For Kellenberg’s Nora Bennett, every race is about the process.
On Saturday at the CHSAA Intersectional championships at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, that path led to a comeback victory in the 1,000 meters in 3:06.63 to claim a title. The win was built on the foundation of past experiences.
“I would get super nervous, but now I feel like I’m able to sort of channel my nerves and stay relaxed until that right moment when you just have to go,” Bennett said.
Waiting for the right time made all the difference, as the junior overtook Notre Dame’s Keiana Mitchell (3:06.81) with a lap to go and beat her out at the finish.
“I didn’t want to push it to early and not be able to hold on so sort of started to go with a lap,” said Bennett, who was also part of Kellenberg’s winning 4 x 800 relay, with Maya Richardson, Julia Bryant and Maureen Lewin in 9:30.42.
The 1,000 can be a difficult distance, sitting between sprints and longer distances. Being unable to go all-out but still needing a quicker pace can be a hard balance to find. Bennett hit it this time.
“I guess I kind of just like to try and race the race I’m in, so I try to stay relaxed and then kind of when I feel like I can go I sort of decide to pick it up and take it.” Bennett said.
St. Anthony’s Mason Gatewood spent the majority of the boys 600 neck-and-neck with Kellenberg’s Erik Brown before he pulled away on the back straightaway to cruise in at 1:22.76.
“As soon as I hit the 300 mark, I knew I had to go, and then going into the bell lap, I wanted to give everything I had to really pull away,” Gatewood said.
The junior is running his first track season at St. Anthony’s after transferring from Lexington Catholic in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s been an easy transition, he said, because of his supportive teammates.
“They definitely push me and we push each other to be the best we can be,” Gatewood said. “I’m looking forward to the state meet to see what else I can do.”
Sacred Heart’s Maggie Maier took the 3,000 in 10:22.15, topping Sydney Rice by four one hundredths of a second to qualify for her first indoor state championship.
The freshman raced Rice in cross country and planned to stick with her this time around. They traded places, and Maier spotted her opening.
“I didn’t really notice we were half way around the last lap, almost done, when I was starting to catch up with her,” Maier said. “Then on the last turn I just went all out.”
She placed fourth in the 1,500. “It’s really exciting just coming in being able to do this,” Maier said. “I want to keep getting better and better, but it gives me confidence for the next three years.”
St. Anthony’s Halle Hazzard won the 55 in seven seconds and the 300 in 39.26. St. Anthony’s Samantha Stetz won the long jump in 16-10 and the triple jump in 37-0.
St. Anthony’s won the boys team title with 32 points, followed by Fordham Prep (28). St. Anthony’s won on the girls side as well with 79 points, followed by Notre Dame Academy (44) and Kellenberg (31).