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Uniondale's Zaria Fuller, Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere win elusive titles in final state meet

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the 100-meter hurdles at the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championships at Middletown High School on Saturday. Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth/Heather Ainsworth

MIDDLETOWN, NY – With one final state championship weekend left in their respective high school tenures, Uniondale’s Zaria Fuller and Valley Stream South’s Chibugo Obichere both cleared the only hurdles left in their brilliant four years as staples of Long Island track and field.

For Fuller, it was the elusive pentathlon championship. The senior, who placed second last year and as a freshman, won with 3,544 points – with the final two events coming Saturday at Middletown High School.

“Having the experience, the drive, and all that bottled up frustration from the years prior really pushed me today,” Fuller said.

Fuller won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.72 seconds, the high jump (5-5 ¾), and the long jump (17-5 ½). She placed fourth in the shot put (34-7), and ran seventh in the 800  (2:34.82). Fuller, whose strength lies in sprinting and jumping, said she was most surprised with her shot put performance.      

“I’m not a thrower,” Fuller said. “Compared to where I was last year to what I am now, it was a big improvement … I have better technique.”

Obichere earned a Federation victory for the first time in her high school career, winning the 100 hurdles in 14.13 seconds. The senior is no stranger to the top of the podium, winning multiple Division I state championships in both indoor and outdoor track, but the Federation – which pits all athletes, regardless of school size, against each other is the epitome of state supremacy.

Obichere’s victory was seemingly effortless and dominant. Ama Boham of Valatie Ichabod Crane was second in 14.60.

“I just tried to come out of the blocks really well,” Obichere said. “I pushed off of my back foot and continued to push through the race, accelerated at the end and finished strong.”

Elsewhere, Mount Sinai’s Sarah Connelly won the 1,500 in 4:31.11, edging Valley Stream South’s DeAnna Martin – who was second in 4:31.90. Martin, who earned the Division I 1,500 title, took the race out hard and made Connelly chase her down late in the race.

“With 300 meters left, I started picking it up,” Connelly said. “The last 200, that’s when my kick goes. I knew at 300 that I had a chance to catch her.”

It’s Connelly’s second state championship of the weekend and third of the school year. She won the Class B public school cross country championship last November and the Division II outdoor 3,000 meter championship Friday afternoon.

Whitman’s Gianna Paul won the 400 in 54.85 seconds.

In the field, Commack’s Alissa Braxton won her second state triple jump championship of the school year, going 40-2½ inches, and Half Hollow Hills East’s Soledad Jean won her second high jump championship of the school year, clearing 5-7. Both Braxton and Jean won their respective events indoors.

Roslyn’s Natya Glasco won the shot put, throwing 43-5, and Valley Stream North’s Juel Charles won the discus with a throw of 133 feet.

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