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Miller Place's Tiana Guevara wins state 1,500-meter title

Miller Place's Tiana Guevara, right, opens a comfortable

Miller Place's Tiana Guevara, right, opens a comfortable lead on her way to winning the 1500-meter run during the NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships held at Cicero-North Syracuse on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Credit: Adrian Kraus

CICERO, N.Y. - New York State found out something that L.I. has known for quite a while Saturday. Tiana Guevara is hard to beat in the 1,500 meters. Not only is she hard to catch, she's hard to stay with.

After navigating through a bunched up California start, the Miller Place senior ran with a comfortable lead throughout her four minute, 30.03 second victory in her signature event on the second day of the state track and field championships, held at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Hamilton's Sage Hurta, was second in 4:32.42.

"We were on the outside box, so we had to stay in lane five through eight for the first 200 meters and then cut in at the 100-meter mark," Guevara said. "It was a little weird because I'm used to starting right on the inside. But, I got out, tried to get a good pace going, and got in front so I wouldn't get boxed in."

Garden City's Emma Gallagher won the 400 hurdles in 59.98. After a winning the Division I title by 12 hundredths of a second on Friday, Gallagher had an easier time capturing the Federation title. Liverpool's Oreoluwa Akinpelu was second in 1:01.30.

Gallagher attributed her victory, in part, to the more advantageous lane assignment that was awarded to her because of the Friday victory. She was in lane four, allowing her to survey the field as she ran.

"It was big," she said of the advantage. "I could keep my eye on them."

In true Gallagher fashion, she began the race conservatively, slowing creeping up on the rest of the pack before finally reaching the home straightaway. That's when she used her strength as an 800-meter runner to increase the gap between her and the other hopefuls.

"I knew [the field] would die, so I just went with them and hung on" Gallagher said.

It took a big push down the final straightaway for Uniondale to take the 4 x 400-meter relay. Ashley Souffrant, Crystal Green, Kristina Cherrington, and Michala Webster won in 3:47.19, 0.43 seconds before of Robeson.

Cherrington ran a 54.65 second anchor leg, needing every ounce of energy to finish it off.

"I cut in front of [Robeson anchor Amanda Crawford] to win," she said. "I knew that if I tucked, I would cross the finish line before she did. I never thought we could win with the gap they had over us, but with the push of my teammates, I was able to finish first."

In fact, all four used every ounce of energy. Each ran personal best times, coach Leigh Pollet said.

As Cherrington waited for her leg, she watched the Robeson lead increase, little by little. She suddenly felt a fire in her feet. A season that featured so much success just couldn't end like that.

"I'm a fighter when it comes to the 400," she said. "That's my event, so I knew that I could push harder than I usually do."

Bay Shore's Aviana Goode won the Division I 100 hurdles in 14.67. Mepham's Emily Hagarty won the Division I pentathlon, scoring 2,993 points. North Babylon's Jessica Scheriff finished second in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, crossing the line in 6:50.48. Her teammate, D'Jai Baker, was second in the 400 meters in 54.31.

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