Lauren Harris just keeps getting better. The Sachem East race walker has set personal bests in each of her last three races and Saturday at the Armory in Manhattan, she set the ultimate personal best — a national record.
Harris, a junior, won the one mile race walk in six minutes, 57.36 seconds on the second day of the weekend-long New Balance Indoor Nationals. Ashleigh Resch of Beavercreek, Ohio held the old record for two days shy of a calendar year, walking the national race in 7:00.33 last March.
“The record was in the back of my mind,” Harris, who won the 1,500 meter race walk state championship last weekend, said. “My coach was yelling out some splits. At the end, I saw my time and knew I broke the record. It was awesome.”
Despite her big lead late in the race, Harris’ final 400 meters were not without their tense moments. She received a paddle notification on her final lap, indicating that her form was slipping towards a possible disqualification. It was a warning, but a welcome one.
“I knew that it was going to slow me down and make me keep my form for the finish,” Harris said. “That was a great help. I would have gone really fast the last lap, risked my form and risked that first place spot. Instead, I buckled down, worked on my technique, and finished the last 200 meters . . . The last lap, I think (the judges) knew I was trying to go much faster. I couldn’t have done that without breaking my form.”
Harris was the lone national champion from Long Island, but not by much. St. Anthony’s boys 4X 1-mile team, composed of Christopher Langer, Freddie Buckholtz, Ryan Kutch and Ryan Dearie placed second in 17:16.45. Illinois’ Sandburg High School edged the Friars at the line, winning in 17:16.36.
The time broke the state record of 17:21.56, set by Shaker High School in 2012. It also broke the St. Anthony’s school record of 17:29.6 set in 1979 by a team that included both St. Anthony’s head coach Tim Dearie and assistant coach Bob Higgins, Dearie said.
“He used to bust our chops all the time,” Ryan Dearie, Tim’s son, said of the school record. “We’ve had some good guys, but we’ve never been able to get it. It’s awesome. It’s something to play around with my dad with. It’s great that we got it.”
West Islip’s 4X800 team earned All-American status, finishing fourth in 7:47.68. The time broke their own Suffolk record of 7:50.01, set in February.
Huntington’s sprint medley relay team, composed of Kyree Johnson, Infinite Tucker, Lawrence Leake and Shane McGuire, ran a 3:30.94, breaking the Suffolk record of 3:32.80, set by Half Hollow Hills West in 2011, according to suffolkxctf.com. The time, good for sixth, gave Huntington All-American status.
Uniondale’s girls sprint medley relay team, composed of Ayanna Whittaker, Brianna McGregor, Asia Jinks and Kristina Cherrington, were also All-American, placing sixth in 4:05.27.
Sachem East’s Alexandra DeCicco, Ciara Murphy, Valerie Romero, and Rachel Ruggiero were All-American in the 4X 1-mile relay, placing fourth in 20:51.63. Shoreham-Wading River’s unit, composed of Kaitlyn Ohrtmann, Alexandra Hays, Amanda Dwyer and Katherine Lee, also achieved All-American status, placing sixth in 20:53.25.
In field events, Smithtown East’s Daniel Claxton placed sixth in the high jump, clearing six feet, nine inches and earning All-American status.