By Janee Law
Northport’s track and field team success this season continued into last week’s state championships.
Senior Isaiah Claiborne led the charge, taking first place in the boys 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:26.95.
This is the first time Isaiah has won a state championship event, coach Jason Strom said, adding that he was excited and elated by the win.
“The race fell right into his wheelhouse. It was fast, it was steady and that’s what he needs in order for him to run well,” Strom said. “He has a very good finishing kick and because of the fast pace there weren’t many guys there at the end that could hang on with him. It was a perfect race for him to win.”
Strom added that Isaiah ran smart and maintained his own race and his own pace.
Isaiah’s twin brother Elijah Claiborne also had a successful run, tying the boys 1,600-meter race with time of 4:15.55. Based on a still photo, judges determined that Elijah crossed the finish line in second place by two-hundredths of a second.
“That was by far the best race to date in his career,” Strom said. “He ran a very strong, very poised, very confidant type of race and didn’t let any of the nerves of that type of stage get to him.”
At the state championship, the Tigers 4x800-relay team won the public school championships and finished second in the federation, with a time of 7:56.52. The team consisted of the Claibornes, along with senior Dan O’Connor and sophomore Thomas Fodor.
“Three of the four guys in the race were doubling,” Strom said. “For that team to be able to still be the second best team in the federation and be New York State public school champions just really shows a lot about their strength and their heart in those type of situations.”
The Tigers will be heading to the Armory Track in Manhattan this weekend for the national championship. Strom said they will be competing in the distance medley relay on Friday, the 4x800-relay on Saturday, and Isaiah will be competing in the individual 1,000-meter run on Sunday.
“The boys are running real well and everyone is healthy and excited,” Strom said. “Our goal is to hopefully place within the top six in both of those relay events, which will earn the kids all American honors and that’s really what we’re hoping for as a team.”