LOUCKS GAMES: Stewart takes another MR

By Christopher Hunt

WHITE PLAINS – North Babylon’s Vanessa Stewart collapsed on the infield while she waited for her award. She laid flat on her back and stretched like she would sleep right there on the artificial turf at White Plains -- a well-deserved rest after she rewritten the record books at the Loucks Games.

“I did bad,” she said, looking skyward as someone asked how she had done in the discus.

She wasn’t lying just simply dissatisfied.  There wasn’t much more she could have asked for though. Stewart threw a career best 143 feet, 7 inches, which counted for her second meet record of this weekend. This time she topped a 16-year old record of 142-00 set by Gina LoMonaco of Half Hollow Hills East in 1994.

It came a day after Stewart erased a 26-year old record in the shot put with a toss of 48-5.  She won the shot put by about nine feet Friday. She was 25 feet ahead of the second-place finisher in the discus. Her shot put mark is the best in the state this season. The discus is the second-best. Stewart was named the meet’s most outstanding female performer.

The gusting winds became the story behind most races Saturday. Even marks like Whitney Fountain’s wind-aided win the 200 were deceptive since the wind didn’t do much “aiding” for anyone. A crosswind crushed the runners off the start line and around the bend. Fountain hit the straightaway in front with Mount Vernon freshman Deajah Stevens draped on her shoulder.

“It wasn’t good,” Fountain said. “I’m not really good at running against the wind. The start was powerful but against the wind. It was better off the turn and then like 30 meters before the finish it hit us again.”

Despite the wind reading of 3.2mph – well beyond the legal tailwind of 2.0 – the runners still felt a stiff headwind, enough so that Fountain didn’t even know that Stevens was pressing her all the way down the home stretch. Fountain won in a wind-aided 24.49. Stevens was second in 24.59.

“I had no idea she was there,” Fountain said. “I knew she would be coming because I know what time she runs. I knew I had to keep pushing”

The same wind smacked the runners on the backstretch in the 400 but it didn’t seem to impede Cardozo junior Ahtyana Johnson, who won in 54.41.

“I wanted to run 53 today but that wind was rough,” Johnson said. “It’s OK. I ran faster today than I did here last year so it shows me that I’m proving and I’m ahead of where I was last year.”

It was only Johnson’s second open 400 of the season, the first was at the U.S. Area Youth Olympic Selection Trials in Texas, where Johnson ran 54.17 last month. Only her teammate Chamique Francis, who did not compete Saturday, has run faster.

“I really feel like this is my first 400 of the year,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to see where I was.”

Teammate Lateisha Philson battled a headwind to win the 100 hurdles in 14.24.

“I was slow,” Philson said. “In Texas, I ran 14.08. I wanted to run 13. That’s really my goal. I want to make sure I run 13 this season.”

Roslyn’s Emily Lipari rebounded from a tough race in the 3,200 Friday night, winning the 1,500 in 4:50.02. The senior was content with the win but not the time, she intended on breaking the meet record, 4:48.25 set by Suffern’s Shelby Greany last year.

“I feel really good this season,” she said. “This is my last Loucks Games and I really wanted to go out with a bang.  I wanted that record but in the third lap I just feel asleep out there. I knew I had to run a 60-second last lap to get there record. That wasn’t going to happen.”

Rhinebeck’s Annabel Clarke won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:02.40. Somers junior Cosby Tillman came two seconds off breaking former Somers star Kate Cannon’s meet record in the 1,600 racewalk. Tillman won in 7:26.39.

Garden City won the 4x800 in 9:15.30. Medgar Evers won the 4x400 in 3:45.13 and Mount Vernon, behind Tanya Yarde’s blistering anchor leg, won the 4x100 in 48.51.