Fall, winter, or spring, it’s always winning season for Sarah Connelly. The Mount Sinai junior once again proved that she is the top distance runner in Suffolk with a three-victory performance at the Suffolk Small School track and field championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday afternoon.
Connelly won the 1,500 meters in 4 minutes, 48.12 seconds, the 3,000 in 10:19.15 and, together with Isabella DiPalermo, Kaitlyn Chandrika and Kayleigh Robinson, won the 4 x 800 relay in 9:54.11.
“Three races isn’t really a surprise to me,” Connelly said. “Usually, I do three races, so I knew what I was getting into. I knew that I had to pace myself in the 3,000, so I could do better in the 1,500 and the 4 x 8. I knew what was going on and how to work it.”
Connelly’s success comes a little less than two months after she wrapped up a cross country season that took her all the way to Nike Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
“I knew I was going to have to take it easy on some [early] races, because you don’t want to burn out toward the end of the season,” she said. “I know that this is going to be a long season because we made the [distance medley relay] time and I made the two-mile for nationals. It’s all a process. Coach [Bill Dwyer] has it under control. I trust what he’s doing, and we’ll see what happens.”
Mount Sinai won the team competition with 79 points. West Babylon was second with 76 points. Connelly wasn’t alone in her winning ways. Chandrika won the 1,000 in 3:00.94 and Dominique Reynolds won the long jump, flying 18 feet, 1/4 inch.
Elsewhere in the field, a pair of freshmen won the other jumping titles. Rocky Point’s Alexandra Kelly won the triple jump at 36-11 and Bayport-Blue Point’s Leeann Redlo cleared a personal-best 5-1 to take the high jump.
Redlo said she concentrated on waiting until she’s in midair to turn her body, something she had been doing a little prematurely in the last few weeks.
“I focused in putting all my energy into going up, instead of out,” Redlo said. “Usually, I make the mistake of going out instead of up, so today I tried to fix that.”
Although Redlo was on the track team as an eighth-grader, she did not compete at the county championships. So to win one on her first try was extra special.
“It’s really changed my perspective on [high jump],” Redlo said. “At first, it was just something I did because we didn’t have anyone in the high jump, but now it’s something that I’m more dedicated to … I want to make it to states for it in spring, and maybe even this season. I think the rest of the year I want to focus on this.”
Redlo also placed second to Eastport-South Manor’s Allison Turbush in the 55-meter hurdles. A late lean led Turbush to an 8.65-second victory. Redlo was second in 8.75 seconds. The two raced next to each other in the preliminary round, giving Turbush a chance to size up Redlo’s racing style.
“I was slow out of the blocks in the finals, but I made up all the ground I needed to,” Turbush said.