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Wantagh’s Mountanos wins 600 meters for first county title

Chris Mountanos of Wantagh wins the 600-meter run

Chris Mountanos of Wantagh wins the 600-meter run during the the Nassau Class B track and field championships on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at St Anthony's. Photo Credit: Bob Sorensen

The start of the 600 meters wasn’t exactly what Wantagh’s Chris Mountanos bargained for, but he’ll take the finish any day of the week. Mountanos said that the race went out faster than he expected, but he was able to adjust and take the gold in one minute, 26.07 seconds at the Nassau Class B track championships at St. Anthony’s High School on Wednesday night.

“[Dan Midgette] from Bethpage was really pushing me until the last 50 meters,” Mountanos said.

Midgette was second in 1:26.39.

It was the first county championship for Mountanos, whose time was a personal best, he said.

“It’s really crazy,” he said, a smile splashed across his face. “I wasn’t expecting to do this well. I’m truly ecstatic.”

Oyster Bay’s Alex Tosi won the 3,200 meters in 9:47.13 and the 1,600 meters in 4:48.20.

On the girls side, North Shore’s Diana Vizza, who is no stranger to success this year at both the state and national level, won three events. She took the 3,000 meters in 10:36.06, the 1,000 meters in 3:01.18, and the 1,500 meters in 4:52.67.

Vizza, who won the state Class B cross country championship this fall, owns the top 3,000 meter time on Long Island, running a 9:50.43 at January’s Yale Track Classic. She will compete in the high school mile at the Millrose Games on Feb. 20.

Although distance is the senior’s specialty, the occasional venture into the somewhat speedy waters of the 1,000 meters is a welcome diversion for Vizza, one that helps her in her training for the mile.

“My legs were still pretty heavy from the 3,000,” Vizza said. “But, it’s good to run an 800 and a 1,000 sprinkled in every once in a while. It really helps you focus on speed that you need for the mile. I was going all out for that because [Wantagh’s] Megan Gordon wasn’t too far behind me.”

Gordon finished second in 3:07.94.

Valley Stream North’s Angeli Andre was also a triple winner. Andre took the 300 meters in 41.54 seconds, the long jump (16 feet, seven inches), and the high jump, clearing five feet, two inches.

Hewlett’s Natalie Cohen won the 1,500 meter race walk in 7:19.54, her best time this season. She walked a 7:18 last season, she said. Cohen won last night’s race by a large margin. The second place finisher, Valley Stream North’s Tara Canny, finished in 7:37.86.

Although athletes normally despise such a large lead, Cohen found a way to use it to her advantage.

“I used the girls that I was lapping to push me, using them as competition,” Cohen said. “I saw a girl and would try to speed up to her.”

Cohen said she’s struggled with tightness in her legs this season, but none of that befell her as she walked toward her second straight county championship.

“I warmed up very well,” Cohen said. “I got in there and just focused on the race.”

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