State Record Snapshot - Northport Claws to 4x800m Title

While there might not be much track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their marks came from, and where are they now. We're releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!

We are now into the abridged version of the Snapshots as we get to more recent records. We look here at a record from back in 2018. Enjoy!

- - -

The Northport Tigers and Elijah Claiborne probably would be happier if we just skipped over what happened at the 2018 States meet in the 4x800m relay. But what happened there is of vital importance for what happened a week later at New Balance Outdoor Nationals. At States with his twin brother Isaiah across the country in Washington finishing 8th in an elite 800m field of the Brooks PR Invite, Elijah scooped up the 800m and 1600m titles and then seemed on his way to anchoring his relay squad to a win. Arms raised to celebrate just before the finish line, Claiborne was stunned to see St. Anthony's Mason Gatewood diving by him on the right to win the race by 0.01 seconds with a 7:45.78 time. These things happen, but sometimes you can reap huge motivational rewards from a tough loss.

At NBON the Tigers had transformed into the Cow Harbor squad and had Isaiah Claiborne back, and they brought with them an impressive moniker: "defending champs" after a 2017  win at 7:37.42. Lead-off leg Thomas Fodor joined Dan O'Connor and the Claibornes on the 2018 version of the team, and they came in seeded 4th at NBON. On the first leg, Green Hope NC (Western Cary) and St. Benedicts Prep NJ ran way out in front, and Fodor handed off to O'Connor after a 1:56.90 leg in 7th place about 6 1/2 seconds back. Dan O'Connor's second leg of 1:53.74 carried the Tigers up a place and to within five seconds of Green Hope. Elijah Claiborne moved up place by place on the third leg but was still well back of Green Hope and St. Benedicts going into his last lap. From there he just went crazy and blasted past Ronald Kigen of St. Benedicts off the final turn and then caught up to Green Hope at the exchange following a team-leading 1:50.10 leg. Isaiah Claiborne got the stick virtually dead-even with Green Hope but was content to tuck in behind their much larger anchor Ian Delgado for about 700 meters. Like his brother coming off the final turn, Isaiah turned on the jets for the last 100m and won by nearly a half second at 7:31.62 after a 1:50.89 leg. Along with the national title came a state record with the US #5 mark all-time.

Northport's time finally put to rest the question of which NY team had the fastest mark for the 4x800m or 4x880 yard race. 52 years before in 1966 at the CHSAA Coaches Invite, Andrew Jackson (Julio Meade, Bill Jacobs, Sam Thomas, Mark Ferrell) and the Boys and Girls (Mark Edmead, John Henry, Mike Randall, Jim Jackosn) teams battled to a dead heat in a 4x880y race at 7:35.6, which equated to a 7:33.0 for the 4x800m. In 2005 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, a Syosset team of Dan Tully, Adam Lampert, Chris Howell and Sean Tully captured the title at 7:35.15 for the best time in an official 4x800m race until Northport's triumph.