To win on one of the indoor season’s brightest stages, Uniondale’s Aniyah McCarthy figured that she’d have to change up her running strategy just a little bit.
“When I run out, I sprint the whole thing, and then I die [out] and everyone passes me,” McCarthy said. “Today, my mentality was to take it out, get the lead if we’re not in it, pace myself, and sprint the last 200 [meters]. That’s what I did and it just felt good.”
So does winning.
McCarthy, along with her teammates Niasha Batson, Nailah Jinks and Zaria Fuller, won the Lorna Austin Long Island girls 4 x 400-meter relay in 3 minutes, 57.90 seconds at the 112th Millrose Games at the Armory in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon. It is the fastest 4 x 400 time on Long Island this season, according to milesplit.com.
McCarthy ran a 1:00.73 third leg, handing off to Fuller, who ran a 57.04-second anchor leg and held off a hard-charging Freeport, which was second in 3:58.26, the second-fastest Long Island time this season.
McCarthy wasn’t the only Uniondale girl who did things a little differently. Jinks, who said she usually leads off, ran the second leg and handed off in 59.78 seconds.
“It’s a little less pressure,” Jinks said of running second. “When you run first leg, you usually have to get to the box first and stay in front, but as second leg, I can just take it out and keep the same pace.”
Uniondale now holds the top Long Island time in two separate relays, according to milesplit.com. They ran 1:43.52 in the 4 x 200 at the Ocean Breeze High School Invitational two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, Huntington continued its outstanding February with a championship in the Long Island boys 4 x 400. The team, composed of CJ Kiviat, Anthony Joseph, Isaiah James and Johnathan Smith, won in 3:20.65, holding off Brentwood, which was second in 3:21.61. Freeport finished third in 3:22.84.
Brentwood took a short lead on the final handoff, but was quickly passed by Smith, who ran a 49.23 anchor leg.
“I wanted to get out hard and try to run the first 200 around 22 or 23 seconds,” Smith said. “I knew that the Freeport anchor [Kevon Smith] was a very strong runner, so I just wanted to get away from him and finish strong.”
Even though it was close, Smith’s teammates had no doubt.
“I knew he was going to hold on, for sure,” said Kiviat, who led off in 50.67 seconds. “I saw him get out hard and I knew he was gong to come in on that last lap as hard as he possibly could. I knew he wanted it when I saw him on that final straightaway.”
Huntington’s time is the fastest on Long Island this season, barely besting the 3:20.89 that they ran at the Ocean Breeze Invitational two weeks ago. The Blue Devils also won their first Large School indoor Suffolk County team title in program history last weekend.
“We come out here to win,” Kiviat said. “That’s all of our mentalities — just to win.”
“All I’m trying to do is get records and come out number one,” Smith said.
In field events, Uniondale’s Jadan Hanson placed second in the boys triple jump, flying 49 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Virginia’s Mason Henry won (49-8 1/2). Hanson’s jump broke the Nassau record of 48-9 1/2 set by Uniondale’s Marvin Forde in 1993, Uniondale coach Dennis Kornfield said.