Kaitlyn Chandrika will never underestimate the importance of breakfast ever again. The Mount Sinai sophomore had gotten out of the habit of eating in the morning and, she said, her performance suffered.
“My diet and my sleep were not where a high-performing athlete needs to be,” she said. “I really had to think about what I’m eating, get my homework done earlier, and get more sleep.
“I used to skip breakfast sometimes, maybe eat only a granola bar. But, now I eat oatmeal with a banana every morning . . . I feel a lot more solid about this season and that I won’t get burned out easily.”
With a balanced diet and a healthier sleep schedule, Chandrika is back to turning in peak performances. She won the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes, 56.20 seconds at the Suffolk state qualifier at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood Monday night, booking her ticket to the state championships, scheduled for March 2 at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island.
Chandrika held a wire-to-wire lead but needed to hold off Sachem North’s Jordyn McDonnell down the final straightaway. McDonnell was second in 2:56.96.
“They definitely gave me a run for my money,” Chandrika said. “It was a hard race, but I just knew that I really needed to book it.”
She said she hasn’t been able to hit her personal best, 2:53.91, this season and would like to end her campaign by hitting that at the state championships.
“If I do that, I’ll qualify for Nationals [in March],” Chandrika said. “That’s my all-time goal . . . The season got off to a slow start, but I’m finally in a good grove and I think I’ll be able to do it.”
Chandrika’s teammate Sarah Connelly won the 3,000 (10:06.33) and the 1,500 (4:47.16)
In the field, Commack’s Alissa Braxton won the triple jump, flying 40 feet, ½ an inch. She said she intends to rest her right ankle, which she twisted last week at the large school county championships.
“It wasn’t hard, it was just different,” she said of jumping with the twisted ankle. “I had to accommodate for my ankle . . . I just made sure I ran more to the left on the runway, because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on it.”
At the state championships, Braxton will be returning to Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex, the site of her state record 41-9¾ triple jump on Jan. 27.