Jake Catalano’s stride showed from the start of the 1,600 meters, but it couldn’t hit full form because he was stuck behind two lead runners and time was running out to get in front.
That changed with a little over a lap to go, as the Valley Stream North senior broke out of the box and powered to the finish. He traded spots with Carle Place’s Nate Armstrong and took first in 4:32.18 at the Nassau Class A championships at Cold Spring Harbor on Tuesday.
“I was just trying to stay comfortable,” Catalano said. “I wasn’t sure how fast I was going to go out, but I knew there was a good field so I had to stay with them.”
Armstrong, who took second in 4:34.91, stayed close when Catalano broke through. He used a burst of speed to cut in front before the back straightaway. Then Catalano’s kick came through and he let the announcer fill in the details about his opponents’ positions.
“With 300 meters left and my teammate on my shoulder, I kind of felt like I knew I had it, but I was really, really scared of the guys coming behind me,” Catalano said, referencing Nick Cason, who took third in 4:36.88.
Catalano was second in the 3,000 steeplechase in 10:47.63 behind Oyster Bay’s Alex Tosi (10:22.85) and came back an hour later to put in his winning performance. He finished behind Tosi again in the 3,200 meters.
Valley Stream North’s Emily Martino won the 400 hurdles after a burst of speed at the start that allowed her hold on for a win in 63:94. North Shore’s Caroline Reiner took second in 64:49.
“That’s how I run all my races, honestly,” Martino said. “I just go out fast. I know if I go out fast, all I have to do is hang on at the end.”
Reiner brought a challenge with less than 100 meters to go.
“(The competitors) were tough but I knew I had to win it for my team,” Martino said. “I know every points counts.”
Martino later ran the 800 and took second in 2:16.49 behind North Shore’s Diana Vizza (2:16.49). Vizza also won the 1,500 in 4:31.15 and the 3,000 in 9:49.38.
Catalano and Martino contributed to a double championship for both Spartan teams. The boys had 139 points, followed by Lawrence with 55 and North Shore with 54. The girls won with 150 points. North Shore had 119.