McGovern tops meet record
By Christopher Hunt
WHITE PLAINS – Curtis senior Troy Faulkner lay on the ground with his legs propped against the fence just outside the track. He talked about his back hurt, his hamstring felt sore and his ankle pained him. Everything hurt now, the same way it did before the race started.
Maybe the two rounds of the 100 meters he ran Friday coupled with the trials of the 200 Saturday morning started to creep into body and alert that in truth, running fast was a painful undertaking.
“But when the gun went off,” he said, “I felt no pain.”
It didn’t look like anything ailed him either. He floated down the back straightaway and streaked through the last curve before he barreled down the last straight to win the 400 at the Glenn D. Loucks Games at White Plains High School in a personal-best 47.72 seconds, the fastest-time in the state this season.
Faulkner said he didn’t feel ready on the starting line because he body ached. He said tried to conserve for the first 200 even though he seemed to have the lead heading into the curve. When he hit the 300 mark he let it all hang loose.
“I knew once I got to the 300 mark that no one could kick with me,” Faulkner said. “I told myself that I would guarantee no one had the speed I did.”
Even if he didn’t make a public guarantee he still proved his point. Faulkner later won the 200 in 22.23 in a steady headwind. He placed third in the 100 on Friday.
Half Hollow Hills West senior Kyle Merber dominated his race in a similar way while also feeling shaky when he took the track. Merber said he threw up three of four times before the race started. He felt bad enough that Hills West distance coach Tom Finn asked if he was even sure he wanted to race.
Not only did Merber race but he decided the pace and demanded an honest tempo, winning in 4:12.81. Scarsdale’s Julian Sheinbaum challenged in the home stretch to finish second in 4:13.48. Merber said he wanted to have a fast race and hoped to run faster, even if he had to do it by himself.
“I’m sick of having slow races,” Merber said. “It’s like a new thing, everyone likes to sit back and kick. Maybe they’re watching too many college races. I don’t know. That wasn’t my best race. I think I could have definitely gone faster if someone else took the lead.”
In many of Merber’s races, the field has been content to let him decide pace and he normally spends the remainder of the race trying to hold his position and has been successful. He seemed a bit annoyed but only used the opportunity to display his strength after showing his speed by winning the 800 last weekend at the St. Anthony’s Invitational.
“I’m trying to show everyone that I’m not just a distance runner,” he said. “I’m not just someone who runs the mile. I’m not just someone who runs the 800. I’m just someone who runs hard.”
Mount St. Michael’s Brian McGovern endured a different obstacle while winning the pole vault in a meet record 15 feet, 7 inches. There weren’t standards at the meet tall enough for McGovern to attempt 16 feet. First, a mechanical malfunction forced McGovern to wait half an hour before clearing 15-7 on his first attempt. He asked for the bar to be raised to 16 feet but the standards didn’t’ go that high.
After another nearly 30 minutes of waiting, officials propped the standards high with wooden planks and raised the bar to 16-2.
“I really didn’t mind too much,” McGovern said. “I was still in it. (But) It would have been different if I didn’t have to wait. I would have been in the zone. It’s hard to get back after you have to warm up and then you have to wait and then warm up again. I’m surprised (that the proper standards weren’t available), 16 feet it’s even a big height anymore.
Ramapo’s Kevin Malivert, Dozie Ezemma, Ryan Whitley and Chidi Ezemma won the 4x400 relay in 3:20.46, edging Colonie, which finished in 3:20.77. Aaron Konigsberg of Hackley also broke a meet record in the javelin, with a throw of 183-10.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.