It was a gold medal day for the Huntington High School boys’ and girls’ track and field teams at Saturday’s New York State championships as the Blue Devils put on an exceptional display, claiming first place in a pair or relay events.
The Blue Devil girls’ 4x200m relay consisting of Alicia Brooks, Analisse Batista, De’Janae Linton and Olivia Conte swept to the New York State Public High School Association gold medal in a time of 1:42.74. It was a remarkable performance by the four special athletes who are all underclassmen. Head coach Mark Jackson and assistant coach Eddie Santos were both thrilled with how their team performed.
“Before we ran the race I was nervous because my hip has been hurting a little lately, but I tried to keep the mindset that we all had to run our best to place where we wanted,” Conte said. “My teammates and I all tried our hardest at this meet and we are extremely satisfied with the results and hope to run even faster next weekend at the nationals. I am so proud of our team and all the hard work we put into this to be state champions.”
Batista was confident heading into the big race. “I thought we were going to do well,” she said. “I had to keep my mind set on the prize to get first. I’m really happy we won today. I hope I run even faster at the nationals. It’s crazy how far we’ve come as a young 4x2 team.”
Winning came as a surprise to Linton. “For me it was great,” she said. “I didn’t think that we were going to win and capture a state championship. My team and I worked and it paid off. I am proud of my team and excited that we won. Our efforts in the 4x2 relay paid off. I hope ee can translate this success into the nationals as well. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a state champion. I didn’t think we would be here.”
The relay team members all strived to stay relaxed. “Going into the race today was very nerve-racking,” Brooks said. “We all just ran a great trials in 1:42. We wanted to at least PR that time. I’m so proud of my team and what we accomplished over three months. We went from a 1:51 to a 1:42 and we showed the more experienced teams that we are coming to take their No. 1 spot. I’m excited for nationals and I hope we beat our time again. I’m proud that we made it so far.”
Batista also ran in the 300m dash. The freshman finished fourth in the NYSPHSAA (sixth in the State Federation) after shocking the rest of the field by posting the fastest time in the qualifying heats, going wire to wire in a personal best 39.65 seconds.
Blue Devil Boys Win State Gold Medals
The Huntington boys’ 4x400m relay won NYSPHSAA and State Federation (New York City, parochial and private) gold medals in 3:20.17. The Blue Devils qualified for the finals on the wings of CJ Kiviat, Isaiah James, Justin Stevens and Anthony Joseph. The finals saw Kiviat, Stevens, Joseph and anchor Johnathan Smith race past every competitor to claim the state crown. (Seventh grader Jahmar Francis was an alternate on the relay.)
“The second we all realized we were state champions we were elated,” Stevens said. “All four of us immediately sprinted straight to each other on the infield to celebrate. The four of us have such a close bond and we were talking after the race about how we wouldn’t trade it for the world. But we know what we have ahead of us, so the celebrations are over and we’re getting right back to work to prepare for nationals.”
Huntington’s 4x4 proved to be simply unbeatable, even against a very talented field of opponents. “It was a great day to wear the blue and white,” said Blue Devil boys’ head coach Ron Wilson, who is assisted by Eli Acosta. “I’m very proud of the accomplishments of these young men.”
Smith finished third in the NYPHSAA 600m run and was fourth in the State Federation standings. The senior’s time of 1:20.34 came awfully close to breaking former teammate Infinite Tucker’s Suffolk record of 1:20.26 in the event.
“It was a good meet and great competition today,” said Smith as the state meet drew to a close. “Every race that I went into, I went in with confidence. I lost my 600m race so I was mad. So I took that energy into the 4x400 and we came out with the win. Everyone ran great today. They showed up and competed and we came out with the win.”
Eric Sands placed 13th in the HYSPHSAA (17th in the State Federation) in weight throw with a best effort that measured 55-00.00 feet.
The Huntington boys’ 4x200m relay finished 15th in the state championships. Underclassmen Rahliek Thomason, Jason Turner, Josiah Melendez and Anthony Joseph completed the race in 1:33.79.
The Huntington boys’ and girls’ squads will participate in the New Balance National Indoor Championships next weekend at the Armory in Manhattan.