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Emerenini shakes off judge to win

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At first, Emerenini stood motionless as if she was waiting for the official to throw up her hands and say, "Just kidding," but when no response came, she twirled around, motioned like she was about to walk away, let her emotions bubble to the surface, and then asked why she was only allowed one jump when her competitors had three."Because you didn't respond when I called your name," Roz Katz, the long-jump official said. And with that, Emerenini made a face like she had been punched in the stomach and this time she really did walk away."I wanted to go home," she said.Luckily for Emerenini, her jump in the trials carried over to the final, and she won the competition with a distance of 16 feet and 3.25 inches, well ahead of Jamaica's Jodi An Ferguson's 15 feet and one inch, who took second at Bayside HS. With the win, Emerenini, a senior, qualified for the city championships on May 29 at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island."I feel relieved that I'm done," she said. "After all that I went through just to compete, I'm happy it's over. I was so frustrated because you don't have enough time to get to where you have to be. There's so much going on here at once that it's hard to know where to go. It's crazy."Emerenini's road to victory involved more than just long-jumping. In the chaotic landscape of high school track and field, where events take place simultaneously in a loosely choreographed mishmash, athletes run the risk of missing events because they are enrolled in more than one competition.A look back at the circuitous route she took reveals the potential for trouble at the borough championships. Unlike basketball and football where only one game is being played, 18 events have to be completed at the borough championships. Coaches have to make sure that athletes, most of whom are competing in more than one event, know where they are at all times.Emerenini, the indoor champion in the long-jump, was competing in two other events -the shot-put and the 4x100 relay.At 3:45 p.m., when the open pit began for the long-jump, Emerenini took her first jump. Then she was called to run in the 4x100. Then she returned to the long-jump to get her second jump in. After that, she ran across Bayside Athletic Field to compete in the shot-put, during which time, unbeknownst to Emerenini because no announcement was made over the loud speaker, the finals of the long-jump began.Emerenini missed her first jump in the finals.She still had two jumps left, so she took her second jump and waited for her number to be called. About five minutes later Katz called her, but Emerenini, despite standing maybe 15 feet away didn't respond. And she missed her turn again."She claimed she called my number, but I don't think so," said Emerenini, who took fourth in the shot-put and the relay. "I wanted to go home at that point. I didn't even want to take my final jump."Luckily for Emerenini, she didn't have to. Bob Orazem, the PSAL's meet director who was making the announcements for all of the events over a loud speaker, said that the confusion could have been avoided if her coach had asked the long-jump official to give her permission to compete in another event. Then she would have been able to make the jumps up later.Two other competitors, Nelli Brown of Aviation and Mercy Sabblah of Forest Hills, both missed jumps because they were competing in other events. Brown took fourth place and Sabblah came in 12th in the long-jump."The coaches have to decide which events they want the kids to do," Orazem said. "They want their kids to do so many events because they want the points. This is where they have to choose. The kids can't be everywhere at the same time."Devotia Moore, a sophomore at Townsend Harris won all three of her events for the second straight year. Last Thursday, she came in first in the 2000 meter steeplechase, 800 meters and 1500 meters to qualify for the city championships in each event.Just a freshman at Cardozo, Dalilah Muhammad won the high-jump in five feet four inches.With 235 points, Jamaica HS ran away with the team competition for its first outdoor title since 1997. The Beavers won the Indoor borough championships this season and last season and on Thursday defeated second place Townsend Harris, which amassed 132 points.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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