Running in high school is a grind, especially if you do it all school year. Cross country and indoor track feature so many ups, downs, and curves themselves that sometimes the spring season is nothing but a battle of wills.
Midway through the outdoor season, one that sometimes can feel longer than the other two combined, the confidence of Great Neck North’s Samantha Law was shaken. An unfortunate spill on the track in the 3,000 meters at the indoor state championships in March led into a lackluster April and, she feared, a quiet end to her accomplished high school career.
But, with a healthier diet, plenty of sleep, weight lifting, and meditation, she was able to turn it around and regain the winning form for which she is known. Law won the 1,500 in four minutes, 38.59 seconds and the 800 in 2:16.08 at the Nassau Class AA County Championships Wednesday afternoon at MacArthur High School.
“I think today just really reassured me that my running has stayed consistent,” Law said. “ . . . I think my coach always, somehow, pulls it together for me for counties. Today, I think I raced well. I knew going into the races who was running what and what times were being ran. I knew what I needed to do.”
Law continued: “It was a decent double. I’m pretty proud of myself for toughing through that. It was a big mental and emotional gap for me to fill.”
Elsewhere, Elmont’s Imani Gray won the 100 in 12.50 seconds and the 200 in 25.37 seconds. In the 200, Gray barely edged her teammate Brianna Harris, who was second in 25.46 seconds. Harris won the 400 in 58.82 seconds. Gray and Harris teamed up later, along with Israel Phillips and Zhaneia Thybulle to win the 4 x 100 meter relay in 49.06 seconds.
Gray said she wasn’t completely happy with her start in the 100, but she had a sizable lead by the end of the runway — a testament to her superiority within the class.
“I want to get out much faster and give myself that extra push,” Gray said. “ . . . I just had to keep pushing and tell myself that the race isn’t over until you cross the finish line.”
Hewlett dominated the team competition, winning their third straight Class AA championship with 124 points. Senior Patsy Iannico won her fourth consecutive outdoor 400 hurdles county championship in 64.23 seconds, Emma Blumenstein won the 100 hurdles (16.35 seconds) and Kayley Ragazzini won the shot put (38 feet, 4 inches).
Roslyn won the boys team championship with 104 points. Nicholas Leong showed his tremendous versatility, winning the 200 in 22.91 seconds and the triple jump, flying 45 feet, 1 3⁄4 inches. The flight was a personal best by almost three feet, Leong said.
“I just held all my strides,” Leong said. “It made a sizable difference because most people don’t really hold the second phase as much, and that’s what it comes down to”
Leong’s teammate, Michael Needham won the discus (151-4) and shot put (46-1).