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Ismail Abdullah figuring the high hurdles out

Ismail Abdullah of Valley Stream South wins the

Ismail Abdullah of Valley Stream South wins the 60-meter high hurdles in 7.86 seconds during a Nassau crossover meet at St. Anthony's. Credit: James Escher

In a sport as goal-based as track and field, it’s never too early to start thinking about the mountain top. This sport isn’t a take-it-as-it-comes endeavor. Track athletes know where they are, where they’re going, and where they hope to be. And Valley Stream South hurdler Ismail Abdullah hopes to be at the New Balance Nationals in March, a goal that’s not as far away as it may seem. The indoor season goes by in a flash and Abdullah has no intention of wasting a moment of it.

The senior won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.86 seconds at a Nassau crossover meet at St. Anthony’s Tuesday night. Abdullah blew away the field from the fifth lane. Freeport’s Asher Cook was second in 8.79 seconds. Abdullah also won the long jump, flying 21 feet, 5 1⁄2 inches, but hurdles is where his main focus rests.

“My goal for this season is 7.34 [seconds], so I can run at Nationals,” Abdullah said. “My first meet of the season, I hit 7.63, so I’m just working on fixing my form and getting faster so I can get that mark.”

Abdullah’s journey toward 7.34 rests on his lead leg, something that can make or break a hurdler’s race at first jump.

“I don’t kick it up good enough so that I can snap it back down,” Abdullah said. “So, I have to work on my lead leg and work on my speed between the hurdle.”

Abdullah may not be that far away from figuring it out. He said that he could tell his lead-leg form was improved by the time he soared over the first hurdle.

“It helped me get to a clean start, and I just kept it consistent the whole race,” Abdullah said. “I had a strong finish. I didn’t slow down and ran through the finish line.”

Freeport’s Nakacee McNab won the girls 600 in 1:46.10. Originally a 300 runner, McNab mastered the 600 last season and now considers it her main event. She got off to a fast start and was able to hold that pace throughout, edging MacArthur’s Erin Cassano at the line. Cassano was second in 1:46.39.

“I sprinted the last 200 [meters],” McNab said. “[Cassano] was behind me and she was pushing me.”

McNab wants to run 1:35 or faster by the end of the season. Her personal best is 1:41.09, according to

Elsewhere, in a throwback to the cross country season, North Shore took both distance events. Sophie Rosencrans won the 1,500 in 5:00.75 and Colin O’Sullivan won the 1,600 in 4:39.80. O’Sullivan outsprinted teammate Jack Rosencrans, Sophie’s older brother, en route to victory. Jack, who was the best distance runner in Nassau this fall, was second in 4:41.21.

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