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Townsend Harris qualifies three relay teams for city championships

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It was mission accomplished for the Townsend Harris girls track team last Thursday at St. John’s University. Sure, the Hawks didn’t win the Queens championships, but that wasn’t their goal. Instead, the young Harris squad was pleased to qualify many of its runners for the city championships, also to be held at St. John’s on June 2.

“This is the first time in school history we qualified our three relay teams,” said Harris head coach Joe Horan. “That was the job and that’s what we did. We did everything we wanted to do.”

The 4 x 800 relay got a measure of revenge from the indoor season, when they placed second to Campus Magnet in the Queens championships. Arica Wade burst out of the gate and gave the team a sizable lead and Vicki Lopez closed things out to give Harris the win and a qualifying mark for the PSAL championships.

“It’s not one of my favorite races,” said Lopez, who is returning from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. “We’re going to work hard over the next two weeks and we should do really well in the citys.”

Added Wade: “We really wanted to qualify for the citys. We weren’t running against other teams, we were running for our own times.”

Townsend Harris freshman Rosalind Adams also gave a gritty performance, finishing second in the 3,000-meter in 11:25.6 behind Newtown’s Tyneka Greene, who won easily in 11:17.4. Cardozo’s Bridget Realmuto finished third in 11:32.5

Adams also took second in the 1,500 in 5:22.5, fending off a late charge by Jamaica’s Syrece Bredwood. Greene also won that title in 5:13.1.

Townsend Harris senior Nicole Arriaga took second in the race walk (8:25.9), behind Magnet’s Anine Stanley, who won the race in 7:40.4. Stanley also placed third in the triple jump 29 feet 1 1/2 inches.

“We didn’t worry about the Queens championship,” Horan said. “Our strength is distance and this team was extremely competitive in the indoor and outdoor seasons. I’m very excited about our future prospects.”

As usual, Campus Magnet and Far Rockaway duked it out for the Queens crown. But, with the discus throw still left Thursday at Clinton High School in the Bronx, the Queens champion has yet to be decided. Campus Magnet leads with 147 points, 22 points ahead of Far Rockaway (125). Jamaica sits in third place with 68 points. A total of 31 points are available at the discus.

Far Rockaway won the 4 x 100, edging out Magnet’s A and B squads. The SeaHorses also dominated the 100- and 200-meter dashes as Enameguolo Shemi and Marsha Hayles finished first and second, respectively, in both races. Hayles took home her third silver medal in the long jump, which was won by Edison’s Abigail Nathaniel.

Magnet, the four-time defending Queens champs, took first and third in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles, as sophomore Toni White won the gold in 69.8. Teammate Tamara Allen took third, while Christine Bortic-Marshall placed fifth. Townsend Harris’ Nicole Kresse won the silver.

“This is the first year I’m doing the hurdles. I first tried it at a development meet and since then I’ve been working on keeping my time down,” White said. “I just put my mind to it.”

White anchored the 4 x 400 relay team that took the silver behind Far Rockaway in 4:11.9. She was the lone sophomore with freshmen Vanessa White, Vanessa James and Nicole Nichols.

“They may have beat us in the 4 x 400, but we can do it again,” White said. “This was just one loss.”

Bortic-Marshall also won the 100-meter high hurdles in 18.5, despite what she called a subpar performance.

“At the start I felt excellent, I wish I did better in between [the start and the finish],” she said.

Cardozo senior Melanie Hardy dominated the 400-meter (58.7) and 800-meter (2:19.1) races. In the 800, Campus Magnet senior Tolu Ojo took the silver in 2:24.4. Far Rockaway’s Taishi Hyatt finished third in 2:30.1.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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