Gelibert leads Bay Shore to track title
In a meet that had its fair share of close races and last-second sprints, it was only fitting that the Suffolk girls large schools title would come down to the final event.
And when the final runner crossed the finish line, it was a familiar name holding the championship plaque.
Bay Shore took the large schools championship Friday night at Suffolk CC-Brentwood, edging Northport 86-80 for its 11th county title in 12 years.
A second-place finish in the 4 x 200-meter relay -- the final event of the meet -- proved to be the difference for the Marauders. With the score tied at 72, the team of Jessica Gelibert, Brianah Allen, Anisa Toppin, and Alexis Barrau clocked a 1:49.33 to secure the team title.
"As long as we depend on each other, we know we'll be fine," Gelibert said.
Gelibert got out to a fast start and executed a flawless handoff to Allen to put Bay Shore in the lead. With Northport a distant fifth, the Marauders coasted to the finish. The Marauders were edged at the line by North Babylon (1:39.26), but they knew they had it in the bag.
"It wasn't about Northport about that point," said Barrau, who ran the anchor leg. "It was about getting to the line and trying to win."
The evening started the same way it would end -- with a close finish. Sachem East's Rachel Paul outkicked Northport's Brigid Brennan on the final straightaway to win the 3,000. Paul clocked a 10:18.06, edging Brennan by .85 seconds.
Sarah Ronde won the 55 in 7.31 to give Northport a 26-13 lead over Sachem East after three events. But Gelibert won both the 600 (1:35.80) and the 55 hurdles (8.60) to keep Bay Shore within striking distance.
Bay Shore took the lead for the first time in the closing events of the meet. The Marauders scored 17 points in the triple jump to take a 72-68 lead with only two events left. Toppin won for Bay Shore (36-2), Barrau was third (35-6 3/4), and Kelsey Palomino was sixth (35-0).
"It's great that we have so many good jumpers on one team," Barrau said. "When Anisa had her jump of 36-2, I felt like I had to push myself to match that."
Northport won the 4 x 400 in 4:11.19 to set up the final race.