The boys and girls of the Freeport track program combined their state championship pedigrees to barely miss a national championship Saturday night at The Armory in Manhattan.
Freeport’s team, composed of Jahmel Maynor-Mendez, Kevon O’Brien-Smith, Enyero Omokeni, and Alexandria Yarbrough placed an All-American second in three minutes, 33.89 seconds in the mixed 4x400 meter relay on the second night of New Balance Indoor Nationals. The event featured teams of two boys and two girls running in a traditional 4x400, with the order completely up to coaches and not needing to feature all boys or all girls on each leg. Virginia’s Western Branch won in 3:32.57.
“I’m used to running against all males, so it was kind of fun and different,” Maynor-Mendez said. “ . . . We usually practice together, so getting used to each other wasn’t that difficult. The complicated part was handoffs, but even that was pretty quick because we usually train together.”
While Omokeni wouldn’t exactly describe the race as ‘fun,’ she did say it was an ‘interesting’ competition.
“The boys will push you and get you to run faster,” Omokeni said.
Last weekend, Omokeni and Yarbrough ran on Freeport’s public school state champion 4x400 meter team and O’Brien-Smith won the state championship 600.
“I was really happy with the way I performed, trying to keep a calm head despite the fact that I was running with the boys,” Yarbrough said. “I tried to run my race and not get too overwhelmed in the moment.”
Elsewhere, Mount Sinai’s Kenneth Wei placed an All-American fifth in the long jump, flying 23 feet, 11 inches.
Wei also ran a 7.88 in the 60-meter hurdle trials, good for ninth overall. The place qualified him for the semifinals Sunday.
“My start was very explosive,” Wei said. “I felt it as soon as I got out and knew it would be a very good run.”