It’s an unorthodox combo, but Riverhead’s Luke Coulter does it well. One, the 3,200 meters, a display of distance and endurance. The other, the 600 meters, a shorter mid-distance jaunt that has a penchant to turn into an all-out sprint.
The two races require almost completely different skill sets, but Coulter, ever the chameleon, takes pride in his ability to excel in both.
“When I’m in competition, in the heat of the moment, I don’t know what comes over me,” Coulter said. “I just go.”
The senior won both, the 3,200 meters in nine minutes, 34.17 seconds and the 600 meters in 1:23.73, at the Suffolk Large School Championships Monday night at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.
Both races followed fairly similar scripts, with Coulter waiting until late in the race to make his final move towards the front. But, while in the 3,200 he encountered little resistance as he cruised down the final straight away, during the 600 meters he had to outlast West Islip’s Michael Martiny. Martiny and Coulter bumped into each other with approximately 30 meters left in the race. Coulter was able to recover and crossed the line a double winner.
“In cross country, it happens a lot,” Coulter, who will run for Stony Brook University next season, said. “When you’re on the trails in the middle of the forest and nobody is around, kids bump each other all the time. You get used to it . . . I wasn’t expecting it, but I compensated for it.”
Smithtown East’s Daniel Claxton broke his own school record, clearing six feet, nine 1/4 inches to win the high jump. His previous record, six feet, nine inches, was set at the Molloy Stanner Games in January, he said.
When Claxton hit the mat after the jump, he exploded in emotion, pumping his fists emphatically as the surrounding crowed cheered wildly.
“It felt like a great jump and I knew that the height was something that I’ve been going for for a long time,” Claxton said.
Ward Melville’s Mike Reilly won the 1,600 meters in 4:26.36. Half Hollow East’s Blair Braxton won the 55 meters in 6.61 seconds, outlasting Central Islip’s Livingstone Harriott Jr. at the line by 0.02 seconds.
Central Islip, who only brought 13 athletes to the meet, scored 50 points and won the team championship. Longwood was second with 45.
“It means everything,” Harriott said. “This is the first time coach [Chris] Pisano has had a county championship team and, when we get back, Central Islip is going to be really proud.”
Ishmael Wade, Zachary Haye, Kye Mitchell, and Harriott won the 4x200 meter relay in 1:34.49. Harriott won the triple jump, flying 46 feet. Demezin Demozin won the long jump, going 22 feet, 3 1/4 inches.