It was Jason Linzer’s moment. The Seaford junior was all alone early on his county championship night – and he was loving every minute of it.
Linzer, who has been in some really close races in county championships past, cruised to victory in the 3,200 meters in nine minutes, 53.38 seconds at the Nassau Class B Championships Tuesday night at St. Anthony’s High School.
“Of course, I love being the winner,” Linzer said with a smile. “It wasn’t necessarily easy, but much less competitive. I’ll get the competitive (races) later on.”
He was right. Linzer placed second to North Shore's Jack Rosencrans in the 1,600 later in the night. Rosencrans ran 4:28.78 and Linzer ran 4:29.53.
Linzer knew that it was his job to set the pace in the 3,200 and he fully embraced the sometimes daunting task of taking the lead early and keeping it.
“I knew I’d be the one dictating the race, so I decided to take it at a pace that was ok for me, which was five minutes (per mile),” Linzer said. “I could hear the other kids still behind me and my coach was telling me they were still behind me.”
Midway through the race, Linzer decided to leave nothing to chance, leaping ahead of the field and removing any chance of an upset.
“I don’t like to leave it quite to the end, just in case some kid is really good in the 400 meters,” Linzer said. “I put the work in (at the mile) and just closed it.”
The race was certainly a reversal of usual fortune for Linzer. Last spring, he tied with Rosencrans in the 3,200 at the Nassau Class A outdoor championships – something that is incredibly rare. Flash forward nine months and Linzer was facing a lead that couldn’t get much larger.
“I run it like how I do in a workout,” Linzer said. “I know how to pace and control myself in a workout. I really just think back to that. I know that I’m capable of this and I think positive.”
Linzer wasn’t the only runner on the boys side to lead the whole way. Bethpage’s Matthew Sheehan went wire-to-wire in the 600, winning in 1:27.85. Because of the shorter distance, a lead in the 600 is generally harder to hold than a longer distance race.
“I just didn’t want to give up and let anyone get past me, so I just kept on running,” Sheehan said. "I kicked in the last 75 meters.”
Elsewhere, Rosencrans also won the 1,000 in 2:40.62 and Lawrence’s Chanon Simmons won the 55 dash in 6.68 seconds.
On the girls side, Valley Stream South’s DeAnna Martin proved once again that she’s a force in any race she enters. Martin won the 1,000 meters in 3:10.75 and the 600 in 1:40.93.
South Side distance standout Carly Woelfel won the 3,000 in 10:36.55. Woelfel was locked in a competitive race with North Shore’s Nicole Schneider before she pulled away with four laps remaining. Schneider was second in 10:54.35.
“I knew that if I was going to win this race, I wasn’t going to do it passing (Schneider) on the last lap or two, because she’s a strong short distance runner,” Woelfel said. "On the back stretch with about five laps to go, I went for it, kept going, and didn’t turn back.”