By Jano Tantongco
The Huntington Blue Devils 4x400-meter relay team put the “ice cream” on top of its “cake” earlier this month by securing a national championship, or at least that’s how head coach Ron Wilson views it.
Wilson, who said his team appeared nervous before the eventual championship-winning performance, told Kyree Johnson, Lawrence Leake, Shane McGuire and Infinite Tucker this:
“Listen fellas, relax. This is the nationals, but you know what? We got the cake already, which was the state championship. This is the ice cream that goes with the cake. If you get it, it just makes the cake a little better.”
With that, the Blue Devils were off.
Huntington finished in 3:16.09, besting 26 other teams, including top-seeded Archbishop Carroll High School, of Washington, D.C. The Blue Devils’ time is the third-best ever in New York, and set a new record for Suffolk County. The New Balance Nationals Indoor meet was held at the Armory in Manhattan on March 13. The Blue Devils won their second straight New York State championship earlier this season.
Johnson, who ran the first leg of the race, finishing in 48.887 seconds, said it was “just unbelievable” to race against some of the nation’s best runner.
“To be able to win it all, it’s the best feeling that anybody can ever feel,” Johnson said on Friday.
Next up for the Blue Devils was Leake. He finished his stretch of the race in 49.802 seconds.
“I’m happy that we were able to show everyone what we are capable of doing, especially after all our hard work through the season,” Leake said.
After him was McGuire, who clocked in at 49.701 seconds. McGuire said it felt “great” to be a part of the team.
He added, “It’s amazing that all the hard work that we did actually paid off.”
Anchoring the Blue Devils was Tucker, who finished in a blazing fast at 47.708 seconds.
On Friday, Tucker reflected on the team’s relationship off of the field, saying that they’ve had each other’s backs throughout their high school careers.
He said, “We make sure we all stay focused when we have our tough times.”
Added coach Wilson, “It was quite exciting to know that we lit a fire under everyone. It’s been an extraordinary – exhausting – but an extraordinary ride.”
Now entering the spring track season, the Blue Devils will next compete in another national meet on April 1-April 2, the Mobile Challenge of Champions in Alabama.