Kathleen Healy, Kellenberg senior, competes in the girls 2,000 meter...

Kathleen Healy, Kellenberg senior, competes in the girls 2,000 meter steeplechase during the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA track and field championship at St. Anthony's High School on Saturday, May 21, 2022. She won the event with a time of 8:05.68. Credit: James Escher

Plateau.

That sound you hear is the collective shudder of thousands of high school track and field athletes who know that dangerous word all too well. It’s the moment where self-improvement stops and frustration starts. There’s no regression — there just isn’t any improvement. In a sport where constant betterment is the aim, this is the opposite.

On Saturday, Kellenberg’s Kathleen Healy broke her plateau and couldn’t have been happier about it. The senior won the 2,000 meter steeplechase in eight minutes, 5.68 seconds at the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA league track and field championships at St. Anthony’s High School.

The time was a major leap from her four previous marks this season, which ranged from 8:22.67 in early April to 8:38.30 last weekend.

“I’ve been trying to get a better mindset,” Healy said. “Someone had told me that what you do in meets doesn’t take away from what you do in practice. If you don’t do good in meets, that doesn’t discount all the hard work that you do in practice. That was something that I really tried to stick with today, that even though some of those previous meets I’d been to hadn’t gone my way, I still have practiced really hard.”

But, Saturday, it finally came together. It may have taken longer than Healy would have liked, but the results to all the practice finally came through.

“I was really happy with my form,” Healy said. “I feel like that’s an area where I’ve struggled. My water jumps were a lot better. I also did a lot better with hurdling. I wasn’t stuttering as much as I usually do and I just felt like the pieces of the puzzle came together today, which was a really big relief . . . It definitely felt like a breakthrough.”

St. Anthony’s won the team title with 111 points. Lindsay Yakaboski won the 1,500 in 4:55.68 and the 800 in 2:23.97. Her teammate, Giavanna Ciaravino, won the 100 in 12.13, topping her season-best of 12.21, run in early April.

“I’ve really been working on my transitions and getting up tall,” Ciaravino said. “I feel like that’s when I really start to pull away, once I get up. The only thing that I have to work on from there is my start and I think I’m set to hopefully break 12 [seconds] soon.”

Twelve seconds seems to be the magic number this spring. With only three weeks left before the state championships, only Zionna Perez-Tucker of upstate Mohonasen had broken it, according to milesplit.com.

“I’m hoping by [the intersectional championships next week], I’ll be 12.0, 11.9, around there,” Ciaravino said. “I’m trying to get more comfortable using blocks [at the start], because I feel that will help me. That’s where I struggle, my start, and I just rely on my transition to carry me. This week, I’m definitely going to be focused on start stuff.”

Once Ciaravino moves into her transition phase, she’s hard to beat. She showed that again on Saturday.

“Today, I really just stayed patient and I didn’t rush,” she said. “[Holy Trinity’s Logan Daley] was right next to me the whole race, but I [knew] to take my time. I’ve learned that, although it is a sprinting event, you do have to be patient with your phases. Once I transitioned, it was my time and I pulled away.”    

Ciaravino, along with teammates Camryn Daley, Valencia Beaubrun, and Ava Russell, won the 4x100 relay in 48.41 seconds.

Holy Trinity’s Logan Daley, who won the 200 in 25.04 seconds, was named Track MVP of the meet.

“Towards the end of the race, I picked up my stride and got tall,” Daley said.

Sacred Heart’s Kailey Willox cleared five feet, one inch and was named Field MVP of the meet. St. Anthony’s Maria Chiariello won the shot put (36 feet, 2 ½ inches) and the discus (100-10).

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