By Janee Law
Both the St. Anthony’s and Northport boys winter track teams found success at last weekend’s national meet, which was hosted at the Armory in Manhattan.
The teams yielded several top-four finishes among some of the best track and field talent from across the country.
The Friars took second in the distance medley relay with a time of 9:58.36. The team consists of Mason Gatewood, Michael Barboro-Barnett, Brendan Dearie, and Matthew Payamps.
The same squad took fourth place in the 4x800-relay championship with a time of 7:48.86.
The Tigers, competing in the same distance medley relay, finished fourth with a time of 10:08.89. The team consists of twin brothers Isaiah and Elijah Claiborne, Dan O’Connor, and Eric Stehlik.
After that race, the Claiborne twins and O’Connor were joined by Thomas Fodor for the 4x800-relay, in which they placed third with a new Suffolk record time of 7:46.36.
Throughout the race, Northport coach Jason Strom said the boys had incredible poise, “never feeling overwhelmed in the spotlight that they were in. To be able to put all four of those legs together like that on that day was very special.”
Isaiah also competed in the men’s individual 1-mile race on Sunday. He took 4th place with a time of 4:10.95, which is the third fastest time in Suffolk County history, Strom said.
Running the distance medley relay and the 4-by-800 relay before, Strom said he wasn’t sure what he would have enough left in his legs for the individual race.
“He just ran an outstanding race of putting himself in the right spot the whole race, staying up with the leaders, trying to do as little as he had to do. Being right there with a lap to go, he was able to use his kick not to his full ability because I think the couple races took a little bit out of him,” Strom said. “With his mental toughness, he was able to beat a couple guys on that last lap and place fourth overall as an individual, which marked the third race of a tremendous weekend for him.”
Strom couldn’t say enough about the group’s “work ethic… to want to achieve those team accolades and individual accolades at the highest level.”
“It takes a lot to get to the level where they’re at, it doesn’t come easy,” he said. “I can’t speak enough of them as far as their dedication, their preparation and the sacrifices that they have to make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to go the places that we go, to travel to the meets, and to put the time in at practice.”
Now, Strom said, the Tigers are prepping for spring track season, which starts Monday.