The Huntington boys’ track 4x400m relay covered itself in glory last weekend at the state championships in Middletown. The Blue Devils claimed gold medals in the New York State Public High School Athletic Assn. and State Federation finals on Friday and Saturday, racing past a very talented field of opponents.
Huntington came into the state championships ranked No. 1, but Blue Devil head coach Ron Wilson and the athletes he coaches know all too well that a sure thing simply doesn’t exist in the event. Between the baton exchanges and the potential for lane violations, anything can happen and it often does. But in two races last weekend, Huntington was perfect.
Sophomores CJ Kiviat, Isaiah James and Anthony Joseph and senior Johnathan Smith were fleet-footed on Friday afternoon as they summoned the energy to lower Huntington’s season-best time by three seconds and edge highly regarded Newburgh Free Academy for the NYSPHSAA title.
Huntington ran the race in 3:14.17 to nip Newburgh Free Academy, which crossed the wire in 3:14.56. “We have worked hard all year, pushing our bodies to the limit and beyond,” James said. “Going into states we wanted nothing but No. 1. We gave it our all, PRing by three seconds!”
The Blue Devils were splendid in the State Federation finals on Saturday, too. The State Federation includes the top private, parochial and New York City/PSAL athletes, but none of that mattered to Huntington, which went about its business in typical fashion.
The Blue Devils again captured first place in the State Federation 4x400m relay finals, crossing the finish line in 3:14.97 to easily eclipse second place Newburgh Free Academy (3:15.72) and third place Paul Robeson (3:16.73).
Wilson substituted junior Justin Stevens for James in the race, which allowed five Blue Devils to claim All-State honors in the event between the NYSPHSAA and State Federation races.
“We came here to win the state championship and that’s what we did,” Wilson said. “It’s a wonderful thing when teenagers discover that hard work really does pay off.”
Huntington’s holds the state record in the 4x400m relay. Lawrence Leake, Shane McGuire, Kyree Johnson and Infinite Tucker set the mark of 3:10.93 on June 19, 2016 at the national championships.
Blue Devil Girls Are All-State
Freshman Analisse Batista placed second in the 400m in the NYSPSAA finals in a time of 55.42 seconds and took third place in the State Federation finals in 55.69 seconds.
The Huntington girls’ 4x400m relay was also magnificent. The Blue Devil relay team consisting of Batista, Brianna Halbeisen, Caroline O’Rourke and Alicia Brooks finished fifth in the NYSPHSAA championship race in a time of 3:55.62, only 86/100ths of a second behind third place West Babylon.
Huntington went on to finish fourth in the State Federation finals in a time of 3:54.52. It was an outstanding effort and coaches took note. The Blue Devils lowered their time from a day earlier by 1.1 seconds, a rare occurrence.
All four relay team runners are All-State and Batista is All-State in two separate events.
In other action at the state championships:
- In the 400m hurdles, Johnathan Smith finished ninth in a field of 20 in a time of 54.99 seconds. Justin Stevens was 12 th in 55.87 seconds.
- Anthony Joseph finished 11 th in a field of 18 in the 400m dash in a time of 49.33 seconds. Only one sophomore placed higher than Joseph, running the race 22/100ths of a second faster than the Blue Devil.
- In high jump, senior Jaden Bholan cleared 6-00 feet to finish tied for 27 th in a field of 46.
- In long jump, junior Alicia Brooks tied for 10 th place in a field of 19 with a leap of 17-0.50 feet. Brooks entered the state championships with the fourth best jump in the state this spring, a leap that measured 18-09.75 feet. Had she been able to duplicate that last weekend, she would have won the state title in the event. Anaya Dees of Hilton won the state crown with a jump of 18-09.50 feet.
- Brooks placed 10 th in a field of 27 in the 100m dash in a time of 12.46 seconds.