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Moore hardware for Townsend Harris girls

The freshman from Townsend Harris glanced at the steeples in her way - five oversized legos masquerading as hurdles - and proceeded to set a PSAL record in 7:22.40, eclipsing the old time by more than 13 seconds. But because the race was recorded by hand instead of in fully automated time, the old record remained.

In any event, the race ushered in the beginning of an era in Queens outdoor track and field, as Townsend Harris won 11 of 20 events to capture the Queens Borough Championships at Bayside last Thursday. The win was payback for losing to Jamaica in the Queens Indoor Track and Field Championship in the winter by four points.

Tim Connor took over a Townsend Harris team that won the first Queens outdoor championship in school history last year and coolly responded by winning the outdoor track championship and adding the borough's cross-country championship in the fall.

Moore wasn't around last year either - she was an eighth-grader at IS 59 in Springfield Gardens - but she could be implicated in several more borough championships to come if she can do what she did on Monday, winning two events.

"We call her our little spark plug," said Connor, a former track and basketball coach at Robert Wagner High School. "She's winning a lot right now, but when she realizes what she can do with her talent, she can be even better. My biggest concern for her is not over-running, but as long as she stays healthy I could definitely see her running for a Division I program in college."

Moore received an assist from Jamaica's Alexandra Condell, who provided a good running mate so Moore could be at her best, especially in the steeplechase when Moore pulled away from Condell after 1,200 meters and even farther in the final gun lap to win by 19 seconds.

The two collaborated again in the 800-meter run, going neck and neck down the final straightaway before Moore accelerated in the closing 10 meters to win in 2:22.20. Condell, who finished in 2:22.80, collapsed holding her right shin after she crossed the finish line.

"It was crazy," said Moore, a resident of Jamaica Estates. "I really wasn't thinking at all in that final stretch. But I felt that in the straightaways she was gaining speed and on the turns she was losing speed. On the last straightaway I was just trying to go with her to see what would happen. I guess I just wanted it more."

Nobody can doubt the competitive spirit of Townsend Harris' Kalima Smalls, one of the best shot-putters in the city who at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds challenges the accuracy of her last name. Smalls, the unquestioned leader of the Hawks, would like to play football for Howard University in the fall and work with kids for a living, but for now she's wreaking havoc on shot-putters in Queens, including Jamaica's Christabelle Jeanty.

Jeanty was given a medal for winning the shot put with 34 feet 6 inches, even though Smalls outdistanced her with 34 feet 11 inches.

The mistake triggered an awkward moment between Jamaica's coach and Connor as Jeanty's medal was taken away and given to Smalls. Both girls will compete in the city championships May 29 at St. John's, as will most of Monday's winners.

Nene Kamate, a junior from Jamaica, in effect hit for the cycle for Townsend Harris by winning every event in which she competed: the 200-meter dash, the 100-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles, where she beat the nearest competitor by five seconds.

"Not a lot of people know about me," she said. "I guess I'm the new buzz in town."

The same could be said of Townsend Harris' outdoor track and field team this year.

Reach reporter Mitch Abramson at timesledger@aol.com or 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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