Paige Keefer’s plan for the week was pretty simple — win, rest, win some more. Not a bad plan, and an even better one when you can execute it to perfection. Three days after Keefer, as part of West Babylon’s 4 x 400-meter relay team, qualified for next month’s Millrose Games at the hotly contested Millrose Trials, the senior won the 600 meters in one minute, 32.64 seconds at the Molloy Stanner Games Saturday afternoon at The Armory in Manhattan.
“It really just got me more excited for today,” Keefer said of winning the Suffolk 4 x 400 at the Millrose Trials.
As the bell indicating the final lap of the 600 enthusiastically clanged, Keefer gritted her teeth, tightened her focus, and, ever so slightly, moved away from the field.
“When the bell rings, I just leave everything I have left on the track, go faster, and try to pass everyone in the way,” she said.
Keefer, who was seeded second in the race, said that the Molloy Stanner Games was one of her first big individual races of the indoor season. “I was excited to know that there are kids who were faster than me in the race,” Keefer said. “So, I had people to push me more. I just like having the competition.”
Keefer, along with her teammates Brittany Korsah, Nadja Ashley, and Dana Beggins, also won the 4 x 400-meter relay in 3:57.19.
Olympian Sydney McLaughlin, who attends New Jersey’s Union Catholic and made the semifinals of the 400 hurdles in Rio this summer, won the 300 in 37.11. Korsah was second in 39.71.
“It was a great experience,” Korsah said of running next to an Olympian. “She’s very fast, but I pushed through it to PR. That’s all I wanted.”
Bayport-Blue Point’s Ashley Walsh won the invitational shot put, throwing 39 feet, 51⁄4 inches. “I’ve been working on the basics of my form,” Walsh said. “I think I did everything well today. This is only my second year doing indoor track, so I’m still learning. I have to make sure that I land in the power position, which is with your feet under your hips and your knee bent so you have enough power in your legs, and you’re not just using your [upper] body.”
Walsh’s volleyball coach, Toni Mulgrave, convinced her to go out for indoor track before last season. She liked it so much that she choose outdoor track instead of softball in the spring.
“It just kind of happened that I was good at shot put,” Walsh said. “I didn’t really know what I was doing. This year, I know what to expect . . . I know more now and I’m putting it all together.”
Sachem East’s Lindsey Dodenhoff placed second in the Invitational 3,000 in 10:17.77. North Rockland’s Alexandra Harris won in 10:10.75. The time was a gigantic personal best for Dodenhoff, besting her previous top time of 10:44.59.
Dodenhoff sat in third for a large part of the race, until a late move propelled her to second. “I was racing for time because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go out,” she said. “I’m not really used to these races.”
Westhampton’s Sarena Choi won the long jump (18-91⁄2) and the triple jump (38-31⁄2).