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Billy Daal of Friends Academy wins 100, long jump at Nassau sectional track and field championships

Billy Daal of Friends Academy legs out a

Billy Daal of Friends Academy legs out a victory in the boys 100-meter dash during the first day of the Nassau County track and field championships at Bellmore JFK High School on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Credit: James Escher

Billy Daal’s Long Island high school track career is likely over, and he went out in a blaze of ... well, speed. Now, he’ll be taking his quick legs north, hoping for a shot at a football scholarship. The Friends Academy senior will attend The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, as a post-graduate student next school year.

Daal wants to improve his football recruitment prospects. He is currently considering offers from Army, Navy, and Georgetown. The 6-1 strong safety/running back said he’s also being recruited by ‘a dozen’ Ivy League schools, and Holy Cross. He said he also has attended football camps at Duke.

" … I was very underly recruited," Daal said. "Because of COVID, that hindered a lot of camps that I would have been able to go to. We figured if I did the extra year, it could only help."

Daal will also run track and play basketball at the Taft School – and he’ll take some Nassau track medals with him. He won the 100 meters in 11.46 seconds and the long jump, flying 22 feet, 6 1/2 inches at the Nassau sectional track and field championships, held Thursday and Friday at Bellmore JFK High School.

Daal just began using starting blocks in the 100, increasing his initial explosiveness. The blocks were particularly helpful this week, as Daal had to fight through a strong headwind at the gun.

"I was happy that I was able to get out and maintain my stride," Daal said. "I really opened up at the end and was able to pull away to secure first."

Elsewhere, North Shore’s Thomas Burfeind won the 1,600 in 4:22.89. He beat a strong field, one that included Port Washington’s Colin Funk, who was second in 4:25.58, and sectional 3,200 champion Zach Van Houten of East Meadow, who was sixth in 4:35.96.

"This is the strongest I’ve ever been," said Burfeind, who dealt with injuries during his sophomore spring season and had his junior spring season cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. "I feel like a freshman again, where I’m just out there and I’m running with a lot of heart and just trying to stick with the top guys."

Only now, Burfeind is one of the top guys. He won the Nassau Class A 800 championship on June 10 at Mitchel Field.

"It was my senior year and I didn’t want to disappoint my freshman self," Burfeind said. "My freshman self had a lot of aspirations and I didn’t really get to see that my sophomore and junior year. I wanted to make him proud and hit my goals."

In the field, Great Neck North’s Adam Namdar cleared six feet to win the high jump, Manhasset’s Paul Park won the triple jump (42-11), Cold Spring Harbor’s David Brown tossed 45-8 to win the shot put, and Port Washington’s Jackson Witkow tossed 155 feet, 6 inches to win the discus.

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