Sheepshead takes 4x1 in 41.39
By Christopher Hunt
BUFFALO – Terrance Livingston slowed just as he crossed the finish line without even the slightest hint of fatigue on his face. The Great Neck South junior scanned the crowd and tapped his wrist.
He wanted to draw attention to the time. It was an inside joke between Livingston and his coach Damon Reader.
“It meant, C’mon Coach, that time is wack,” Livingston said.
Livingston won the 800-meter federation final in 1:53.01 at the New York State championships Saturday at the University at Buffalo. He led from the gun. This time he didn’t want to take any chances.
Livingston got bounced to the back in Friday’s Division I final and nearly stole the race but his last-second scurry earned him third.
“I was angry,” he said. “Yesterday made me real angry. I didn’t want that to happen again so I wanted to control the race.”
Livingston remained adamant that he can and will run faster.
“God honest, it didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would feel, “ he said. “I felt like I was chilling.”
The win is Livingston’s first state title, indoors or outdoors. He rattled off a list of excuses for why. But he could only think one thing when he crossed the finish line.
“About time,” he said.
Fairport’s Pat DuPont already earned a state championship Friday night in the 3,200 but he took the same approach as Livingston in the 3,000 steeplechase. He buried the field early and tore through the race in at a torrid clip to win in 9:07.02, the fastest time in the country this season and 10 seconds faster than his best.
“That felt great,” said Dupont, who is headed to Syracuse in the fall. “I haven’t raced in a fast steeple for weeks.”
The race was DuPont’s last in a high school uniform since he won’t compete at the nationals. He couldn’t imagine a better way to end his scholastic career than two state titles and two lifetime bests.
“I’ve always been more of a cross country runner,” he said, “to run like this on the track is great.”
More than anyone, Half Hollow Hills West senior Kyle Merber was expected to play front-runner in the 1,600 championship final. Instead Julian Sheinbaum of Scarsdale carried the burden with Alex Hatz of Fayetteville-Manilus, and even fought for the lead with 100 meters left. But Merber’s kick proved too much. He won in an outdoor best 4:11.67, the fastest time in the state and 15th fastest in the country. Sheinbaum placed second in 4:12.58.
“I did not want to take the pace today,” Merber said. ‘It was a little windy and it’s a lot less pressure on me to let someone else take it.”
Sheinbaum said for weeks that he wanted to met Merber in the 1,600 at the state meet – ever since Merber outkicked Sheinbaum at the Loucks Games in May. Sheinbaum stretched the field and assured an honest pace and most of all, made good on his challenge.
“It’s hard to lead the whole way like that,” the Columbia-bound Merber said. “I knew he was going to be hurting. I’ve been there before.”
Sheepshead Bay’s Darryl Bradshaw, Ayo Ishola, John Thomas and Naquan Alexander set a meet record winning the 4x100 federation championship in 41.39.
“Everything just clicked today,” Bradshaw said. “We wanted to jump and rip our shirts off but we didn’t’ want to get DQ’ed for celebrating.”
Antoine McGill of Clarkstown South won the Division I 110 hurdles in 14.72. But Chris Parker, who finished third in that race, which served as a semifinal, won the federation title in 14.49.
“I knew I was going to do something big today,” Parker said, maybe because he was celebrating his 18th birthday. “I knew I just had to calm down after the semifinals and run hard.”
A strong headwind tilted many sprinters times but after three rounds, Baldwin’s Nick Guscott was the only one to break 11 seconds. He won the federation final in 10.94. He earlier won the Division I title in 11.06. Guscott ran 10.3 at the Bulldog Invitational in May.
“The wind, the trip, tension before the race, it was a lot of things,” Guscott said. “But no one was thinking they wanted to come in here and run 10 flat and break the state record today. Everyone wanted to get on the track and win. To me, this is a validation of everything I’ve done since I started track.”
Midwood’s Keith Nkrumah had a similar feeling in the championship 200. Nkrumah won in 22.06, after just winning the semifinal in 22.00, two-hundredths of a second ahead of Miles Lewis of Middle Country.
“The semi’s was kind of a wake-up call,” said Nkrumah, a senior. “I saw (Lewis) on the outside of me and I had one mission and that mission was to eat him up.”
Troy Faulkner of Curtis gobbled the stagger in the 400 final, winning in 47.79. He said hoped to break 47 seconds but was happy with his first state title.
“It’s a privilege,” the junior said. “I came from indoors trying to gain that top seat. I guess I proved my point. I am the best 400-meter runner in New York State.”
Notes: Will Cole of Hamburg on the federation 400 hurdles in 53.18. … Pine Bush won the 4x800 in 7:48.51 with Ben Sweet, Tom Protopapas, Joe Mansfield and Zavior Brown. … Newburgh won the federation 4x400 in 3:16.97 after running a meet-record 3:15.55 Friday in the Division I final.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.