ENDICOTT — It was a personal best time, her highest finish at an indoor or outdoor championship, and a sterling final lap that almost resulted in a state championship. But still, Shoreham-Wading River’s Katherine Lee wasn’t completely happy.
Lee, one of the best long distance runners in the country, placed second in the 3,000 meters in 9 minutes, 26.78 seconds on the first day of the state track and field championships at Union-Endicott High School Friday afternoon. Corning’s Jessica Lawson won in 9:25.68.
After Saratoga Springs’ Kelsey Chmiel dropped back to third on the final lap, Lee and Lawson battled it out for state supremacy.
“That last lap, I was really in my own head,” Lee said. “I know that [Lawson] has an amazing kick and I think I kind of worried about that too much. She had an amazing race, but I feel like I could have given it a little bit more. I’m still really satisfied with the result. It was still a PR [personal record] and I’ve been really hoping for a PR.”
Moments before Lee and her long-distance brethren took to the track, West Babylon continued it’s recent legacy-building trend, winning the Division I 4 x 400 relay. The team, composed of Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins, Paige Keefer, and Brittany Korsah won in 3:44.50.
Korsah, who had won the Division I 400 title earlier in the day, ran anchor in the team’s new running order. Ashley led off with Beggins and Keefer running the middle legs.
“I run a faster time when I have competition,” Ashley said. “Brittany used to give me a huge gap before I ran, so my time is coming down because I’m running with people, instead of running with a huge gap in [back of me].”
The squad will run in the Federation race Saturday afternoon in hopes of three consecutive state championships. West Babylon won outdoors last spring and indoors in March. Despite the need for fresh legs on the second day of the championships, there was no holding back during the Division I race.
“We all went out there and ran our hardest,” Ashley said. “It worked, and we’re going to come back [Saturday] and get first again, for a three-peat . . . We saw our competition [Friday] and how everyone else runs. So, we know our competition.”
In the field, Connetquot’s Brittany Curtin won the Division I discus with a 143 foot, 7-inch toss and North Babylon’s Sade Meeks won the Division I shot put with a 45-3 1⁄4-inch throw. Westhampton’s Sarena Choi won the Division I triple jump, flying 39-5 1⁄2 .