Liam Graff does not ordinarily run for Baldwin’s 4 x 800 relay team. Neither does Evan Batsford.
But they found themselves in the thick of the competition Saturday at Uniondale’s 14th Knight-Time Invitational.
Regulars Will Salmon and Frank Mulvey elected to not participate, so Graff and Batsford stepped in as alternates. And they were key to the Bruins’ first-place finish in 9:02.46.
Batsford followed fellow sophomore Brian Scannell, who led things off, and Graff flipped a 25-meter deficit into a 25-meter lead for senior anchor Dylan Lee.
“I had no clue what the lead was,” Graff, a freshman, said. “I couldn’t see him. I just knew I couldn’t hear his footsteps so I knew we had a pretty good lead and I knew Dylan works really hard. I knew we were probably going to win then.”
Lee built on Graff’s lead, and Baldwin easily finished ahead of New Rochelle, which posted a time of 9:12.81.
“I was still worried that [New Rochelle] would maybe catch up on me,” Lee said. “He seemed like he was pretty energetic, but [Graff] got the lead for me and that’s really all we needed.”
In the future, Graff and Batsford know Salmon and Mulvey will return to their regular roles for most meets.
“I know what’s best for the team, but this was really fun,” Graff said. “I had a good time, glad we got to win like that, glad to show coach what we could do.”
Uniondale’s Christopher Borzor, who anchored Uniondale’s first-place finish in the 800-meter sprint medley relay, won the closest finish of the day. He used his long strides to edge Clara Barton’s Ronaldo Griffiths by 0.02 seconds with a time of 22.44.
“He’s a hard worker,” Uniondale teammate Tahj Robinson said. “Ever since he was coming up he was a hard worker. He’s dedicated to this. I knew he would put his heart into the track.”