By Christopher Hunt
Christopher Columbus junior Strymar Livingston makes no secret about it. The 800 meters is his favorite race. Any threat against that is like an invasion of territory.
Or at least it seemed like that in the invitational 800 at the Marine Corps Classic Saturday. Livingston sat behind Westbury’s Owen Skeete for two laps, clipping at his heels before Livingston bolted with two laps to go.
Monroe-Woodbury’s Ryan Brennan tried to cover the move but Livingston held him off in the stretch to win in 1:54.59. Brennan followed in second in 1:54.80.
“I love the 800,” Livingston said. “That’s my specialty. I think it’s really going to help me in the 1,000.”
Livingston posted a couple of 2:34 performances in the 1,000, which wouldn’t indicate the type of effort he posted Saturday. But he blamed that on his own lack of aggression, something that looked like would happen again at the start of the race.
“I was making my moves too late,” Livingston said. “I hit the back of his foot so after that I knew that I had to go.”
Livingston also anchored Columbus’s sprint medley relay that won in 3:35.56. The relay of the day though turned out to be the boys 4x200. Andre Jordan, Brent Jules, Michael Betton and Adrian Lewis held off a charging Newburgh team to win in 1:30.20. Lewis came down the backstretch, holding off Newburgh, which finished in 1:30.29.
A time that fast in December is a feat in itself. But the relay has been hit with minor injuries and a blizzard that has kept the squad from training for more than a week.
“I really didn’t think we’d be able to run that fast,” Lewis said. “I’m a little surprised but not really.”
Medgar Evers took over when Jules slipped by Newburgh’s second leg on the inside. The relay agreed that none of them felt quite sharp but the intensity of racing was enough to get them going.
“It’s the competition,” Jordan said. “When you have a Cougar on your chest you gotta run.”
Warwick Valley won the invitational distance medley relay in 10:26.90 with Dan Paez,, Ray Farinella, Kevin Grosso and Tim Luthin. Paez put the team in front early and Farinella held the front. Grosso was engulfed by the pack by the third lap of his 800 leg and look like he was gassed but rebounded on his last lap to put Luthin in position to strike.
“I knew they were coming,” Grosso said. “I knew I had to make it back for Tim. I thought I was done. I just wanted to keep it close.”
Luthin patiently clung to Chaminade and Shaker’s anchors for the first half of his mile leg before dropping the hammer with a quarter-mile left.
“We knew no one could run with Paez up front,” Luthin said. “We knew we would fall back a bit in between. I just wanted to be in position.
“After only running good the first race of the cross country season, it was nice to have a solid race here. I didn’t really think it felt like 4:15.”
Abington (Pa.) won the 4x400 in 3:23.05 and also set a meet record in the 4x800, finishing 8:00.36. Macey Watson, Josh Swift, Tevin Smith and Kyle Moran downed a mark of 8:02.02 set by Bishop Loughlin in 2000.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.