By Christopher Hunt
MIDDLETOWN – Ryan Brennan kept looking over his shoulder. It didn’t matter how fast the Monroe-Woodbury junior ran. He knew Newburgh’s Randy Patterson was coming.
“He makes a living out of walking people down,” Brennan said. “I couldn’t believe I hadn't seen him yet.”
That’s because Brennan’s teammates provided enough of a cushion that even Patterson’s anchor, which bordered between ridiculous and outrageous, wasn’t enough to chase down Brennan. It made for the hottest anchor-leg showdown in the state this season but Brennan led Monroe-Woodbury to an upset win over Newburgh in the 4x400 relay Friday at the Section 9 state qualifier.
Monroe-Woodbury won in 3:13.91, US #8 this season. Newburgh finished second in 3:14.29, US #11. (Full relay splits here)
Brennan anchored Monroe-Woodbury in 47.1 while his team led from start to finish. Patterson almost spoiled Monroe-Woodbury’s win with an astounding 46.0 anchor leg split, that ignited and awed the crowd but left Patterson frustrated and dejected.
“We’ve been waiting for that chance all year,” Brennan said. “We haven’t run within five seconds of what we just ran but we knew we could put it together. We’ve been saying this for three weeks that we knew we could run fast. But not 3:13.”
Monroe-Woodbury’s season best before Friday was 3:18.56 two week ago. Newburgh had run 3:16 four times already.
“We went out and all ran beyond out best today,” Brennan said.
Newburgh had been the odds on favorite for a state title at the New York State championships next weekend in Vestal. Now the stage is set for probably the most exciting rematch of the season.
“Yeah we’re angry,” said Newburgh’s Fred Locklary, who gave Patterson a chance with a 47.7 third leg. “It’s OK. We’re not even going to say anything. We’ll see them at states.”
Cornwall’s Aisling Cuffe knows all about rivalries. She will compete in 1,500 and 3,000 against Roslyn’s Emily Lipari. Cuffe won the easily 3,000 Thursday but saw a lot more resistance in the 1,500. Warwick Valley’s Lillian Greibesland shadowed her until the last lap when Greibesland took the front and tried to get away down the backstretch.
Cuffe, knowing she would advance already and that she would try to help her 4x800 qualify for the state meet later in the afternoon, debated whether to respond to Greibesland’s move.
“Then I thought, ‘You know what? I don’t want to lose,’” she said.
Cuffe pulled even with Greibesland around the turn and then turned on the speed in the final straight to win in a state-leading time of 4:30.23. Greibesland finished second in 4:31.39, the state’s second-fastest time.
“I’m just a lot more confident,” Cuffe said. “Before I would get into these races and say, oh there goes Lillian or there goes this other fast girl. Today I felt like this is my section and I want to win. I don’t get into a lot of fast races early in the season so for me, this is really like the season just started.”
Jim Boeding’s finishing kick was even more dramatic. The Webetuck senior was in sixth with 300 meters left in the boys 1,600. Only he knew that he was in perfect position. He won in 4:24.44, squeaking by Minisink Valley’s Jake Albino on the home stretch. Albino was second (first in Division I) in 4:24.87.
“I came through the 400 in around 66-67,” he said. “That was exactly where I wanted to be. I started to make my move at 300.”
He admitted he wasn’t sure if he was in striking distance but he knew he had a chance at nearing the front.
“I don’t even think of me catching them,” he said. “They are coming back to me. Once I got around the 200 I knew I had a chance.”
Most races weren’t as hotly-contested. Instead, in many events, the qualifier resembled the qualifying rounds of a championship meet. Patterson coasted to a win in the 400 in 50.04 followed by Middletown’s Mel Molsey in 50.13. Both have run 47-second races this season. Newburgh’s Dotrine Jacobs won the Division I 100 and 400 hurdles.
Mosley’s twin brother, Manny, also coasted to a win the Division I 400 hurdles in 56.03. Minisink Valley’s Alec Faldemayer won the discus and shot put.
Amber Passalaqua of Pine Bush broke a 22-year old Section 9 record in the pentathlon, scoring 3417 points. She topped Karen Kelly of Wallkill’s record of 3355 set in 1988. Newburgh’s Jennifer Mitchell also had a breakthrough in the triple jump, winning in 40 feet, 1.25 inch.
Justin McCollin was the only of the 4x400 relay members to race earlier in the day. He won the Division I 200 in 21.57. Only Darnell Cummings of Millbrook more thoroughly dominated his race, winning the Division II race in 21.75.
Monroe-Woodbury’s girls 4x800 also earned a spot in the state meet. They didn’t have the qualifying standard before the meet, but Megan Patrignelli (2:20.0), Carly Kiess (2:17.3), Randi Cross (2:21.7) and Christina Zelenoy (2:15.5) won in 9:14.86.
Zelenoy held off a charging Jacqueline Kasal of Warwick Valley, who earlier won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:06.19, in the last 200.
“I saw her orange shoes and I knew I had to go,” said Zelenoy, a freshman who won the Division I 400 in 57.49, a school record.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.