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Northport's Brennan wins two at Suffolk track championships

If anyone is concerned about the future of Suffolk County girls track, there's no need to worry.

Northport eighth-grader Brigid Brennan proved the future was in good hands last night as she continued her season of excellence at the Suffolk County girls large school championships at Suffolk CC-Brentwood.

Brennan took first in the 3,000-meter run in a career-best time of 10:14.56 and the 1,500 in 4:51.93.

So how does an eighth-grader compete in grueling distance races with athletes who are three to five years older? "I'm a very competitive person and I like to win," Brennan said. "I've loved running since I was a young kid."

It also helps that few people outside of Brennan, her family and her teammates figured she would be so good. "I know that I'm not expected to do great things yet," she said. "So I just go out there and have some fun."

Finishing a race with a great time isn't necessarily a top priority.

"First I think about winning and then afterward I'm happy if it's a good time," Brennan said.

As for her race strategy, it's not much different from that of any other good distance runner. Start out fast with the top group and stay in the hunt long enough to make a move at the end.

It worked for Brennan in both races.

"I knew if I stayed with the top runners they'd lead me enough," Brennan said. "So I just stayed behind them until I felt strong enough to pass them."

Brennan waited until the final lap of the 3,000 to make her move. It didn't take as long for her in the 1,500, though, as she made a move with about a lap and a half to go, passing second-place finisher Katie Skinner of Riverhead.

"I just felt good right there," Brennan said. "I knew if I started out there it would be easier than outsprinting her in the end."

In other events: Commack had an excellent meet as Allison Stapleton won the 1,000-meter run in 3:02.37 and Colby Lubman took the 55-meter dash in 7.32.

Brentwood's Donna Jeanty won the 600 in 1:36.83 and Vanessa Stewart (North Babylon) took first in the shot put with a toss of 46-33/4. Sachem East's Lisa Luchsinger won the long jump (16-93/4).

Bay Shore's Darlene Eiermann took first in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.04 and Cara Hallahan of Smithtown East took the high jump (5 feet).

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