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Uniondale's girls relay team breaks own meet record

Kristina Cherington of Uniondale wins the Long Island

Kristina Cherington of Uniondale wins the Long Island Girls 4x400m Relay with a time of 3:52.54 at the NYRR Millrose Games at the New Balance Track and Field Center on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Credit: Errol Anderson

Uniondale couldn't contain its excitement. The four girls were milling around the halls of the Armory in Manhattan after winning the Long Island 4 x 400-meter relay at Saturday's Millrose Games. Coach Leigh Pollet ran up to them and without saying a word, flashed his stopwatch.

Pandemonium ensued. The team, composed of Crystal Green, Ashley Suffriant, Michala Webster and Kristina Cherrington had finished in 3 minutes, 52.54 seconds, breaking their own meet record of 3:56.04, set at last year's games.

"It was such a rush," Suffriant said. "It's like the world has stopped and it's all about us. It feels so good. We're all very excited and proud of ourselves. We represented our school, our coach, ourselves and our team well."

Suffriant ran the second leg of the relay and was the key to building a large lead that proved to be insurmountable. As the team zoomed around the track, it would have been easy to chalk it up as an early blowout. But the Knights knew better. Standing on the sideline, waiting to run her anchor leg was Garden City's Emma Gallagher, one of the top Long Island runners.

"I saw Crystal coming in," Suffriant said. "I knew I had to run for myself and to help out my teammates, because Emma's coming. I had to race for that. Emma is a fantastic runner, we all know her strengths, and we knew that we had to work together to help Christina [Cherrington] out."

Cherrington ran anchor, charged with holding off Gallagher and the final Garden City rush.

"Gallagher usually comes for me on the second lap," Cherrington said. "I had to push even more, even though I was tired. Once I saw on that back straightaway that she wasn't near me, I was really hyped to run for the banner."

Uniondale wasn't the only L.I. relay team to shine at Millrose. St. Anthony's unit of Katie O'Neill, Melissa June, Jessica Penna and Gianna Mincone won the John P. Prendergast CHSAA sprint medley relay in 4:03.37, the top time in the state, according to milesplit.com.

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