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East Meadow’s Katherine Marsh wins 3,000, 1,500 at Nassau Conference II Championships

Katherine Marsh of East Meadow overtakes Rhea Rasquinha

Katherine Marsh of East Meadow overtakes Rhea Rasquinha of Herricks on the bell lap in the 3,000-meter run during the Nassau Conference II championships track meet on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, at St. Anthony's. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

East Meadow’s Katherine Marsh shifted to another gear as she wound her legs back up for the 1,500 meters at the Nassau Conference II Championships at St. Anthony’s High School Wednesday night. She was absolutely spent, her legs weary from a victory in the 3,000 and a second-place finish in the 1,000 earlier in the meet. But this is the postseason and Marsh knows that the track doesn’t much care how tired a runner is — it’s all about finishing.

And finish is exactly what she did. Marsh gathered up all her might, willed herself to that final gear, and won in five minutes, 21.85 seconds. Her teammate Alexia Moustakas (5:26.34) and twin sister, Isabel Marsh (5:26.98), finished second and third, respectively.

“I’m really tired,” Marsh said after winning the 1,500. “ . . . Today, I just ignored [being tired] and tried to stay relaxed. I said ‘this is going to be your last event, you should finish strong, and then get to rest and cheer on your teammates.”

There was a lot to cheer for on the East Meadow side, with impressive victories coming from both the boys and girls teams. Marsh won the 3,000 in 11:11.35. Rachel Rose won the 600 in 1:46.71, and Sarah Son walked away with the race walk in a dominating 8:56.69.

Bryan Villafuerte equaled Marsh’s effort on the boys side, winning the 3,200 in 10:16.24 and the 1,600 in 4:46.43. John Meah won the 1,000 in 2:46.14 and Brandon Love won the triple jump, flying 42 feet, one half inch.

Elsewhere, Valley Stream Central’s Chimdi Ukanwoke used an explosive start to win the 55 dash in 6.77 seconds.

“I had more power in my first step then the rest,” Ukanwoke said.

Ukanwoke said he has concentrated on his starts and acceleration in the last few weeks, the feeling being that a solid first step can carry him the rest of the way.

“I’ve been working on short runs, that increases acceleration,” Ukanwoke said. “I’ve seen an improvement.”

With a smooth, clean start, Ukanwoke doesn’t have to work quite as hard in the final 10-15 meters of the race, letting his already powerful legs do the work.

“I just tried to maintain the lead,” he said.

Hicksville’s Antonio Aguilar said he needed to “fight through the pain” to complete his comeback in the 600, surging with 150 meters left to win in 1:27.19.

“I thought that was the time to make my move, make myself proud, and make my coach proud,” Aguilar said.

At that point, the senior’s legs were burning with the pain of a hard-fought race but with the knowledge that championship season is an unforgiving beast, he knew he had no choice but to go forward.

“I feel it all over my legs, especially in my hamstrings,” Aguilar said. “The pain was a lot, but it was totally worth it with the results that you get.”

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