No one knows where life will take the four boys on Northport’s 4 x 800-meter relay team. In all likelihood, twins Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne, Dan O’Connor and Thomas Fodor will never run together again in a competitive setting. If that’s true, so is this — they’ll never forgot their final race together.
And at least for the time being, neither will history.
The speedy quartet put up one more fast time before the Claibornes and O’Connor, who are seniors, say so long to their high school careers — a state-record seven minute, 31.62 second victory at New Balance Outdoor Nationals June 16 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina. The time broke the previous state mark — a converted 7:33.0, run by Queens’ Andrew Jackson High School and Brooklyn’s Boys High School in 1966. It was the oldest track record in the state, according to tullyrunners.com.
“It was really something special,” Fodor, the lone sophomore on the team who ran a 1:56.90 leadoff leg, said. “After the race, we were all freaking out and my coach [Jason Strom] said it was his number one moment in his coaching career, because we all just performed to our best on the same day. Throughout the year, we’ve learned that it’s really hard to get every single guy on our team to do his best on the same day. Saturday night was that time and it was really great to perform well and really showcase what we’ve been working on at Northport for the past year.”
Isaiah Claiborne — who was named Newsday’s All-Long Island Track & Field Athlete of the Year — ran a 1:50.88 anchor leg, outpacing Ian Delgado from North Carolina Green Hope, who ran 1:51.37.
“I always think of Isaiah as our insurance policy, because the one thing he’s best at is winning,” Fodor said. “When he’s in the right position to strike, he’s going to win. He said earlier in the week that if it came down to a kick against Delgado, he could beat him. Sure as heck, that’s what he did.”
Fodor continued lavishing praise on his teammate: “He’s just so calm and relaxed. He looks like a true professional out there, sitting behind the other guy and making his move at the last possible moment. My coach always says that the last person to make a move in the 800 always wins and that’s how he’s won his 800s this year.”
What made the record even more remarkable was the fact that Northport wasn’t even sure they would run in the 4 x 800 until a few days before the event.
“After Tom [Fodor] ran a 1:57 at states, we kind of said ‘let’s go for it,’ Isaiah said. “We’re happy with the results.”
Northport, with the Claiborne twins, O’Connor, and Eric Stehlik, also placed second in the distance medley relay in 10:01.36. Tennessee Brentwood won in 9:58.76.
Elsewhere on the boys side, Patchogue–Medford’s Carlos Santos closed out his impressive senior year with a fourth-place finish in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, running a 5:58.84. Santos was third at the state championships in the 3,000 steeplechase, running a 9:16.05 on June 9.
On the girls side, Mount Sinai freshman Kaitlyn Chandrika finished fifth in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in 6:47.71.
Sachem East’s Margaret Atwood placed second in the 3,000-meter walk in 14:55.36. Atwood was the best walker in the state this year. She won the indoor state 1,500 walk championship in 6:49.09 in March.
Brentwood’s 1,600 sprint medley relay team, composed of Alexia Mayo, Brianna Davis, Angelique Palmer and Donisha Jeanty took third in 4:00.84.