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Salute to the state champs: Boys track & field

Christopher Borzor shows off his form in Knight-Time

Christopher Borzor shows off his form in Knight-Time Invitational at Uniondale. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Long Islanders who won the gold at the state high school track and field meet:

Christopher Borzor, Uniondale

55 meters

300 meters

Borzor was the top athlete in Nassau this season and took his skills statewide in the postseason, winning the public schools 55 meters and 300 meters championship. He was the only Long Islander, boy or girl, to win two individual championships.

Borzor ran a 6.44 in the 55, placing third in the Federation race behind winner Carlon Hosten of the Bronx’s Taft Educational Campus (6.35) and second place Heron Maurisseau — O’Neal of St. Anthony’s (6.42).

Borzor ran a 34.53 in the 300, third in the Federation race. Tahje Flemmings of Brooklyn’s Banneker Academy won in 34.10 and Kimani Brown of Queens’ Cardozo was second in 34.37.

Borzor was able to pull out the public schools 55 championship after starting slow out of the blocks.

“It was really hard,” Borzor said of the 55. “I had a bad start . . . I was the last one off the blocks, but I kept running and opened my stride more.”

Isaiah Claiborne, Northport

1,000

Claiborne sprinted past the field halfway through the final lap, making sure that his first individual state championship was secure. When a state gold is on the line, a runner can’t take any chances and, as Claiborne saw the field slowly moving away with 150 meters left, he stutter-stepped and took off.

“I knew if they put a gap on me,[on the back straightaway] I wouldn’t be able to catch up,” Claiborne said. “Once they passed me, I knew I had to catch up to them again and pass them. I knew Ben Bulkeley was behind me and he had a fast kick, so I had to make sure I got a gap on him.”

Claiborne won in two minutes, 26.95 seconds, breaking the meet record of 2:27.63, set by North Rockland’s Liam Purdy in 2014.

The Northport senior led early in the race before falling back into third place and working his way back up toward gold.

“Going into the fourth lap, two people passed me,” Claiborne said. “I was nervous. But I made sure to stay relaxed, not make dumb moves, and make sure I have a lot toward the end. It happened to work out.”

Claiborne was fourth in the mile at New Balance Indoor Nationals, good for All-American status.

Vladislav Cullinane, Babylon

High jump

Babylon’s Vladislav Cullinane faced a familiar challenge as he lined up for the final few jumps of the state high jump competition — going higher than Shoreham — Wading River’s Richard Casazza. The two battled all season long, and this didn’t change when it came to the season’s biggest event.

And it was Cullinane who emerged the victor, clearing six feet, seven inches to win his first state championship. Casazza was second, clearing 6-6.

“I’ve been battling with [Casazza]) all year,” Cullinane said. “And it was close.”

The two battled at the Suffolk Small School championship as well, with Cullinane clearing 6-6, topping Casazza by one inch.

The championship was hardly a surprise. Cullinane held the top mark in the state for most of the season. He ended the indoor season with the top jump in the state, clearing 6-9 at the Suffolk state qualifier.

St. Anthony’s 4 x 800-meter relay

Brendan Dearie, Mason Gatewood, Matthew Payamps Michael Barbaro-Barnett

Thanks in part, to a stellar third leg from Matthew Payamps, St. Anthony’s cruised to victory — topping the field by more than 11 seconds. Their seven minute, 45.30 second finish broke Collegiate’s meet record of 7:50.52 and supplanted the Friars’ state supremacy.

“When I got the stick, I just knew I had to run for my team,” Payamps said. “The whole time I just thought ‘run as hard as you can.’ I love these guys so much. I can’t believe what we did.”

Payamps said he knew there was no time to waste if he wanted to get away from second-place Northport. “I knew I had to get out fast,” he said. “ . . . We ran so much better than we thought we would.”

The state championship 4 x 800 proved to be only a warm-up. One week later, the same foursome broke the state and national distance medley relay CHSAA school record. St. Anthony’s ran 9:58.36 on the first night of New Balance Indoor Nationals, breaking Warwick Valley’s 2011 state mark of 10:02.74 and Pennsylvania Cardinal O’Hara’s 2014 national CHSAA mark of 10:00.75, St. Anthony’s coach Tim Dearie said.

St. Anthony’s also ran to a fourth-place finish in the 4 x 800-meter relay at New Balance Nationals, earning them All-American status.

Northport 4 x 800-meter relay

Elijah Claiborne, Isaiah Claiborne, Dan O’Connor, Thomas Fodor

Add another notch to the long list of accomplishments by one of the best distance programs on Long Island. The Northport quartet combined to run the longest relay of the event in seven minutes, 56.52 seconds. That time was good enough for a public schools championship and a second-place finish in the Federation race. St. Anthony’s won the Federation title in 7:45.30.

This was a labor of endurance for Northport. Three of the four members of the team ran individual events earlier in the meet. Isaiah won the 1,000 in 2:26.95, Elijah used a late sprint to barely miss a 1,600 championship and take second in 4:15.55, and O’Connor ran 9:31.37 for a top-12 finish in the 3,200.

One week later, the team took third in 7:46.36 in the 4 x 800 at New Balance Indoor Nationals, earning All-American status. The time broke West Islip’s 2016 Suffolk record of 7:47.68, according to suffolkxctf.com.

Intersectional distance medley relay: Suffolk: Joshua Green (Shelter Island), Zachary Hicks (Patchogue-Medford), Adriel Robinson (Sachem East), Carlos Santos (Patchogue-Medford), 8:54.11.

Some of Suffolk’s top athlete’s combined to win the intersectional distance medley relay in eight minutes, 54.11 seconds. The event pits each state section, including the CHSAA and PSAL against each other. Santos was one of the top Cross Country runners on Long Island this fall. He placed fourth in the 1,600 in 4:22.84 at the Suffolk state qualifier. At the same event, Hicks placed fourth in the 600 (1:24.44), Robinson was fifth in the 300 (37.40), and Green placed fourth in the 1,000 (2:37.77).

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