Francis breaks 800 MR
By Christopher Hunt
RANDALLS ISLAND – The stands began to clear and the track emptied while Archbishop Molloy’s team waited around the first curve for the meet to end. All but one event had concluded and Molloy trailed Kellenberg by three points.
Only the javelin remained. And Molloy had four throwers who promptly took the top four places and won its first CHSAA championship since the school began co-ed eight years ago. Molloy scored 59 points. Kellenberg finished second with 47 and St. John the Baptist third with 31. Molloy also won its finish indoor title in the winter.
“They just kept working,” head coach Austin Power said. “They weren’t satisfied. They wanted to come back and win another one.”
The team did most of its damage in the field. They scored 14 points in the javelin, 10 in the pole vault, 7 in the shot put and 3 in the shot put. Jessica Conter, herself, accounted for 10 the points on the track, winning the 200 in 25.92 and placing second in the 400-meter hurdles in 66.71. The senior finished second in the long jump (16-6 1/4)
Brittany Dombrowski led the barrage in the javelin, tossing a meet record 126 feet, 8 inches, one inch shy of six feet farther the meet record she established two years ago. She also finished third in the discus with a mark of 101-1 and earned most valuable performer in the field events for her performance in the javelin.
“It’s exciting,” Dombrowski said about the win. “We take a lot of our better athletes and work with them in the field because we have a lot of good coaches and a lot of the other teams aren’t has developed in the field events. We knew it would be close but we didn’t know it would come down to the jav. Once we saw that we knew we were in pretty good shape.”
The team all wore high white tube socks with “We run with Katy!” sewn on the side with red hearts encasing the word “with.” The socks were in honor of Katy Grogen, a senior team member who died in a car accident in Florida while competing with her club soccer team in February.
“We wanted to do this for her,” Dombrowski said.
Senior Rebecca Power also won the pole vault in 11-0 and the shot put in 37-5. Alex Jean Joseph won the triple jump in 36-8 1/2.
Catherine McAuley sophomore Phyllis Francis earned the most valuable performer on the track after crushing the meet record in the 800 meters, finishing in 2:11.67. She bettered former St. Anthony’s star Karen McAuliffe’s mark of 2:13.8 set in 1989. As usual, Francis commanded the tempo throughout the race and never feared any real dangerous of being overtaken. Malekah Holland of Bishop Ford tracked her close for most of the race and finished second in 2:16.27.
“I was hoping to run like 2:10,” Francis said. “I can’t wait (for the state meet). I think I can do better when I get pushed.”
Holland, in addition to qualifying for the state meet June 13-14 at the University at Buffalo, she won the 400 in 56.78. She squeezed past favorite Sheena Roberts of Bishop Loughlin, who finished second in 57.14.
“At first, I was kind of nervous because Sheena was in my race,” Holland said. “But then I just relaxed.”
Holland and Roberts came off the last curve stride-for-stride but when Roberts began to falter Holland snatched the race.
“When she got to the straightaway I was thinking that I couldn’t give anymore,” Holland said. “But then I thought to myself that I had to. I knew that I had something left in me. I felt good. I know my mother (Carol Howard) is going to be happy. She was fiending for me to break 58.”
Nina Renken of Sacred Heart was given shared the most valuable performer in the field award with Dombroski after she broke the meet record in the discus tossing 126-7. Kellenberg won the 4x800 relay in 9:36.40 then placed second in the 4x400 in 3:59.56.
Reach Christopher Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.