Sean Kelly decided to go against the grain. As he began the 1,600 meters at Sunday's CHSAA Intersectional Championship at the Armory in Manhattan, the Chaminade senior wanted to change his strategy. He would take the race out fast, trying to tire out the rest of the field.
The reason for his decision was, in and of itself, a strategic one. Kelly wanted to conserve energy during the final laps so he would be relatively fresh for the 4 x 800 relay later in the meet. But the plan at the starting line, as Kelly soon found out, can change rapidly.
"At the 800-meter mark, I saw I was at 2:09," Kelly said. "I thought there was no one behind me and people had given up, which was what the strategy was. Strangely enough, they did the opposite. Everybody stuck with me. I saw [Fordham Prep's] Conor Lundy on my shoulder and I knew it was going to be a real kickers race."
Kelly was able to outkick Lundy, winning the race in 4 minutes, 14.62 seconds. The change in strategy didn't hurt Chaminade's 4 x 800 chances, either. Kelly, along with Gunnar Nolan, Andrew Dorritie and Thomas Slattery, won that event in 7:50.44, breaking the previous meet record of 7:55.98, set by Bishop Loughlin in 2000.
The two victories were keys in Chaminade's intersectional triumph. The Flyers topped St. Anthony's, 48-43. It was their second consecutive winter intersectional title. After falling to St. Anthony's at the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA league meet two weeks ago, the win was extra special. Despite the dominant nature of St. Anthony's league victory, Chaminade thought the increased number of teams at The Armory would work in its favor.
"We were confident entering today because we knew the chances of [St. Anthony's] beating us again were diminished because the city schools were here," Kelly said. "When we're here, our strong guys can get the top points and other strong guys from the city can fill in the [other] slots."
Nolan scored valuable points with a victory in the 1,000, running a 2:31.12. Reggie Verrier won the long jump, flying 21 feet, 3 1/2 inches. "I finished my big jumps," Verrier said. "You have to bring your arms out in front of you and, when you land, you pull yourself forward. That's a big part of it."
St. Anthony's took home the girls title in impressive fashion, scoring 70 points, which more than doubled second-place Kellenberg.
Melissa June won the 55 meters in 7.21 seconds and the 300 in 39.68 seconds. June was happy with her start, which she has been working on during the last two weeks.
"I've been working on my structure and how I get out," June said. "I want to be explosive. It's still something that can be worked on. But it's getting there."
June's 300 time was her personal best. "That was a target time all season," she said.
Emily O'Neill won the 600 in 1:36.97.