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VSS’s Chibugo Obichere repeats as state’s best in Division I 100 hurdles

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the

Valley Stream South's Chibugo Obichere competes in the girls Division 1 100 hurdles at the state track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse on Saturday. Credit: Heather Ainsworth

CICERO, N.Y — Once again, Valley Stream South’s Chibugo Obichere asserted herself as one of the best hurdlers in the state this weekend. Junior Obichere defended her Division I 100-meter hurdles title Saturday, clocking 14.37 seconds on the second and final day of the state track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

“There’s been a lot of ups and down this year, just with clipped hurdles and things like that,” Obichere said. “I was just telling myself to push through and get to the end.”

Obichere placed second in the Federation race, with a late clipped hurdle slowing her down to 14.66. Sophia Myers of Queens High School of Teaching won in 13.96 seconds.

“I got out of the blocks pretty well,” Obichere said. “I think I hit hurdle seven or eight and Sophia is a really fast runner. I knew I had to get back in it, but I couldn’t. But it’s OK.”

This has been a different kind of year for Obichere. No longer was she the young sprinter who was just trying to break in. Instead, she was the name other girls had to circle whenever a seed sheet was released.

There is pressure that comes with being a defending champion who simply doesn’t exist when you haven’t won yet. Obichere said she felt pressure to repeat as Division I champion, but was careful not to let that hang over her too much.

“It was definitely a little challenging,” she said. “But it taught me a lesson, especially walking into indoor nationals [in March], that there’re always going to be people coming after you. They’re fast people everywhere. So you just have to run your race.”

The pressure to repeat was lessoned after Obichere spoke to her coach, Nicole Bertrami. Bertrami tried her best to put her runner at ease, and it worked.

“She just told me ‘It’s your race and your time,’ ” Obi chere said. “ ‘Do what you do best.’ ”

Obichere does a lot of things well. She has an athletic stride, a short memory and blazing speed — three things that are essential for the tremendously difficult event.

“Hurdling is definitely one of the hardest races on the track,” Obichere said. “But you just have to have that mentality that no matter what happens in the race, if you hit a hurdle or miss a step, you just have to keep going. You can’t have any doubts or anything like that.”

Elsewhere, Syosset’s Reilly Siebert placed second in the 1,500 in 4:27.69. North Rockland’s Katelyn Tuohy, who is the best distance runner in the country, won in 4:14.45.

“My goal was second,” Siebert said. “I just ignored [Tuohy’s] presence because she’s just so good.”

Siebert sprinted the final 75 meters to clip Ursuline’s Lily Flynn at the line. Flynn was third in 4:27.80.

“I wanted it really badly,” Siebert said. “With 500 to go, I started to separate and just kept my eyes on her and was like ‘go, go, go! Don’t stop until you get her!’ I think that helped. I went straight through the line.”

Siebert jostled for position early in the race, but ultimately settled into a comfortable pace.

“In the beginning of any race, it’s going to be tough to get position,” Siebert said. “I felt really comfortable in the middle few laps, so I was able to have a strong finish.”

Siebert said she plans to compete in the mile next weekend at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Uniondale’s Zaria Fuller finished second in the pentathlon with 3,461 points. Alexandria Payne of Jamesville-Dewitt won with 3,513 points. Fuller finished 10th in the 800 (2:31.47), second in the 100 hurdles (14.80), tied for first in the high jump (5 feet, 5 1⁄4 inches), tied for fourth in the long jump (16-11 1⁄4), and was sixth in the shot put (31-9 1⁄2).

Bay Shore’s Imoniri Aghomon was second in the discus (125-9).

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