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Hempstead's Rene"e Newton wins 400-meter hurdles in Nassau state qualifier

Rene''e Newton from Hempstead takes first in the

Rene''e Newton from Hempstead takes first in the girls 400-meter hurdles in 62.44 seconds during the Nassau Class AAA track and field championships at Westbury on May 22. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Right after she finished her 400-meter hurdles victory at Friday’s opening day of the Nassau State track and field Qualifier, Hempstead’s Rene’’e Newton began to take notes. As her competition gasped for air after a highly competitive race, there Newton was, furiously taking notes on the win that was.

The sophomore was writing down the splits — generally taken in 40-meter increments — of her 63.30 second victory in the Division I race at North Shore High School.

“I have to study them,” Newton said. “It helps me see where I’m at, how fast I’m going, how slow I’m going, and where I kind of messed up.”

The victory qualified Newton for the state championships, scheduled for June 7-8 at Middletown High School. Although Newton considers herself more of a 400-meter runner, she thought she had a better chance at qualifying through the hurdle route. Newton had already technically qualified for the state championships in the event, after running the new super-standard of 63.22 seconds earlier in the season. All Newton had to do was finish the event at the state qualifier and she’d be in.

“In the 400, I’m the second fastest in the county, but I didn’t have the qualifying time for it,” Newton said. “Today, it would have really been me fighting. Whereas, in the hurdles, I already had the super-standard. So, whether I came in first, second, or even last, I would have been able to go to states.”  

Newton went ahead and won it anyway.

“I still wanted to get a (personal best),” said Newton. “Whether it was first or last, that’s what I was going for.”

Despite the victory, she was still a few ticks off her season best, which is 62.44, she said. As Newton stared down at her Post-it note of numbers, she saw where she slowed down and what she has to focus on before she gets to Middletown next weekend.

“I just want to improve my starts and how I finish the race,” Newton said. “Even though I know how to finish pretty strong, I feel like I could finish stronger and it would make the race even faster.”

Oyster Bay’s Anna Silver won the Division II 400-meter hurdles in 70.71 seconds.

Elsewhere, the Division I 800 meters featured great races on both the boys and girls side. North Shore’s Jack Rosencrans, who has transformed from a long distance success to a mid-distance force, won the boys race in 1:58.05 over Manhasset’s Ben Reilly, who was second in 1:58.54.

“I knew from the start this was going to be a really close race, because I was coming in as the underdog,” said Rosencrans, who had to maneuver through some tangled runners who fell to the track on the final turn. “It’s great to have that competition at the end where you’re fighting stride for stride. Everything is coming down to the wire and it really pushes that sixth sense that you have to just keep pushing and moving.”

Rosencrans said he will decide if he’ll run the 800 at the state championships after he runs the 1,600 on Saturday at the second and final day of the qualifier.

“I would love to focus on the 1,600,” Rosencrans said. “But, then again. I never got that (sub- 1:55) 800 that I was looking for today, so it’s a possibility I’ll take it to the state meet.”

On the girls side, East Meadow’s Katherine Marsh edged out Valley Stream South’s DeAnna Martin in a wire-to-wire battle. Marsh won in 2:13.14 and Martin was second in 2:13.39.

Marsh tried to make a move with 300 meters left, but hesitated and stayed on Martin’s shoulder until the final 100.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to keep (pace) for that long,” Marsh said.

North Shore’s Nicole Schneider won the 3,000 in 10:19.18. Schneider battled with Oceanside’s Andria Scaglione, who finished second in 10:36.86, but passed her for good on the back straightaway with three laps to go.

“Before I knew it, there were 800 meters to go and I just went for it,” Schneider said.    

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