By Christopher Hunt
She laid flat on her stomach searching for air, legs still burning. It’s been awhile since she’s been there.
It’s been nearly two years since Mount Vernon senior Breanda Crump ran a 600-meter race and almost as long since she’s race at the New Balance Track and Field Center. She certainly made up for lost time.
Crump won the 600 meters in 1:34.1 at the Section 1 Kickoff #1, just four-tenths of a second away from the
“I’m so shocked right now,” she said.
Crump’s high school career has been mostly marred with injury after finishing third at the state meet in the 600 as a sophomore in 2007. She missed outdoor season with a stress fracture in the heel of her right foot. Then after competing in cross country as a junior she began experiencing pain again. Her doctor discovered a stress fracture in the heel of her left foot. She finished last year’s winter season and spent most of the spring season trying to regain her old form.
But she unleashed an even better version of herself Saturday with a new personal best and a school record. She looked like she never missed a day.
“When I stepped on the line it just felt natural,” she said.
Her coach Walter Hall seeded her at 1:39, which became Crump’s goal for the race – a goal she doubted she could achieve. She had run mostly around 1:50 in practice for 600 meters. But that’s 600 meters measured in the hallways at school.
“I was thinking if I’m going to run anywhere near that 1:39, I’m going to have to run all out,” she said.
And she did. Then she promised that she’d break the section record this season. The mark is 1:33.7 set by Kim Piard of Albertus Magnus in 2008.
“I hated being injured,” Crump said. “It was frustrating but it gave me more time to focus on my school work. I was just a little depressed watching people get better and breaking records.”
The meet seemed to be built for that type of story. Claudio Delli Carpini also returned to the track after missing most of the winter season and nearly the entire spring outdoor season as well. He suffered a dislocated shoulder during football last fall which required surgery on his right shoulder. Then he tore meniscus. Just to add to any anxiety he may have been feeling before the meet, his team was stuck in traffic and arrived just before his race.
With no time to warmup, Delli Carpini breezed through the trials of the 55-meter hurdles in 7.89 then won in the final in 7.95. He returned later and popped a 22 feet, 4 ½ inch attempt to win the long jump.
“I wasn’t going to run,” he said. “I’m lucky they were nice and let me turn my card in.”
He called the race ugly but was satisfied nonetheless considering it was his season opener. He put more emphasis on the long jump and was candid in talking about what this season means for him. He already admitted that he may be piling pressure on himself as he tries to secure a college scholarship.
“I never had six months to prepare like this,” he said. “I’m setting some lofty goals for myself. I’m approaching this season with such a sense of urgency. This is like my coming out party. I really haven’t been me in 18 months. That’s the way I look at it.”
Sometimes, like in the case of Suffern’s Christy Goldmann, a change of scenery is all it takes to take the pressure off. Goldmann won the girls 1,000 in a personal best 3:00.0. The senior being courted by Penn State and the University of Maryland, even after a rocky cross country season.
“I felt a lot better than cross country,” she said. “My legs didn’t’ feel like they weighed 1,000 pounds. Cross country just wasn’t a good season for me. I didn’t get done what I wanted to get donw. This season I just want to run better. I love cross country to death but when you’re not running well it’s not fun.”
Teammate Jen Clayton won the girls 300 in 40.10. She was so nervous before the race that her coach tried to convince her to find a game on her cell phone just to distract her. But once the race went off, Clayton coasted through the first half and switched gears for the last 150. She admitted having trouble pacing herself because she was assigned lane 6, so she had no one to chase.
“I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” she said. “I’m just not used to it. My form was just really horrible in the end. I’m really excited for the season though. It’s my junior year and I really want this.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.