Julio Rodriguez had energy to spare.
The Brentwood senior finished first in the Division I 100- and 200-meter dash with times of 11.00 and 22.13 at the Suffolk Division championships Thursday at Mount Sinai. He also ran anchor for the Indians' first-place 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 teams.
Still, Rodriguez said he wasn’t tired. He wanted to challenge himself and the only way he knew how was to keep running.
“I feel great,” he said. “There’s no better competition than yourself. You’ve got to beat you and your shadow, that’s it.”
Rodriguez’s performance helped lead Brentwood to a first-place finish in Division I with 100 points. Smithtown West finished first in Division II with 153 points and Mount. Sinai led Division III with 141.75 points.
“He’s a team player,” Brentwood coach Judy Daniels said of Rodriguez. “Always has been, and he was great today.”
It was a jam-packed day for Rodriguez, but the highlight came in the 4 x 100, when he said he took a “perfect” exchange form David Wood, rallying in the final leg to grab the victory. Brentwood finished in 43.28, steps ahead of Longwood.
“The strategy was to pick it up, get your knees up and push forward,” Rodriguez said. “You’ve got to get your head down and fly through the finish line.”
Longwood’s Jaheim Dotson also had a busy schedule, competing in four events with wins in the Division I 110 and 400-meter hurdles. He finished nearly a second ahead of his closest competitor in the 110 hurdles, posting a 14.18, and followed up with a 53.46 in the 400.
“Time-wise it was pretty beautiful,” Dotson said. “I wanted to get my feet down, hit the ground as fast as I could, and pick up speed.”
Mount Sinai’s Kenneth Wei added his own personal best in the Division III 110-meter hurdles, running in 13.89, a time he said he couldn’t believe at first.
“I tried to get faster and faster and, even at the end, I hadn’t used all my energy,” said Wei, who added wins in the 400-meter hurdles and long jump. “I ran through and I immediately wanted to see what the time was. It felt like a phenomenal race.”
It was a long day, but Rodriguez still managed a victory lap with his teammates before getting on the bus, and now he’s hoping this latest round of success will help spark a run toward a state title.
“I take a lot of pride, a lot of confidence going forward,” Rodriguez said. “Most of all, it’s working out and getting prepared for the moment.”