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St. Anthony’s Buckholtz trusts late kick in tight 1,600 win

Freddie Buckholtz of St. Anthony's wins the 1,600-meter

Freddie Buckholtz of St. Anthony's wins the 1,600-meter run during the St. Anthony's Track and Field Invitational on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at St. Anthony's High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

St. Anthony’s Freddie Buckholtz is learning to trust his kick. Sometimes, a runner’s best friend is the knowledge that his raw ability will take over when he needs it most. And Saturday, on his home turf, Buckholtz needed every ounce of what his raw ability could give him.

And, like it has so many times before, it was enough to carry him to victory. Buckholtz used his kick, one that he waited until the last 200 meters to deploy, to outlast Sachem North’s Christopher Tibbetts at the line and win the 1,600 meters in four minutes, 16.39 seconds at the St. Anthony’s Invitational. Tibbetts was second in 4:16.75.

“I’m starting to make my moves later in the race,” Buckholtz said. “I’m trusting my speed. I usually go with 400 to go and today I went with 200 to go.”

Buckholtz knew that, because of the strength of the field, losing speed and still holding on for victory was not an option.

“I knew Chris Tibbetts has a good kick and [St. Anthony’s] Chris Langer has a great kick,” he said. “I wanted to go later, so I could go all out.”

Buckholtz said he ran the first 800 meters very conservatively, waiting for the race to play out before committing to any set moves.

“The third lap, I started to creep up a little bit,” he said. “Going into the fourth lap, I waited and I went at the end.”

Langer was third in 4:17.08.

Buckholtz’s teammate Ryan Kutch won the 3,200 in 9:13.52. Kutch and Harborfield’s Ryan Scanlon separated from the pack early before the St. Anthony’s standout took the race by himself. Scanlon was second in 9:21.32.

Despite the victory, Kutch said he was not happy with the time, still looking for major improvements even though the postseason begins later this month.

“I haven’t had a great race this season, but maybe that’s just the switch from indoor to outdoor season,” Kutch said. “Indoor season was pretty long. Hopefully next week at [the Loucks Games in White Plains], I’ll have a big [personal best] . . . I’ve been going out hard and slowing down too much. I want to avoid doing that.”

Carey’s Gregory Matzelle took the 100 in 10.95 seconds. Huntington’s Kyree Johnson was second in 10.99 seconds.

“My start wasn’t the best,” Matzelle said. “But I was able to keep my form to the finish and pull out ahead by just a little bit.”

Matzelle said he didn’t get enough push off the blocks, something that has befallen him a few times this season.

“I practice every day, trying to fix little bits here and there,” he said. “I’ve definitely improved greatly since the start of the season. My times have shown. I’ve done better and better each meet.”

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