Long Island Runners Are Millrose Bound!
Emily Lipari (Roslyn - 4:56.71) and Kyle Merber (Half Hallow Hills - 4:15.13) win miles, Qualify for Millrose.
By Christopher Hunt
She got swallowed by the crowd, disappeared in sea of legs and elbows. But then the leaders started to fall apart and drop back. That’s when Roslyn’s Emily Lipari emerged, suddenly in a battle with Lillian Greibesland of Warwick Valley.
Lipari zipped ahead with a lap remaining. Then Greibesland pulled even on the backstretch while Lipari squeezed every inch out of the stride on her 5-foot frame.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh great. I just lost and embarrassed myself,’” Lipari said. “Then I saw her heading going back and forth.”
She pounced like an animal smelling blood. Lipari pulled away to win the invitational mile at the Hispanic Games in 4 minutes, 56.71 seconds, the fastest time in the United States so far this season. With the win, Lipari earned an automatic berth into the high school mile at the Millrose Games Feb. 1 at Madison Square Garden. “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think I was going to make Millrose. I’m just excited to come this far.”
Lipari had never run faster than five minutes before and hadn’t even planned on racing in the individual mile. She only entered Thursday. “I was kind of thrown into it,” she said. But latched on to Suejin Ahn of Ward Melville and Carmel’s Kristin Reese, who took the pace early. Then she respond when Mary Kate Champagne of Seton Catholic (N.J) and Greibesland switched gears and simply outlasted the field when everyone else had run out of moves.
“I think it works better for me,” she said of being dragged along in the pack and added that she looks for signs in the leaders’ body language to tell her when to push ahead. “Once I see them struggling I know it’s time to go.”
Bay Shore’s Sarah McCurdy didn’t wait for anyone. Century Williams of St. John the Baptist stormed off the starting line but McCurdy took over after the first 300. Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead) was pushed into last place at the start but sprinted onto McCurdy’s shoulder at the 250 mark.
“I didn’t want to go that early,” McCurdy said. “But I felt really good.”
Lipsey, who outkicked Brianna Welch (North Shore) at the Marine Corps Classic Dec. 27, kept trying to close but McCurdy had already decided the race was hers. The Bay Shore senior won in 2:12.40. Lipsey finished second in 2:13.60. McCurdy’s time ties Lipsey mark at Marine Corps, which is a U.S.-leader. McCurdy said she’ll likely run some longer races this season and hopes to qualify for the invitational mile at the Boston Indoor Games, Jan. 26.
“I felt like I made a pretty strong move,” said McCurdy, who was awarded the meet’s outstanding track performer. “I don’t know, if someone came up I was ready to race.”
Suffern junior Jen Clayton was just as ready for a challenge. She won the long jump on her final attempt in 18 feet, 6 inches, the best jump in New York State this season.
“I was really frustrated because I know that if I jumped 18 feet I could win it,” she said. “So I just really tried to reach for the board and keep my feet up.”
Girls 400m - Dalilah Muhammad 55.93
Boys 400m - Dennis Scruggs - 48.56
Boys 4x200m - Winslow TWP, NJ - 1:30.38
Girls 4x200m - Camden, NJ - 1:42.21
Girls 2 Mile - Brian Leung (W. Windsor Plainsboro So., NJ) 9:22.92
Girls 3K - Meghan Lutz (Nazareth) 10:23.06
Girls Mile - Allison Lee (Cardozo) - 5:13
Girls Long jump - Jen Clayton (Suffern) 18-6
Girls Triple jump - Aisha Chisholm (New Rochelle) 36-10
Boys Pole Vault - Brian McGovern (Mount St. Michael) 15-6
Boys 55m - Faquawel Greene (New Bern, NC) 6.47
Boys 55HH - Devon Hill Trenton Central (7.39)
Girls 55m - English Gardner (Eastern Voorhees, NJ) 7.08
Girls 55HH - Samantha Sharper (Woodrow Wilson, NJ) 8.27
Boys Mile - Brendan Connell (Smithtown East) 4:26.12
Girls 800m - Sarah McCurdy (Bayshore, NY) 2:12.40
Boys 800m - Anthony Hendrix (New Bern, NC) 1:56
RACE RECAPS - by Jack Pfeifer
Girls’ mile – Suejin Ahn (Melville, Setauket) and Kristin Reese (Carmel) took the early pace. A trip to the Millrose mile was on the line. Reese had won this race a year ago in 4:55 and seemed the favorite here.
They came through in 76/2:30 but little Emily Lipari (Roslyn) was dangerously tucked in behind them. The little sophomore (5-0, 90 pounds), who had surprised both Ahn and Reese in the Loughlin 2-mile a month earlier with a terrific kick, was a threat if she was close at the end. She was a late starter to the race.
With a quarter to go, everything changed. Reese fell back, and Kate Champagne (Seton, Plattsburg) and Emily Greibesland (Warwick Valley) made big moves toward the front, as Lipari tried to hold her ground. It was five New Yorkers now.
With 300 left it was just Greibesland and Lipari, and Lipari jetted to the front just before the bell. But the bigger Greibesland powered by her on the backstretch. “Oh my God,” Lipari said later, “I can’t go with her.” With 60 meters to go on the straightaway, though, she had one more gear. “I thought, ‘I’ll just give it one more go,’” Lipari said. She won by a couple of feet, 4:56.71-4:57.01.
No one else was close. Champagne closed well and ran 5:01.72, Claire Hardwick (Holy Names) 5:03.67. Ahn ran 5:07.28, Reese struggled home in 5:19.21.
Girls’ 3k – Katie Kellner, teammate of boys’ winner Leung at Plainsboro, took the early lead but soon gave way to little-known Meghan Lutz (Nazareth Acad, Pa), who led through a 5:25 first 1,600. Tori Pennings (Warwick Valley NY) went by and seemed to have the momentum, but Lutz stuck close, found new life and powered back into the lead with 3 to go. Pennings fell apart from there, as Lutz won in 10:23.06 and Kellner came back well for 2nd in 10:31.79.
4x200s – Camden, the fastest of the qualifiers in 1:43, was in an early battle with Boys & Girls and Canarsie when B&G dropped the stick halfway through the 2nd lap. Camden took it from there, running 1:42.21 to Canarsie’s 1:43.79. Winslow Township (NJ) won the boys’ race handily in 1:30.38; Bernard Goodwyn passed up the open 400 to help Glasgow (Del) to 2nd in 1:31.15, running a 21.8 final 200.
Dalilah Muhammad (Cardozo, Queens) won the girls’ race as she pleased in a modest 55.93 over Elizabeth Mott (New Rochelle), 56.48, and Meaghan Gillespie (Boys & Girls), 56.70. Gillespie’s teammate, quartermile rival Nadonnia Rodrigues, wasn’t entered.
800s– Andrew Hendrix (New Bern, NC) was nomatch for this field. He powered through 56.0 400 and 1:26.7 600 to win in1:56.40. Behind him, Matthew Chylak (Holy Ghost) beat Lawrence Campbell(Peekskill) by .02, 1:57.45-1:57.47.
Thegirls’ race was thought to be a possible rematch of the Long Island starsCharlene Lipsey (Hempstead) and Brianna Welch (North Shore), but CenturyWilliams (St. John’s Prep) took off at a torrid pace (31 first 200). Thatdidn’t last, and then on came Stanford-bound Sarah McCurdy (Bay Shore), who ranaway with it, running 2:12.40. She was named outstanding girls’ runner of themeet.
Lipseymanaged 2:13.60, Welch faded to 2:18 and Williams failed to break 2:20.
Inthe girls, Nadonnia Rodrigues (Boys & Girls) had an impressive 24.65 inqualifying, and appeared to be leading off the final turn in the final. Butfrom there Shanae Bailey (Swenson, Pa), outside her in 6, overwhelmed her, runninga stunning 24.44. Rodrigues faded and lost 2nd to Kellie Christian(Catonsville, Md), 24.90-24.91.
TheBoys & Girls girls, running without their ace, Rodrigues, barely held offthe Millville (Pa.) Bolts, 3:58.07-3:58.21. Warwick Valley won the ‘B’ race in4:02.57.
Ina big early-season meeting in the girls’ race, Benjamin Cardozo (Queens)handled Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.), 9:25.07-9:30.80. Cardozo ran2:22.1-2:21.3-2:19.5-2:22.3, with their star Dalilah Muhammad cruising theanchor.