N. Babylon's Moran wins 1,600 in Suffolk qualifier
Kris Moran came into the 1,600 at the Suffolk state qualifying meet looking to stake his spot among the big dogs at next week's state meet. He came away with a meet record.
Moran won the 1,600 with a time of 4:13.99 at yesterday's Suffolk state qualifying meet at Port Jefferson, earning him his second straight large-school berth in the state meet next week at Cicero-North Syracuse. James Burke of Port Jefferson took second in 4:16.68 to qualify from the small schools.
Moran broke a three-year-old meet record set by Bobby Andrews of Shoreham-Wading River in 2009 (4:14.85) by a little less than a second. His time ranks him seventh overall in the state in the 1,600.
"I wanted to run around 4:13, since that's the top of the state leaderboards," the North Babylon junior said. "I needed to get a fast time to get into the faster section of states."
Moran, who won the indoor state and Federation championship in the 3,200 with a blazing-fast final 400-meter kick, was in control throughout the race, pacing the field for most, if not all, of it.
"I wanted to go 64s [each lap] and then have a faster last lap," Moran said. "I pretty much did that. I really just wanted to win and run a solid time."
Moran even admitted that he could have run a bit faster if he wasn't saving his energy for the 4x800 later on in the meet. That, combined with his recent speed training and his penchant for late-race surges, could launch him even higher up the state 1,600 rankings.
"I'm hoping to hit 4:10 next week," he said. "I think I can do it."
Moran wasn't the only standout performer of the afternoon. Mark Jackson of Longwood came away with four state berths -- the 100 (10.90), the high jump (6-9), and as the anchor leg to both the 4x400 (3:20.36) and the 4x100 (42.47) -- while Chris Belcher of Sayville qualified by winning both the 100 and the 200 outright.
"Once I got out of the blocks, I was like, 'I got this,' " Belcher said of his win in the 100 (10.73 seconds). "I knew it was a perfect start, perfect everything. I dug deep into the ground, put my head down, rose, and just glided right by."
Rob Calamia qualified for his second straight state meet in the 3,000 steeplechase, coasting to an easy win in 9:44.95. "I was racing myself along with the competitors," he said. "I wanted to see if I could beat my best time heading into states."
In addition, Ward Melville senior Vincenzo Battaglia qualified for the state meet in the 400, clocking a personal-best 49.13 seconds to edge out fellow large-school qualifier Vincent Jackson of Amityville (49.29) at the finish line.
"I wanted to make sure that I ran my own race," he said. "I knew when I had to kick hard at the end. I went when I was supposed to, and I caught him."