ENDICOTT, N.Y. — The only thing that can stop the West Babylon girls 4 x 400-meter team is graduation.
The Eagles captured their third consecutive state title in the event, winning in 3 minutes, 44.60 seconds at Union-Endicott High School Saturday. It’s the end of an era, with three of the stalwarts moving on.
“It’s a great way to end off, but it’s sad,” said Nadja Ashley, a sophomore. “We’ll miss them, and it’s good to go out on a bang.”
Ashley handed off to Dana Beggins. Then Paige Keefer pulled into first during the third leg before handing to Brittany Korsah, who built the lead further into the finish line.
They bested Newburgh Free Academy, which finished in 3:50.93. When you’ve been together for two years and consistently win, repetition becomes key.
“Paige and I were doubling from the 4 x 800 and that was 20 minutes earlier, but we tried to run the same splits we usually ran,” Beggins said.
The team will be together one more time to compete in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, next weekend, but this was the final time they’d wear their West Babylon uniforms in competition.
“I’m probably going to cry, but it’s all right because we’ve gone through a two-year journey together and it’s been a great two years,” Ashley said. “The progression has been pretty incredible.”
The throwing events belonged to Long Island and came down to one word: redemption.
Connetquot’s Brittany Curtin thought she’d get to make her first states trip last spring, but when she came up short in qualifications, she made herself a promise: 2017 would be different. She’d get to the biggest meet of the year and make it count.
“From that day, I dedicated my life to this,” Curtin said. “I worked all summer, all winter.”
It paid off with a 139-foot, 6-inch throw to win the discus competition.
“I was able to do this,” she said. “I not only made it, but I won and it’s just crazy to set a goal and actually achieve it. It’s surreal.”
In shot put, North Babylon’s Sade Meeks took first with a 44- 11 throw. It was her first spring state championship appearance and followed a second-place finish in the winter. She said she had that moment stolen from her and didn’t want it happening again.
“I wanted to be the girl who took people’s moments, and I ended up getting my moment taken from me in the winter time and that really drove me,” she said.
Valley Stream North’s Juel Charles took second with a 43-6 1⁄4 toss, and Curtin came in fourth with a 42-6 throw. Meeks, Curtin and Bayport-Blue Point’s Ashley Walsh, who came in seventh, posed for a Suffolk photo on the podium after getting their awards.
Westhampton’s Sarena Choi won the triple jump with a 39-73⁄4 distance.
Valley Stream South’s Chibugo Obichere placed second in the 100 hurdles in 14.46. West Babylon’s Brittany Korsah took second in the 400 in 54.40. Kellenberg’s Julia Bryant finished third in the 800 in 2:19.28.