By Christopher Hunt
all pics by wingedfootfotos.com and Tim Fulton/ArmoryTrack.com
When Sheepshead Bay’s Naquan Alexander zipped by the Westlake (Md.) anchor leg – on the inside of all places – by most accounts the race should have been over. But while Alexander was trying to hold on to the lead, there was Newburgh’s Randy Patterson tacked on to their heels looking for an opportunity.
They never gave Patterson an opening. So he took it. Patterson swung wide on the last curve and ate up the home stretch with a long, powerful stride to lead Newburgh’s Robert Robinson, Robert Graham and Fred Locklary to a win the 4x200 final at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic in 1:29.79, the fastest time in the country this season.
“It was a good race,” Patterson said. “I just knew I had enough left in me to make a move at the end.”
They certainly had motivation. Newburgh qualified for the final of the 4x200 at the Bishop Loughlin Games last weekend but coach Malcolm Burks pulled the squad. He said they weren’t ready. They weren’t aggressive enough. But Saturday they proved they were ready to compete and run fast.
“I couldn’t ask for any more of them,” Burks said. “They didn’t only run a fast race but they ran a smart tactical race.”
They team was limited to only one track workout this week because of the weather but was willing to come out for a training session on Christmas Eve. Graham, Akino Morgan, Locklary and Patterson returned to win the 4x400 in 3:21.33, also the fastest time in the nation this season.
“They really came together as a team,” Burks said.
There was never any doubt with Great Neck South senior Terrance Livingston in the 800 meters. Livingston controlled the race from the gun and barreled home in 1:53.36.
“My goal was to hit the same time I hit last spring,” Livingston said.
Livingston was referring to his third-place finish at the Nike Outdoor Nationals last June in 1:50.80. Now although that may have been a lofty goal for his first 800 of the indoor season in December, his performance Saturday showed that he can show that same type of speed later this season. He had a torrid pace going until he started to fatigue the last 150.
“Whatever the Armory record is, I want to break that,” Livingston said. “It feels like I can run a heck of a lot faster if I have somebody to with me at the end.” (The Armory record in 1:50.62 set by Andrew Heaney of Welland, Ontario at NSIC in 2007.)
Warwick Valley repeated as champions in the boys invitational distance medley relay. Tim Luthin (3:17.4), Dan Ramirez (52.4), Pierre Armand (1:57.7) and Dave DeWan (4:24.8) won in 10:32.15. Farrell had opened a 40-meter lead when DeWan took the baton sitting in fifth in the back of a chase pack. The group moved up together with DeWan latched on the end.
But with two laps to go, the pack had closed in and a mad dash ensued. DeWan popped out on the back straightaway and inched his way to the front by the final curve for the win. Farrell finished second in 10:32.44.
“On the second to last lap I thought I was out,” DeWan said. “But my coaches always tell me that when you think you’re tired, run 50 more steps. Then catch the kid in front of you and then you can stop. So that’s what I tried to do. I caught the kid in front of me and then I could stop.”
New Rochelle also turned in a come-from-behind victory. Ruben Barajas, Jarrett Reid, Chris Rones and Aki Bajulaiye won the sprint medley in 3:38.57. Bajulaiye also found himself in fourth when he took the baton. But when two laps left in made a surge and close the lead then took over with 250 to go.
Both Bajulaiye and Barajas had just come off personal bests earlier in the day in the 800 meters. Bajulaiye finished second in the invitational 800 in 1:54.96. Barajas was fifth in 1:59.44.
“I was still really tired from the open 800,” Bajulaiye said. “We both were. I just wanted to stay in contact and when I got a chance to go for it. … We didn’t realize we could run 3:38 and still win.”
Actually they were 12 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
Pine Bush showed similar resolve in the 4x800. Aaron Ghobrial, Ben Sweet, Robert Briwa and Zavior Brown won in 8:05.19. Brown gobbled up the lead that Farrell built and pulled away over the last 100.
“I’ve never seen anyone outkick Zavior,” Ghobrial said.
Sweet added: If we get within 10-15 seconds that’s all we have to do. We have total confidence in him.”
Darwin Gibbons of Caravel also set a Delaware state record by winning the pole vault in 15 feet.
Reach Christopher Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.