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Northport boys 4 x 800-meter relay team turns the table

Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne, Thomas Fodor, Dan O’Conner, who came in second to St. Anthony’s at states, take third to Friars’ fourth at New Balance Indoor Nationals.

This was the rematch the Northport boys 4 x 800-meter relay team wanted. One week after falling to St. Anthony’s at the state championships and one night after dropping a distance medley relay to them, the Tigers flipped the script, outrunning their rivals in the second-to-last event of the marathon middle day of New Balance Indoor Nationals Saturday at The Armory in Manhattan.

Overall, Northport, composed of twins Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne, Thomas Fodor, and Dan O’Connor placed third in seven minutes, 46.36 seconds. St. Anthony’s, who ran Brendan Dearie, Michael Barbaro-Barnett, Matthew Payamps, and Mason Gatewood, was fourth in 7:48.86. Both earned All-American status, which is awarded to the top six places. Virginia’s Loudoun Valley won the national championship in 7:39.30.

Northport’s time broke West Islip’s Suffolk Indoor record, a 7:47.68, run in 2016, according to suffolkxctf.com.

“I kind of think of them as our rival,” Isaiah said of St. Anthony’s. “ . . . We knew what their order was going to be. We knew that they were going to stack up the end with Payamps and Gatewood running third and fourth. We just knew we had to get a lead on them because they’re great competition.”

Elijah ran a strong opening leg, putting Northport in front at the first handoff. Although they would not stay on top, the leg certainly set the tone for a strong finish.

“My whole goal was just to stick in behind the second guy and with 300 [meters] to go, out-kick everybody,” Elijah said. “Which I did.”

The Friars had a historical weekend of their own. St. Anthony’s ran a 9:58.36 in the distance medley relay on the first night of the championships, placing second and breaking Warwick Valley’s state record of 10:02.74 set in 2011 and the national catholic school record of 10:00.75, set by Pennsylvania’s Cardinal O’Hara in 2014, St. Anthony’s coach Tim Dearie said.

On the girls side, two Long Island teams ran to All-American status in the 1,600 sprint medley relay. Brentwood, composed of Brianna Davis, Alexia Mayo, Angelique Palmer, and Donisha Jeanty, finished fourth in 4:05.10. Kellenberg’s Camryn Beckford, Gabrielle Buissereth, Chrissy Foster, and Maureen Lewin were fifth in 4:06.26. Virginia’s Western Branch won in 3:59.16.

Brentwood, who qualified for the race in mid-February, needed to shift their focus quickly from the 4 x 200-meter relay, their primary event this season, to the sprint medley.

“Honestly? It was hard,” Mayo said. “Usually, we run these events as individuals, so putting it into the relay was extremely difficult. When we did it the first time three weeks ago, we just winged it and then realized we had more potential.”

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