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St. Anthony's locks up triple crown

St. Anthony's Mike Brunoforte won the pole vault

St. Anthony's Mike Brunoforte won the pole vault at the CHSAA Intersectional track and field championships. (May 26, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Dan Graw was not going to let St. Anthony's chance at history slip away from him.

The Friars were within reach of their first triple crown -- intersectional titles in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. But entering the anchor leg of the final event, the 4 x 400-meter relay, only four points meant the difference between an outright win and a tie with Chaminade.

"I didn't want to lose," Graw said. "I wasn't just running on my own, I was running for my teammates. We wanted to go to states and win the meet."

With a last-gasp surge, Graw helped his team do both. The senior clocked a blazing 48.3-second final split as the Friars took second in the 4 x 400 and won the first triple crown in school history Saturday at the CHSAA Outdoor Intersectional championship at Randalls Island.

It was the first triple crown in the CHSAA since Chaminade in 1996. The Friars won the cross country championship last November, and took the indoor track title in February.

"It really shows how deep of a program we are," said Kevin Kreider, who was the second leg in the 4 x 400 and a part of all three championship teams.

St. Anthony's felt the heat on a humid afternoon, trailing Chaminade (42 points) and Xavier of Manhattan (27) by as many as 10 points for most of the afternoon. They took the lead for good after junior Jack Gamble took second in the discus with a personal-best 140 feet, 4 inches. "This whole season, I just wanted to get that 140," Gamble said. "I kind of just pushed it out."

St. Anthony's led Chaminade 40-36 entering the 4 x 400, meaning the Flyers needed to make up four points to force a tie. For the first three legs, it looked like that would happen. Chaminade's team of Rocco Signore, Eric Gindele, Caelum Maloney and Brent Harrison was in the lead, while St. Anthony's (Stanton Ridley, Kreider, James Adegbite and Graw) was third at the handoff.

It all came down to Graw, who had never run track before this winter. Graw moved up to second on the backstretch and made a challenge with 100 meters to go, but came up just short of the win. Chaminade clocked a 3:21.08, and St. Anthony's finished in 3:21.60 -- good enough for a spot at the state meet in two weeks.

"At first, I didn't know we made it to states," Graw said. "I found out when I was up [with my team in the stands]."

Mike Brunoforte won the pole vault in a meet-record 16-0 to earn most outstanding field performer. Tom Diliberto took the steeplechase in 9:44.84, and Cameron Black won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.37 seconds.

Kellenberg's Dylan Murphy won most outstanding track performer by taking the 800 (1:54.56) and anchoring the 4 x 800 to a win in 7:46.62. Thomas Awad of Chaminade won the 3,200 in 9:30.00 and finished second to teammate Sean Kelly in the 1,600 to lead the charge for the Flyers.

"Chaminade took us down to the wire," Friars coach Tim Dearie said. "It just shows how hard it is to win a triple crown."

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