Their reactions said it all.
As Syosset’s Peter Zimbalist triumphantly crossed the finish line, his supporters let out a collective roar. Jubilation then radiated from Zimbalist’s grin.
“That was just unbelievable,” Zimbalist said. “Something like that just really made my day.”
Zimbalist had just completed a stunning comeback to win the boys Division 1 1,600-meter run in 4:18.08 at the Nassau track and field state qualifier at North Shore High School on Friday.
Despite trailing throughout the majority of the race toward the back of the pack, Zimbalist suddenly turned it on entering the final stretch, overtaking his opponents and ultimately pulling off a stunning comeback.
The victory earned Zimbalist a trip to the New York State championships, which will take place June 9-10 at Union-Endicott near Binghamton.
“I was kind of skeptical if I would have the fresh legs for this race,” Zimbalist said. “My coach told me to just play center field the whole race and see what everyone does — not make any spontaneous moves.”
Entering the stretch, Zimbalist realized that his window for a late effort had finally opened.
“I was really pushing but the gap was staying the same,” Zimbalist said. “With 100 meters to go it started narrowing down, and I said ‘I’m getting momentum, I’m going to get it.’ The rest was history.”
Zimbalist said he tried to remain constant throughout the race until the final 200 meters.
The moment was a long time coming, as it will mark the senior’s first trip to the state championships.
“This was awesome,” Zimbalist said. “Hopefully I can end my final race on a happy note.”
Christopher Borzor had himself quite a day as well. The Uniondale runner was a double-winner, placing first in both the 100 (10.82 seconds) and 200 (21.98)
“My mindset was just to win,” Borzor said.
Jason Linzer, a Seaford freshman, qualified in Division 2 with a victory in the 1,600 (4:35.58) after winning the 3,200 (10:02.23) on Wednesday.
“This feels insane,” Linzer said. “I never expected this. I honestly didn’t expect to do this well.”
Mepham’s James Moehringer (4:18.66) and Baldwin’s Will Salmon (4:19.76) placed second and third behind Zimbalist to also punch their tickets upstate.
Other qualifiers included Division 1 winners Ryan Cummings of Bellmore JFK in the 110 hurdles (15.12), Uniondale’s Ronel Jean in the high jump (1.82 meters), and Carle Place’s Cesar Villegas in the Division 2 200.