Not much has been normal in the last year, but Saturday afternoon saw something that was: St. Anthony’s, a Long Island track and field powerhouse, took home a championship.
This time, it was the CHSAA Intersectional indoor team championship at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island. St. Anthony’s scored 51 points. Chaminade was second with 36.
Although St. Anthony’s trophy room is overflowing with this type of hardware across all three high school running seasons, they had not won an indoor intersectional title since 2017, coach Tim Dearie said.
For the CHSAA, which has spent most weekends this winter running at Ocean Breeze, it was much of the same scenery. But for the runners on the track, the magnitude of the championships ratcheted up the intensity.
"I knew going in that this was a championship race and everyone’s mindset was ‘we’re going after the win,’" said St. Anthony’s Jack Ward, who won the 1,000 meters in two minutes, 34.86 seconds. ". . . The runner turns into a different person when they hear about a championship race. It’s no longer ‘running a 2:40.’ You could go from running a 2:40 to running a 2:36 just because it’s a championship and you have that adrenaline rush."
Ward said he had to break out of a pretty tight box early in the race, using some tight maneuvering to find a hole and dash to victory.
"I went through about 500 meters and my coach said, ‘You have to find a gap and get out of that,’" Ward said. "So, at the 500 mark, I went out and just pushed it to the end and gave it everything I had . . . Getting out of the box was a bit difficult because I had to move from lane one to two and then keep advancing."
Ward’s teammate, Robert Doherty, won the 600 meters in 1:19.90, outpacing St. John the Baptist’s Fernando Sanchez, who was second in 1:22.40. Doherty’s time was a meet and school record, Dearie said.
"I got myself in a good position and the last lap I just kind of kicked it in and sprinted to the finish," Doherty said.
Doherty ran anchor on the winning 4X400 meter relay team. Along with Vincenzo Bruno, Dominic Gentile and Charles Whitcomb, Doherty’s unit clocked a 3:25.79. Xavier was second in 3:27.53.
"My team got us into the lead," Doherty said. "All I did was maintain the lead and made sure no one would pass me."
In the field, Nicholas Lourenco cleared 15 feet to win the pole vault and culimnate a fantastic indoor season. The junior cleared 15-7 and set the Long Island and St. Anthony’s indoor record last weekend, Dearie said. He cleared 15-4 on February 10.
"I was really nervous until we started jumping and I cleared the first bar," Lourenco said. "Once I cleared the first bar, I just got really into it and just did the thing I usually do best."