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No letting up at state meet for Roslyn's Lipari

Emily Lipari of Roslyn competes in the 1500

Emily Lipari of Roslyn competes in the 1500 meter run at the NYS Track Tournament at Cornell University. (March 6, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by Pat Orr

ITHACA - With seven indoor and outdoor Federation titles in track and field under her belt before the season even started, Emily Lipari's legacy in Long Island history had already been entrenched.

With that in mind, there are some who might've understood if the Villanova-bound senior decided to take it a little easy this year.

There would be no letup for Lipari, who took the 1,500-meter Federation championship Saturday in a meet-record time of 4:28.21 at the state track and field championships at Cornell.

It was the eighth Federation title for Lipari, who bested the mark of 4:29.55 set by Nnenna Lynch of Hunter in 1989.

"Even though I've committed to college, I still have some unfinished business in high school, so I'm not taking this year lightly," Lipari said.

Lipari said her goal coming in was to set the record. To do that Lipari, who normally paces her self until the final lap, had to change strategy.

"I just wanted to take it from the gun and make people chase me instead of me chasing them," she said.

As for winning another title, Lipari said they are all special. "Any title win is very nice," Lipari said. "Winning a state championship still means a lot to me, because New York State is so competitive."

The Garden City 4 x 400-meter team followed suit, winning in 4:01.96. But the race was in doubt early on for the Trojans, thanks to a near mishap on the first baton handoff between lead leg Alexis Yeboah-Kodie and Taylor Hennig.

"There was someone still in the lane when we were about to make the handoff," Yeboah-Kodie said. "We had to go around and I thought we were going to be out of the zone."

Yeboah-Kodie and Hennig avoided disqualification, setting up the rest of the race. But avoiding a collision didn't guarantee anything for the Trojans, who ran third for a good portion of the race.

But Taryn Schmelzinger made up enough ground on the third leg, setting up Catherine Cafaro, who erased a 10-meter deficit on her lap for the win ahead of Newburgh (Section I) and Cardozo (PSAL).

"The plan was just to catch them," Cafaro said. "We weren't really worried about the time. Just run as fast as you can for the win."

Long Island's success didn't end with Garden City. Bay Shore's Destiny Lalane took first in the 1,500 walk in 7:06.94. It was a big improvement for Lalane, who took second at the Suffolk qualifier in 7:11.94.

Lalane was one of four L.I. athletes in the top five. Connetquot's Amy Cheung took second (7:11.7), Garden City sophomore Molly Josephs was third (7:16.45) and Northport sophomore Suzy Farber fifth (7:18.16).

Other L.I. notables include Holy Trinity's Colleen Schmidt, who was second in the 3,000 and third in the 1,500.

Brentwood's Donna Jeanty (600), Elmont's Valencia Hannon (55), and North Babylon's Vanessa Stewart (shot put) each took second. Hannon was also part of Elmont's 4 x 200 team of Kyla Ridley, Ashley McCarthy, and Cherrelle King, which was third. Kellenberg's Kim MacKay took third in the 1,000 in a personal-best 2:54.96.

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