By Christopher Hunt
NEW YORK – Wayne Seaton didn’t celebrate much after his wins in the 110 and 400 hurdles. He didn’t celebrate much after his Fordham Prep team handled the CHSAA for the city championship at Ichan Stadium at Randalls Island.
“It’s a good way to end the season,” Seaton said after winning the 110 hurdles in 14.53 seconds. “It’s nice to win and gain points for the team. But it’s not really what I wanted.”
Seaton wanted to run faster. He won the 400 hurdles in the morning in 54.59. He’s run faster than that too. And it’s not that Seaton had particularly bad races. He just knew that he could be better and for the most part the team title was secured midway through the meet since Monsignor Farrell badly depleted because the school’s graduation ceremony was held the same day. The Rams won the title with 48 points with Holy Trinity second with 32 and Iona Prep with 25.5.
“Overall this season hasn’t been mine,” Seaton said. “I was really on a good roll in the indoor season and I feel like if I could have carried the momentum over I could have run much faster.”
He admitted that not having Farrell, the defending champs, at full strength took away from the intensity of the race for the team title.
“It took away morale mostly,” he said. “We really wanted every team to be at their best. Better competition means better times and good teams push each other to want to do better.”
Fordham did most of its damage in the field led by Andrew Hemmings. He won the triple jump in 46 feet, 1/4 inch and finished third in the long jump in 22-6 1/2. Jourdan White placed third in the high jump (6-2) and John Horvath and Tom Ferguson took third and fourth in the pole vault respectively.
“It was super,” head coach George Febles said of his team’s performance. “We’re very senior heavy. Sometimes you have seniors that kind of don’t want to do anything and then you have others that really want to end the season with something that they can remember for the rest of their lives. That’s what we’ve had.”
Febles said he was in favor of pushing the start time of the meet to allow the Farrell seniors to make it back from graduation. As it was, Farrell had 14 seniors at graduation and the meet started track events at 11 a.m. Farrell’s James Farley never made it to the meet, two javelin throwers rushed to the meet but didn’t make it in time to compete. Mark Bernando, who anchored Farrell’s 4x800 relay, didn’t get to the meet until 4 p.m.
“We didn’t score as many points as we could have,” Bernardo said. “It just hurts because we’re defending champions.”
Febles also said that the win wasn’t as gratifying yet didn’t take anything away from his team’s performance.
“Even if we lost, I’d say that, with the way we performed that we’d be happy,” he said.
Holy Trinity stayed in the meet mostly on the shoulders of senior Charles Gilreath, who had a breakthrough meet in the 400 meters. He won the event in 48.18, the fourth-fastest time in the state this season. He first second a personal-best 48.77 in the trials. Fordham Prep’s Zach Keefer looked like he would take the race when he blasted around the final curve. Gilreath and Nazareth’s Sean Atkinson followed and when Keefer stalled in the stretch, Gilreath took over. Atkinson was second in 48.39 and Keefer third in 48.75.
“I knew that he was the guy to beat,” Gilreath said. “I felt like once I got past him I would pretty much have the race in hand. … I’m just grateful. I never thought I could run this time.”
Now he thinks he can run faster. He showed even more command of his speed when he outkicked Keefer again on the anchor leg to help Holy Trinity win the 4x400 in 3:19.53. St. John the Baptist set a CHSAA record in the 4x100, winning in 42.46 with Jake Rachiele, Michael DuPlessis, Dennis Locher and Joe Seagraves.
“We came in today wanting to break our school record make it to states,” Seagraves said.
The UConn-bound senior took over the role of anchor two weeks ago since Hunter Burrell was injured. Seagraves couldn’t help pumping his fist after the victory.
“It’s the biggest race of my life,” he said. “We’re happy with it. I’m pumped up.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.