Outside the Armory Track and Field Center in Manhattan the wind chill factor was well below freezing on Wednesday night. Inside, however, the Bay Shore’s boys 4x800 relay team was red hot.
The quartet of Jake Rabin, Perry Balsamo, Darin Cofield and Nolan Kata was seeded a pedestrian eighth in the Invitational at the Millrose Games Trials, but finished a scorching second with a time of 8:00.94 to earn a spot in the prestigious Feb. 8 event that will be held on the same track.
They finished behind Kingsway Regional (N.J.), which finished in 7:55.30, but are selected for the Millrose Games based on their time. Those two teams now have the fastest times for the event in the country this season. Bay Shore also qualifies for the nationals based on that time.
“This was a personal best for us by a long shot,” Rabin said. “We didn’t decide to rest or take time off during the [school] break and this was how the extra work we put in during that time paid off.”
The Marauders shaved a whopping 10 seconds off the time they posted in the event a week earlier, Balsamo said. “The difference today was that we were fresh and we weren’t doubling up [in multiple events] like we often have to,” he added.
Bethpage held the lead at the end of the first leg, but Rabin was already coming on for Bay Shore. Cofield, in the third leg, ran his best split by breaking two minutes. Kata continued to accelerate away from the pack with Kingsway late.
“We put our hearts into getting our times down and we’ll keep it up,” Kata said.
“We’re not done yet,” Rabin added.
Huntington’s boys 4x400 relay team has three members back after it won the state indoor and outdoor championships and it held on to capture the Long Island trials. CJ Kiviat, Anthony Joseph and Justin Stevens are joined this season by Chad Rowe, who takes the second leg, and finished in 3:25.97. At the exchange for the third leg, The Blue Devils nearly faltered before Joseph regained the lead. Stevens, the anchor, held off Smithtown West which finished in 3:26.13.
Uniondale, Massapequa, Freeport and East Meadow qualified for Millrose as well.
In the Long Island girls 4x400 relay, Freeport’s quartet of Enero Omokeni, Lizbeth Marine, Efe Omokeni and Alexandria Yarbrough finished first in 3:59.69. The Red Devils qualify for Millrose along with Elmont, Huntington, Ward Melville, Whitman and Sachem East.
A pair of other Long Island entries posted their career best times, though they didn’t qualify for Millrose. Jackie Amato of Westhampton ran 5:13.80 in the girls Invitational Mile to finish eighth. West Babylon’s girls 4x800 team of Josephine Critchley, Shannon Hieber, Ja’len Defilippis and Jenna D’Onofrio posted the best time in Suffolk this season at 9:38.55, though it only was good for fourth place on Wednesday.