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Patchogue-Medford’s Carlos Santos runs steeplechase for first time at Hispanic Games

Carlos Santos of Patchogue-Medford, finished 4th. with

Carlos Santos of Patchogue-Medford, finished 4th. with a time of 4:58.25sec. in the Boys 1 Mile Steeplechase Invitational at the Emblem Health Hispanic Games held at the New Balance Track and Field Center, Washington Heights, New York Saturday, January 9th. 2016. Credit: Errol Anderson

No matter how much experience or success a runner has, making the move from outdoor track to indoor presents a new set of challenges.

Carlos Santos, a sophomore from Patchogue-Medford, finished in 4:58.77 for fourth in the mile steeplechase at the Armory’s Hispanic Games in Manhattan on Saturday. It marked his first time trying the barrier-clearing event at an indoor track meet after excelling as a steeplechase runner in his freshman spring season.

“The steeplechase is really about fitness and endurance,” Santos said. “I guess the dry air inside plays a factor in everything.”

There aren’t many opportunities to run the event inside, where the track doesn’t feature a pool of water to jump over like its outdoor track counterpart. Dry air and dry feet aside, Santos said he sees the smaller indoor track as an advantage.

“Being on a smaller track helps you have more of a game plan,” Santos said. “You get to pace yourself, know where you’re supposed to be in case you go slower or faster.”

Santos said he got his time right where he wanted and finished where he was seeded, but given another opportunity, he’d be able to improve greatly.

Most importantly, his showing allowed him to size up other runners and get another race behind him in preparation for the spring season ahead.

“This makes you stay fit and know what you’re up against in the spring,” he said. “Just having competition like this, it’s great.”

On the girls side, North Shore’s Diana Vizza came in second in the invitational mile. She controlled the pace for the majority of the race before ceding ground in the last few laps. She finished in 4:58.66, less than two seconds behind the winner, Jessica Drop of Coginchaug (Connecticut).

“I knew it was a really competitive field, so I didn’t want to play around in the beginning,” Vizza said. “I knew some of them had really fast kicks at the end.”

She said she ran to her strengths in the middle by trying to control the pace and took the race as a learning opportunity to build her plan for her next mile race. That plan includes using an earlier finishing kick.

“It’s good to have experience at a higher level,” Vizza said.

The Uniondale 4x200-meter relay team composed of Kristina Cherrington, Asia Jinks, Brianna McGregor and Ayanna Whittaker ran the fastest New York public school time this season in the trials in 1:43.16. It followed that up with a fifth place 1:43.77 finish in the final. Kristina Cherrington led off the final 25 minutes after running the 400 meter.

“I wanted to do it for my team,” Cherrington said of the short break. “Even though I was tired I gave all that I had left.”

Bay Shore’s Aviana Goode finished third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.0 seconds, while Uniondale’s Christopher Duhaney came in third in 7.61 on the boys side. Massapequa’s Taylor Rettig took fifth (10:26.42) in the 3,000-meter invitational. Frederick Buckholtz of St. Anthony’s finished fifth (9:46.62) in the two-mile invitational. Katherine Lee of Shoreham-Wading River took first in the second heat of the mile invitational. Jericho’s Matthew Su took fifth with a 21-foot-10 jump in the boys long jump.

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