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Commack's Alissa Braxton sets Stanner Games meet record in triple jump

Entering Saturday’s Molloy Stanner Games, Commack triple-jumper Alissa Braxton set a specific goal for herself.

And while she may not have reached it, she nonetheless found herself setting a meet record.

“It’s really nice that I could set a meet record today,” Braxton said, after a dazzling performance of 39 feet, 3 1/2 inches at the Armory in Manhattan, breaking the previous record of 39-1. “Coming into today I was trying to get a 40-foot jump in. But it’s OK that it didn’t happen. It’s still amazing to me that I could still get a meet record.”

Finishing second was Rocky Point’s Alexandra Kelly (38-6.75).

For Braxton, the key to ultimately setting a new record turned out to be rather simple.

“Just staying warm and being relaxed,” Braxton said.

Also winning in the field was Ward Melville’s Megan Wood in the girls shot put invitational (38 feet, 1.5 inches). Coming in at second was Brook Pohl of Rocky Point (37-9.50).

“I think going through everything that my coaches have tried to drill into my head during the season was the difference,” Wood said. “Remembering that and putting that into my throws was huge.”

On the track Mt. Sinai’s Sarah Connelly notched a dominant victory, winning the girls 3000-meter invitational with a time of 10 minutes, 3.4 seconds, finishing 13.47 seconds ahead of second place.

Connelly, who finished 19th at the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 7 in Portland, Oregon, stood close to her competition during the early portion of the race, but broke away with six laps remaining and cruised from that point forward. She didn’t expect to create separation as early as she did, but

“I kind of just stuck in the pack a little bit,” Connelly said. “You don’t want to go out too fast. That wouldn’t have gotten me a good time at all. I stuck with the pack and when I felt good, which I thought I was going to be with four laps left to go, I just went. But it was actually six.”

Ward Melville received another strong performance from Briana Grant, who placed second in the girls invitational mile in 5:16.53, with Arlington’s Jalyssa Smith winning in 5:11.01. Jericho’s Mackenzie Setton finished fourth (time).

Grant credited Smith for her aggressive push forward in the latter stages of the race, allowing her to clinch the victory.

“[Smith] just went for it,” Grant said. “I have a lot of respect for her. We’re all amazing runners out on the track.”

After a long week of racing, including an appearance at the Millrose Trials on Wednesday, Grant said Saturday’s performance provided perspective about her capabilities from both a physical and mental standpoint.

“My legs were hurting and I did push through it as much as I could,” Grant said. “So I know I’m a strong runner in that regard. So I’m proud of myself that I kept going and pushing throughout the race.”

Manhasset’s Angeline Caamano finished second in the girls 1000 (3:02.14) behind FDR’s Sarah Trainor (2:55.46). Olivia Nelson placed first in the girls 55-meter high hurdles for Valley Stream Central in 8:43, while Bayport-Blue Point’s Leeann Redlo placed second in 8:58.

Alexandria Earle of Sacred Heart was victorious in the girls high jump (5 feet, 4 inches), with Half Hollow Hills West’s Dakota Wang finishing second (5-2).

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