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Northport’s Isaiah Claiborne wins special 800 at St. Anthony’s Invitational

Claiborne’s time is fastest in the state and beats his twin brother Elijah (second), Matthew Payamps (third) and Nick Crociata (fourth).

Northport's Isaiah Claiborne wins 800 meters ahead of

Northport's Isaiah Claiborne wins 800 meters ahead of his twin Elijah in a time of 1:51.62 at 47th St. Anthony's Invitational on Saturday. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

There’s just something special about the 800 meters at the St. Anthony’s Invitational. Year after year, the race brings out the best Long Island has to offer at one of the biggest regular-season meets of the outdoor season. Saturday was no different. Nearly all the best runners on Long Island, on both the boys and girls side, toed the line early in the championship portion of the 47th edition of the spring track staple.

“I knew this race was coming from the beginning of the season,” Northport’s Isaiah Claiborne, who won the boys version in one minute, 51.62 seconds, said. “We had a lot of great guys in it. St. Anthony’s coach [Tim] Dearie got Matthew Payamps in it and Hauppauge put Nick Crociata in it, and then me and [twin brother] Elijah. They just tried to stack it and make it a fast 800.”

They were successful. Claiborne’s time is now the fastest in the state, topping Bronxville’s Matthew Rizzo, who ran 1:55.28 at the New York Relays last month, according to milesplit.com. Claiborne needed to outlast both his twin brother and Payamps on the final lap.

“With 200 [meters] to go, I had a lot left. I felt good to go,” Claiborne said. “I was going to wait for 100 to start moving. I saw Elijah pass me at 150. That kind of got me nervous because I didn’t want to get stuck behind. So, with 100 to go, I went wide and passed Elijah. Once I passed Elijah, I knew I was going to win.”

Elijah placed second in 1:52.24, Payamps was third in 1:52.51, and Crociata finished fourth in 1:55.10.

Shoreham-Wading River’s Katherine Lee used a last-second dive across the finish line to win the girls 800 in 2:12.04. Sacred Heart’s Ellen Byrnes, who did all she could to hold off Lee on the final straightaway, was second in 2:12.09.

“I was more trying to lean, and I leaned a little bit too far and tripped myself up,” Lee said. “That really wasn’t the plan. But I will say that I’m glad that the fall did get the win. That was pretty nice, to not have it be for nothing.”

The fields in the mile races were also impressive. Whitman’s Aiden Smyth won the 1,600 in 4:14.59 and Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis was second in 4:15.42. Manhasset’s Angeline Caamano won the 1,500 in 4:41.50. Oceanside’s Andria Scaglione was second in 4:43.53.

Mount Sinai’s Sarah Connelly, who opened up 2017-2018 with an outstanding cross country campaign, won the 3,000 in 9:55.00, a personal best. Sacred Heart distance standout Maggie Maier was second in 10:00.54.

“I tried to just stick with [Maier] until the last 200 meters,” Connelly said. “Then I just went for it and I got her.”

Knowing that she needed to save enough energy for the final lap, Connelly was careful to conserve as much as she could as she navigated the first part of the long-distance race.

“I just made sure that I breathed, kept my hips under me, and kept a good distance so I could beat [Maier] toward the end,” Connelly said.

Elsewhere on the girls side, Sachem East’s Margaret Atwood won the 1,500 walk in 6:53.04. Valley Stream South’s Chibugo Obichere won the 100 hurdles in 14.50 seconds and Elmont’s Imani Gray won the 100 in 12.05.

In the field, Massapequa’s Kevin Cetin won the discus with a 169 foot toss, the top throw in the state. Cetin entered the meet with the state’s best mark, a 165-6 toss at the Valley Stream Challenge last month, according to milesplit.com.

Cetin also won the shot put with a 50-2 toss.

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