It took 18 years for the Suffolk girls track 4 x 400 meter relay record to fall. In the last two weeks, West Babylon has bested it twice. One week after breaking Bay Shore’s long-standing record, set in 1999, West Babylon’s strong relay unit, comprised of Brittany Korsah, Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins and Paige Keefer, won the Long Island 4 x 400 meter relay in 3 minutes, 52.63 seconds at the Millrose Games at The Armory in Manhattan on Saturday.
The group first broke the county record, a 3:55.59 according to suffolkxctf.com, at last weekend’s Armory Invitational when they trotted to a second-place finish in 3:52.66.
With an all-Long Island field, West Babylon knew exactly what it was getting into and couldn’t have been more comfortable with it.
“We walked in knowing we were going to do well,” Ashley said. “Our goal was to win and break our own record.
Korsah started the squad off with a 56.75 opening leg.
“I got a good start,” she said. “I felt like I had more strength towards the second lap.”
Ashley took the handoff from Korsah and ran a 1:00.85 second leg. Beggins received Ashley’s handoff in first place and reeled off a 58.14 third leg.
“When I was running, I was telling myself ‘The field is right behind me, don’t let them catch up’ ” Beggins said.
Keefer took over to run a 56.91 anchor leg, slowly separating herself from the field and erasing any doubt of a West Babylon triumph.
“The first half [of the leg] was good, because [the field] was close to me,” Keefer said. “They’re always good competition. In the second half, I just finished.”
Elmont, comprised of Damayha Coeur, Malik Johnson, Demoni Gilkes, and Lucas Mathieu, won the boys Long Island 4 x 400 meter relay in 3:19.99. They outpaced two-time defending champion Huntington, which ran second in 3:21.7.
Gilkes ran a 49.46 anchor leg, outpacing a hard-charging Kyree Johnson of Huntington, which clocked a 47.72.
“Coming home, I knew I had to move my arms and legs,” Gilkes said. “Once that gave out, I had to run with my heart.”
Gilkes made his final move on the home stretch.
“I knew that if I didn’t go then, I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “Once I made the move, I knew I was in the clear.”