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West Islip’s Klaire Klemens loves running in the rain

Klaire Klemens of West Islip wins the 3,000-meter

Klaire Klemens of West Islip wins the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:38.04 at the North Shore Invitational on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

It was wet, it was cold and Klaire Klemens felt right at home. While spectators and other runners groused about the wet weather and sloppy conditions at Saturday’s North Shore Invitational at North Shore High School, the West Islip junior was in her element, running wild in the elements.

“I enjoy running in the rain,” Klemens said. “This rain was cold and pretty hard, but I didn’t mind it. It’s nice to cool off when running fast. I know [rain] slows a lot of people down, but I don’t do too well in the heat, so it’s better than sun.”

With not much rest in between events, Klemens won both the 2,000-meter steeplechase (in 7 minutes, 23.95 seconds) and the 3,000 meters (10:38.04). Klemens, who ran the steeplechase at New Balance Outdoor Nationals last season, switched up her usual strategy on the way to victory Saturday.

“Usually I take out the steeple pretty fast, but today I tried to go out slower and pick it up toward the end,” Klemens said. “I think I’m going to start using that race tactic a lot more . . . I think I go out fast because I get a little nervous, and I don’t like being on the steeple around too many people. But, today I took it slower and the race went really well.”

Despite being far out in the lead, Klemens sprinted down the final straightaway — not wanting to waste a millisecond.

“My personal best is 7:13,” Klemens said. “I haven’t been able to hit that yet, especially in weather like this. But, it’s always good to try and get closer to your time, so I figured I might as well.”

Time was not on the menu once the skies opened up early Saturday morning. Instead, each race had a very ‘survival of the fittest’ feel to it, who could push through the raw weather enough to cross the line first.

Manhasset’s Ryan Watson, hoping to eventually break 10 minutes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, won in 10:18.99.

“The rain got in my eyes a little bit,” Watson said. “It wasn’t too bad though . . . The barriers were wet and slippery, so you have to make sure not to slip on them. If you step on them, you’ll fall. But, if you hurdle them, you can’t slip on them.”

Watson took the race out by himself, running the large majority of the nearly two-mile event by himself. He beat the field by 26.57 seconds. “I wanted to take control and get in a rhythm,” Watson said. “My coach [Steve Steiner] had told me to get in a rhythm the first couple laps and then, on the last five or six laps, that’s when you want to try and push yourself.”

Kellenberg’s Maureen Lewin won the girls 800 in 2:20.89 and 1,500 in 5:05.93. Her teammate, Camryn Beckford, won the 100 in 12.95 seconds.

“The rain was a big factor,” Beckford said. “All the stretching and warming up definitely came into play . . . My start was very explosive, but there’s always room for improvement.”

In the field, Farmingdale’s Kyle Berotti won both the boys long jump (20 feet, 1 1⁄2 inches) and triple jump (40-6 1⁄4). Baldwin’s Isaiah Borneo won the shot put (44-8 1⁄4).

Sacred Heart’s Ellen Byrnes won both the 200 (26.28 seconds) and the 400 (58.35).

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