CICERO, N.Y. — Halle Hazzard crossed the finish line, didn’t see anybody around her and realized it had finally happened.
After three years of almosts and close calls, the St. Anthony’s junior secured her first state title in the 100-meter dash in 11.76 seconds at the outdoor state championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School Saturday. She followed it up with second in the 200 in 23.92.
“It was amazing because I worked very hard, practiced every day trying to perfect my form and I think it paid off,” Hazzard said.
Hazzard calmly stretched by herself before the race. But once the starting gun went off, she powered down the straightaway and emerged from the group to take a decisive victory over Rush-Henrietta’s Lanae-Tava Thomas, who placed second in 11.84.
“As I got further into the race, I made sure to get a good kick, do my turnover and just get away from everyone,” Hazzard said.
The victory helped overcome years of frustration, most notably from this winter’s 55 dash. Hazzard lost that to Thomas, who topped her in Saturday’s 200 by .19. The pair have built a rivalry over the years as the top two sprinters in the state and Hazzard said it’s helped her go beyond her limits.
“I just got back on the track and started working again,” Hazzard said. “She always pushes me to do my best.”
North Babylon’s Tara Hernandez grabbed a state title by putting herself in position to take advantage of a miscue from the lead runner. When Paul Robeson’s Alyssa Sandy stumbled over the last hurdle in the 400 race, Hernandez surged and took first in 1:00.91.
“I just knew I had to sprint, finish it off and I knew I was going to win the title if I kept going,” Hernandez said.
West Babylon’s top-seeded 4 x 400 team of Brittany Korsah, Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins and Paige Keefer won the championship in 3:50.06. Hempstead took second in 3:51.22.
“It was a little nerve-racking having all these other teams kind of gunning for us,” Ashley said.
Westbury’s Denisha West followed up Friday’s winning 40-foot triple jump in the Division I final with a 39-foot, 3 1⁄4-inch leap for the state title. Sachem North’s Leah Blackall came in second at 38-91⁄2.
Bayport-Blue Point’s Kathleen Cibuls won the Division II 100 hurdles in 15.02.
Uniondale’s Zaria Fuller placed second in the pentathlon — a two-day competition that includes the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800. Fuller had 3,328 points behind Sweet Home’s Tiana Luton with 3,541.
“If you’re not good in one thing you’ve got to be better at something else,” Fuller said. “I know the 800 is not my best, so I always try to do better at the hurdles or high jump.”
The freshman jumped 5-5 1⁄4 inches in the high jump, which helped carry her to a rewarding position weeks after coming back from an ankle injury before the Nassau championships.
“It really does show how much effort I put in,” Fuller said.
Manhasset’s Kiyah Owens took second in the 400 in 55.46. Rush-Henrietta’s Sammy Watson won in 54.70.
Half Hollow Hills West’s Leeyan Redwood placed second in shot put with a 46-5 toss.