Lindenhurst’s Trista Seara said she couldn’t picture walking out of the Jim Zeitler Relays at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood on Monday night without a first-place medal around her neck. The senior had been part of three consecutive League II 1,600-meter sprint medley relay victories at the event and needed one more to secure her perfect record.
“It would have broken my heart,” she said of the prospect of going home without a victory.
Both Seara’s heart and streak remained intact. Seara, along with Erika Breitfeller, Julianna Sherlock and Taylor Trovato, won the race in 4 minutes, 23.37 seconds.
Seara received the baton from Trovato in third place and had one thought: “Go for it.’
“I’m going to die at the end of this, so I might as well die in first place,” said Seara, who ran the 800-meter leg. “I haven’t run an 800 since last spring. I’ve been running 1,000 meters and 600 meters. The fact that this was an in-between distance suites me well.”
Lindenhurst’s victory did not come easily after starting in the far outside lane. Breitfeller, the leadoff leg, was charged with the difficult task of cutting into the inside lane to give her teammates an easier trip to the winners’ circle.
“It’s a mind game,” Breitfeller said of the outside start. “You want to be on the inside lanes when you’re running, because the inside lanes have the advantage on the curves. It may look like they’re behind you, but they’ll catch up on the curves.”
“It’s kind of a huge disadvantage,” Trovato added. “You’re kind of running more than everyone else in the closer lanes.”
But, once the cut-in was complete, Lindenhurst was free to do what it’s done so many times before in the midseason meet — win — and it almost did it twice.
Later in the meet, Lindenhurst took second in the 4x200-meter relay in 1:51.71. Half Hollow Hills East’s team of Darleenn Altema-Bouzi, Mary Chimezie, Ariana Malik and Taylor Parkinson won in 1:51.44.
On a night when teamwork took center stage, with no individual running events scheduled, it was fitting that the Lindenhurst foursome had so much success. The group spent the fall on the high school’s soccer team, perfecting the kind of chemistry that is essential in relays.
“It’s a really big bond,” Breitfeller said. “We have really good chemistry. We’re on the same page when we’re running and that definitely helps.”
Sachem East’s 4x800 team — Ciara Murphy, Rachel Ruggiero, Lauren Harris and Shayna Arrigo — won the League I race in 10:06.14. Its 1,600-meter sprint medley team, composed of Kaylie Wessberg, Brooke Papele, Kaitlyn Famiglietti and Alexandra DeCicco, took the League I event in 4:20.53.
Sachem North’s 4x1,600-meter relay team — Krista Goodman, Gabriella Mott, Amanda Carlson and Kaitlyn Licata — took the League I race. The time of 22:24.33 broke the school record of 22:34.40, set in 2011, coach Alex Young said.