ITHACA -- Everything about Sayville's Christopher Belcher screams fast. Even his leotard reads "Flashes" across the chest. Yes, it happens to be the Sayville school nickname, but it also describes Belcher perfectly.
He's quick as a flash.
Belcher's socks are black with yellow lightning bolts on the side.
He's fast as lightning.
Belcher has everything to show he's the quickest in the state, but now he has the one thing that matters most -- a championship. The senior won the 55-dash in 6.35 seconds at yesterday's New York State Championships, held at Cornell University.
As it always does, Belcher's path to victory began at the blocks.
"It was the perfect start, the best I've ever had in my life," Belcher said. "I leaned in, blew out really hard, and threw my arms up. I just started exploding and was gone."
Belcher ran a 6.53 in the preliminaries and a 6.46 in the semifinals. With each sprint, Belcher became more confident in his ability to make the morning a special one.
"The first races are a little warm-up," Belcher said. "In the finals, you get really sweaty, warmed up, fired up, and ready to go. You feel amazing when you're in the blocks."
That amazing feeling only increased midway through his final run. Realizing he was ahead, Belcher was careful to wait until he crossed the finish line to start celebrating.
"Midway through, I knew I had the race," he said "I got really excited because I saw myself ahead. I was like 'All right, just relax. Hurry up, do your thing, and finish. You can celebrate later'."
Later came quickly. As soon as he crossed the finished line, he threw his arms up in joy.
"I was the happiest kid in New York," he said.
Others were pretty happy too. Northport's 4 X 800 relay team, composed of Mike Brannigan, James Dickinson, David Hatch, and Chris Odin took home a state title. The quartet finished in 7:56.52
The victory wasn't easy. When anchorman James Dickinson received the baton, the team was buried in the middle of the pack. It was now all up to him.
The senior said he knew that victory would come after a carefully executed approach was completed.
After the first lap, the job was halfway done. Northport had climbed into second place.
"When I got into second place, the pace really slowed down," he said. "It took a lot to get up there and I just tried to stay with them. [Then], the pace was too slow, so I decided to go outside, kick it, and go for the win."
As Dickinson crossed the finish line, his teammates watched in amazement -- basking in their first few seconds as state champs.
"It was incredible," Chris Odin said. "I was a little worried when he got the baton, but I saw him close the gap and I knew we had the win. He's got a kick like no other."