Nathaniel Miller’s level of exhaustion was evident as he labored toward the finish line. But despite his fatigue, he knew exactly what was on the line and wouldn’t let it slip away.
Expending every last ounce of energy in the final stretch, Miller powered through and successfully completed the last leg of the 1,000-meter Swedish relay to clinch Uniondale both a victory and national-qualifying time of 1 minute, 57.90 seconds at the Knight Time Invitational at Uniondale on Saturday afternoon.
“My legs were feeling dead, and I was like ‘Just gotta keep pushing it and hit the time,’ ” said Miller, who later placed first in the boys 400 (49.80) as well. “I was going for the time so I just had to keep going. And my body just felt like it kept going.”
Miller’s teammate, Giordano Williams, led off the Swedish relay with a blazing start for the Knights. Huntington finished second (1:59.68) and also qualified for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals.
Williams also came up victorious in the 200 (21.54) by edging South Shore’s Brandon Smith (21.84).
“I was just focused on getting out of the box fast and finishing,” Williams said. “The key was to finish the last 50 meters strong.”
Freeport put together a strong showing as well, and began the day as one of four teams that came up with a national-qualifying time in the 800 sprint medley relay (1:34.31). Other qualifiers were Brentwood (1:34.71), Rye Country Day (1:35.37) and Uniondale (1:35.77).
“That’s something that’s expected around here,” said Freeport’s Justin Lescouflair, who played a key role in the victory. “We have high expectations for all of our runners.”
Closing the sprint medley relay for Freeport was Kevon O’Brien-Smith. He also proceeded to win the 800 (2:00.21) in front of Baldwin’s Patrick Mulvey (2:01.58). Mulvey closed a dominant 4 x 800 relay win for the Bruins (8:25.01).
“It was a tough race,” O’Brien-Smith said. “I had to fight through it. Everything was mental and I had to focus on winning.”
Freeport also received a winning effort from Alexandria Yarbrough in the girls 400 (55.30). She placed second in the 200 as well (25.50), with Brentwood’s Brianna Davis (25.30) taking first.
“My strategy was to catch up to lane six,” Davis said. “So I know where I am placement-wise. And the last 50 meters just let everything out and go for it.”
Brentwood also placed first in the girls 4 x 400 relay (4:08.56).
Other solid displays on the girls side came from Valley Stream South, which produced winners in defending two-time 100 hurdles state champion Chibugo Obichere (14.50) and DeAnna Martin in the 800 (2:12.98).
Martin said she’s reached a new level of confidence at this point in the season.
“I think I’m more confident now than I was last season at this time,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to doing some big things moving forward.”
Zaria Fuller earned a high jump victory for Uniondale (5 feet, 2 inches). Efe Omokeni took the long jump for Freeport (17-5.5 inches).