Longwood’s Jaheim Dotson’s usual dominance was on full display during the second and final day of the Suffolk Division Championships Thursday afternoon. To the untrained eye, he looked crisp, quick, and composed as he bounded over the hurdles with an effortless precision that has become his trademark.
Dotson won both his track events by a large margin, taking the Division I 400 meter hurdles in 55.03 seconds and the Division I 110 meter hurdles in 14.55 seconds at Hampton Bays High School. Dotson was second in the long jump, flying 21 feet, five inches.
But, Dotson knows he still has to get better. There’s more work to do if he wants to achieve perfection by the state championships, scheduled for June 8-9 in upstate Cicero.
“It’s all coming down to the beginning of my start,” Dotson said. “As I carry on through the race, after the fourth or fifth hurdle, I just pick it up and go faster.”
So, it’s the start that’s the issue. The solution, Dotson said, is getting less air on his opening jump. He’s costing himself precious time by not hitting the ground fast enough off the first hurdle.
“I have to work on snapping down my lead leg and moving faster,” Dotson said.
Elsewhere, Whitman’s Jack Poplawski showed that he’s geared up for a run at a pentathlon state title with a victory in the Division I version. Poplawski scored 1,337 points, culminating with a 4:36.24 victory in the 1,500.
Poplawski finished second in the 110-hurdles (16.05) and won the high jump (5-10), shot put (40 feet, 8 3/4 inches), and long jump (19-6).
“We were going into the wind, and I couldn’t get to 20 feet,” Poplawski said of his long jump performance. “Hopefully, next time we’ll have more favorable conditions and I won’t be jumping or running into the wind.”
Poplawski finished fourth in the state pentathlon last spring and is the highest returning finisher. As far as being ready for states, he says he’s almost there.
“Just a few minor tweaks and I think I’ll be happy with everything,” he said.
Northport won the Division I Championship with 94 points to complete the triple crown. Northport also won county championships in cross country and indoor track. Smithtown West won Division II with 99 points, its second straight spring title and fifth in the last six seasons, coach Peter Schieck said. Amityville won Division III.
Patchogue-Medford’s Joseef Egbetokum-Collins won the Division I long jump, flying 21 feet, 7 1⁄2 inches. Hauppauge’s Nick Crociata won the Division II 800 in 1:58.44, the 1,600 in 4:24.86, and, along with Josh Segal, Chris Kelly and Justin Rutley, was on the 4X800 relay that won in 8:22.67.