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Shoreham-Wading River’s Payton Capes-Davis overcomes fall to win at Steeple Fest

Mt. Sinai's Noreen Guilfoyle clears the first hurdle,

Mt. Sinai's Noreen Guilfoyle clears the first hurdle, the water trap, in the girls 2000m open steeplechase as Shoreham-Wading River's Payton Capes-Davis loses her footing on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Payton Capes-Davis wasn’t going to let a spill ruin her steeplechase debut. The Shoreham-Wading River senior took a tumble on the first water jump of Wednesday’s 2,000-meter steeplechase at the Port Jeff Steeple Fest at Port Jefferson High School. But, instead of folding up and shifting her focus to other, more familiar events, she popped right back into the race and took out any of her frustrations on the track.

“I think I just leaned forward a little bit too much and ended up hitting the ground pretty hard,” Capes-Davis said. “I got back up and figured ‘if not now, never,’ so I just moved past it and kept going with the competition.”

Capes-Davis rebounded from the spill and went on to win the race in 7 minutes, 10.39 seconds.

“I had actually anticipated that, maybe, something would go wrong,” Capes-Davis said of her first water jump. “I don’t have a water-pit in my school, so we had only worked on the hurdles. So, I thought, if something goes wrong, I had to be mentally tough. It’s just one more barrier on the track. I just had to get over it. When I first hit the ground, my first instinct was to get up and chase after the girl that got in front of me.”

Capes-Davis, who said she’s excited about the prospect of running the steeplechase throughout the spring, cruised to victory, winning by 20.59 seconds.

Patchogue-Medford’s Carlos Santos won the boys 3,000 steeplechase in a dominant 9:57.28. It was Santos’ second steeplechase victory of the season. He won at the Kings Relays on Randall’s Island on April 1 in 10:11.87

Despite the Kings Relays’ victory, Santos was unhappy with his ability to find space on the track — something that, he said, affected his time. Wednesday, with those space-finding struggles in mind, Santos turned in an improved performance.

“Even when I was lapping people at the end of the race, I still went to the outside so I would have all the space that I needed in order to not run into anyone and keep going,” he said.

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