans, who finished in 4:50.87. Bay Shore’s Sydney Carpenter won the 2,000 meter steeplechase in a commanding 7:26.09.
Wantagh’s Casey O’Connor won the 800 in 2:21.84. O’Connor said she uses more instinct than strategy when she runs, something that helps her react better to situations that a race may throw at her.
“I was just trying to be relaxed,” O’Connor said. “I know when I think, at times it stresses me out. I kind of just run as fast as I can and try to catch people….I wasn’t focusing on a specific time I was supposed to hit or running a [personal best]. When you do that, you psyche yourself out and you don’t do the best that you can. When you think, ‘oh, I’m running because I like to run,’ it helps a lot.”
O’Connor said she got boxed in late in the first lap, was able to find her way out of it, and moved to the front as the second lap began.
This time last year, running wasn’t on O’Connor’s radar. She had torn her ACL in March playing soccer and was still recovering. She got cleared to come back in October and competed during the indoor season.
“I don’t feel like I’m 100 percent [yet],” said O’Connor, who will run track at Florida Atlantic University next school year. “But I feel I’m a lot better than I was. I’m almost there. I think I’ll be 100 percent by the fall.”