The memories are still there for Roosevelt. It was last season's A-I county championship when the Rough Riders fell by two points to Valley Stream North, a championship that was so close, yet so far away. And Roosevelt still hasn't forgotten about it.
"That motivated us a lot," Raymond Jones said. "From the start of spring track, we've just thought about winning divisions, counties, and going to states."
The first part of that redemption plan is complete. Roosevelt took the Division IV-A title Tuesday, topping Valley Stream North 146.5-111. The second part of it comes this Tuesday and Wednesday, when Roosevelt will battle for a county title.
The divisional championship has given the squad an extra boost of confidence, not only because of the victory itself, but also because of the margin by which it came -- 35.5 points.
"It gives us quite a bit of confidence, actually," Jones said. "We came in first and second in a lot of events. That's 10 and eight points [respectively]. If we can get that in almost every single race, we can win counties."
Jones took care of the winning in both the 100 and 110 hurdles. He won the 100 in 10.9 seconds and the 110 hurdles in 15.3 seconds. His 100 victory came by 0.1 of a second. Jones finished second in the 200 in 22.3 seconds. Nahjeem Lowe won the 400 hurdles in 57.3 seconds.
"I stumbled at the start," Lowe said. "But I knew I couldn't let [Valley Stream North's] Isaiah Paige beat me. The race was neck and neck for 300 meters. On that last straight away, I just beat him."
Lowe also won the 400 in 50.4 seconds. Teammate Joshua Stevenson was second in 51.5 seconds.
"[Lowe] is a tough person to beat," Stevenson said. "He chases me down and passes me all the time . . . Getting second was because of my finish. The last 20 meters, I caught everyone, except Nahjeem."
As impressive as the divisional victory was, Roosevelt knows that the job is not finished. Once the opening gun fires on Tuesday, a new task is at hand, winning the county title that, a year ago, was so very close.
Joel Salmon won the long jump, going 20 feet, six and three quarter inches. Yusuf Young took the triple jump, flying 44-111/2.
Said Shamari Kirkpatrick, "It would mean a lot to bring it home to Roosevelt."