A good steeplechase can be hard to find. Jake Gogarty knows this, but he hasn’t let it keep him down. Despite only running the event twice this spring before the county championships, the Bay Shore junior was still able to flex his muscle and run home with a 10 minute, 0.94 second victory in the 3,000 meter version of the event at the Suffolk Class AA track and field championships Wednesday at Commack High School.
“There’s a lot of practice involved outside the actual race, like hurdle-work, jumping over the barrier at practice, and trying to get your form perfect,” Gogarty said. “That’s really my goal right now — trying to get my form down-pat and perfect.”
So, it’s not really about physically racing. Gogarty feels so confident in his steeplechasing ability that he plans to focus on it at this week’s Suffolk State Qualifier because he believes he has a better shot of placing in the top-6 in that event at the state championships in June. And why not? He’s won all three that he’s run this season.
“It’s really challenging,” he said of the event that mixes distance running with hurdling, plus the dreaded water pit. “I feel like I’m really good and can push through.”
Gogarty also won the 3,200 in 9:33.79 and was on the 4 X 800 relay team that won in 8:28.63.
Commack won the boys team championship with 99 points. Nicholas Vought won the 100 in 11.02 seconds and Seville Louissaint flew 21 feet, 5 ¾ inches to win the long jump.
On the girls side, Sachem East won with 101 points. Alexandria Martoscia won the 200 in 26.67 seconds, Savanna Edwards won the 400 in 58.93, and Abby Callinan won the 1,500 race walk in 7:18.19. Sachem East won the 4 X 400 relay in 4:10.24.
Elsewhere, Floyd’s Aaliyah Jordan won the 400 hurdles in 1:06.71, coming within milliseconds of breaking Kianna Hawkins’ 2018 school record of 1:06.53. The field remained at the consistent pace throughout the race, allowing Jordan time to speed up and shoot past them.
“When I got with [the field], I thought they were going to get right past me, but I didn’t let it happen,” Jordan said. “I just kept going for the last 50 meters.”
Jordan ran 16.64 on her way to a fifth-place finish in the 100 hurdles, breaking Candice Drinkwater’s 2002 school record of 17.38. Commack’s Nicole Bransfield won the 100 hurdles in 16.04.
Jordan, along with Zariel Macchia, Destiny Samuels, and Karen Jackson won the 4 X 800 relay in 9:59.56. She was second in the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:42.10. Ward Melville’s Melina Montgomery won that race in 7:33.09.