By Christopher Hunt
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Rudy Winkler arrived at the point in his competition where he figured the whole thing a wash.
“I was just like whatever,” he said. “I didn’t even care anymore.”
Apparently that’s exactly what the Averill Park sophomore needed. Winkler launched a personal best on this final attempt to win the hammer throw at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals Friday. He tossed 214 feet, 7 inches.
“That throw kind of turned my entire day upside down,” Winkler said.
Before that, Winkler felt like he wasted a trip to Greensboro, N.C. He fouled 4 of his 6 attempts. The sophomore tossed 195-9 on his second throw to get into the final then fouled his next three. He had already decided that it wasn’t his day. But once he took the pressure off, it changed everything.
As soon as the implement left his hands, he drew a deep breath. Winkler knew he his luck was changing. He just needed an official measurement.
“Today was rough,” he said. “It was really rough.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, who left his high school team at Francis Lewis to continue training with coach Jean-Joseph Roman, finished third with a throw of 205-2. He also finished fifth in the shot put at 58-7.50. Thomas Servino of Monroe-Woodbury scored a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw for all-America honors. He threw 200-10.
Shaker, led by Mike Libruk (1:54.07), Dave Marthy (1:54.85), Reuben Feinman (1:55.30) and Christian Delago (1:51.45) finished fourth in 4x800 in 7:35.65, setting a Section 2 record. Shaker beat its own school and section record of 7:38.14 set in 2005.
“We thought that was the one record at our school that couldn’t be broken,” said Delago, who ran the anchor.
They had the perfect ran to do it. Long Beach Poly set the national record in 7:28.75. St. John the Baptist set a CHSAA record in sixth place in 7:37.93 with Brendon Camenzuli (1:55.28), Sean Ferguson (1:55.54), Seitu Solomon (1:53.07) and Hunter Burrell (1:54.06).
Bay Shore senior Jennifer Halloran defended her national title in the 1 mile racewalk. Halloran commanded the field from the gun to win in 7:36.05. The win was the start what she expects to be one of the most memorable weeks of her life. Halloran will attend her prom and walk at graduation next week.
“I figured if I could win this and then prom and graduation, it would be pretty awesome,” she said.
New Rochelle junior Amira Privott-Yeiser finished third in the heptathlon with 4,316 points. New Yorkers also enjoyed a strong showing in the triple jump. Erasmus Hall’s Shane Green struggled to find the board, much the way he did while winning the state title last week, but cleared 49-7.25 to finish fourth. Riverhead state champ Melodee Riley jumped 39-8.50 to claim fourth in the girls triple.
“I could have done better but I’m with what I got,” said Riley, who set the state leader at 41-3.50 at the Section 11 state qualifier June 4.
Notes: Liverpool finished fifth in the 1600 sprint medley relay. The team finished in 3:27.77 behind a tremendous anchor leg by indoor 800 national champ Zavon Watkins. The junior split 1:48.85. He will race for the 800 title Saturday at 5:40 p.m. New Rochelle took eighth in the race in 3:30.50. … Monroe-Woodbury also took fifth in the girls 1600 SMR in 4:04.36. Uniondale was eighth in 4:07.74. … O’Neill junior Megan Clark, the indoor and outdoor state champ, placed seventh in the pole vault clearing 12-3.25.