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Northport's Tyler Cotter wins 3,000-meter steeplechase at North Shore Invitational

He sticks to game plan to run down the early leader, and it pays off.

Tyler Cotter of Northport wins the boys 3,000-meter

Tyler Cotter of Northport wins the boys 3,000-meter steeplechase during the North Shore Invitational at North Shore on Saturday.

Northport’s Tyler Cotter wasn’t straying from his plan. No matter how far ahead Xavier’s Ethan Rice strayed from the pack early in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Cotter figured he’d find his way back. At least, he hoped so.

“Around lap three, I thought ‘wow, this kid’s looking pretty good,’” Cotter said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get him.”

But, as much as temptation might have pushed Cotter off his game, his knowledge about how these kinds of races tend to unfold eventually won out.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t go out too fast in the beginning,” Cotter said. “I didn’t want to waste myself. I knew that it was common for some guys to go fast at the beginning of steeple . . . I was expecting him to go out fast but they can’t keep it the whole time, you know?”

While Cotter may not have known for sure at the time, he eventually found out. Rice inched back towards the pack and Cotter passed him with 3 ½ laps left, en route to a 10 minute, 23.40 second victory at the North Shore Invitational at North Shore High School Saturday. Rice was second in 10:42.68.

“Around lap four, I knew I was probably slowing down a little bit,” Cotter said. “ . . . just knew I had to make the pass. I couldn’t sit behind him for much longer.”

Once Cotter passed Rice, it was all about holding on.

“I figured I could use the water jumps to my advantage,” Cotter said. “I was pretty good at them, only getting one foot into the water and accelerating after. You can’t let yourself slow down after going into the water pit.”

The race was only Cotter’s second time competing in the steeplechase, and first this season. Cotter said he decided to race it Saturday because he needed a seed time for the upcoming Suffolk Division Championships, scheduled for May 21 and 23.

Elsewhere, Longwood’s Jaheim Dotson won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.53 seconds and the 200 in 22.32 seconds.

In the field, Hempstead’s Gabriel Jegede won the long jump, flying 20 feet, 6 ¾ feet, Bay Shore’s Marcrene Jeannot won the triple jump (45-10) and Garden City’s Brian Wood cleared 5-10 to win the high jump.

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