2012 Loucks Games: Friday roundup
The Men's 800 had the biggest names of the event. Defending champion Zavon Watkins of Liverpool High School ended up defeating Boys and Girls' Robert Rhodes by less than one second with a time of 1:50.78. It marked a new Loucks Games record and was the fastest time in NYS this season.
Rhodes led the tightly compacted race from the start but was overcome by Watkins in the final 200 meters.
"No matter who was in the race, I was going for first place." said Rhodes, who finished in second with a PR time of 1:51.91. "I know that Watkins runs from the back, so the fact being I didn't see him for the first 600 I wasn't surprised. I knew he was going to come for me in the last 200. I was ready for him. When he went for the kick, I kicked with him, but it was just a little too late."
Arlington's Chris Koenitzer was the top Section 1 finisher with a time of 1:56.14 for 11th place. New Rochelle's Temi Bajulaiye (1:57.70, 20th), Nyack's Julio Melendez (1:58.08) and North Rockland's Taylor Vippolis (1:58.10) and Hen Hud's Cameron Rasmussen (1:59.12) all finished in the Top 25 in a race that included 59 runners.
The Hackley School's A.J. Wolf took home the trophy with a throw of 59-4. Wolf was seeded third in event, however, he bested second-place finisher Will Pope (56-00) of Iona Prep by more than three feet.
"What I really wanted was the school record, which I got on my last throw." said Wolf of passing the Hackley School record of 57 feet. " In my mind, even though I had won, I felt like I didn't I had won the event until i got the school record."
Wolf, who has accepted a scholarship to play football at Duke next fall, also said he will join the track & field team in college and participate in the shot put, discus and possibly the hammer throw.
"I will definitely try to do track, but I will have to see how much it will take," Wolf said. "I might have to drop it but as of right now I am definitely going to do track."
Wolf will compete in the discus on Saturday. He is the No. 1 seed in the event.
New Rochelle's Briyah Brown has always had the talent to win a big-time event like the Loucks Games, however, she has struggled to put it all together.
On Friday, she finally cashed in on all that talent.
The junior standout threw a personal best of 44-01.75 on her second throw to win the event by more than five feet. She threw 41-00 on her first throw.
"At a lot of the meets I have choked," Brown said, "but today I didn't. I was relaxed and I didn't stay still. I went in there, I didn't think and I conquered."
Teammate Nijera Manuel finished in fifth place with a throw of 36-04.25. Bayport-Blue Point's Jordan Collins finished in second place with a throw of 38-03.
In the final event of the day, North Shore's Samantha Nadel led from start to finish to take home first place with a PR time of 10:16.49, which doubled as the 2012 NYS record.
"I was really excited to be in the lead," Nadel said. "The second half I slowed down a little bit, but I know for next time I have to keep it up."
The senior has been battling injuries all year and says she is finally feeling comfortable.
"I am really excited, really happy about that," she said. "I have been building up each week."
Nadel said she might compete in the 1,600 meters on Saturday.