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Francis Lewis runs away with another Queens crown

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The son of Indian and German parents, Chibber was so untouchable in his solo races that he ruined any dramatic intrigue as to who would win after the first lap. The same could be said of the team competition where Francis Lewis led from beginning to end, collecting a total of 126 points. The second place team, Campus Magnet had 51 points. The Patriots have now won five straight Queens Borough Championship events, dating back to last year when they won the Triple Crown of track and field: the cross-country and indoor and outdoor championships. The Patriots also won the cross-country borough championships this year. Chibber won the 3,200-meter in 10:25.31 to qualify for the city championships Saturday at the Armory; he won the 1,600 in 4:49.17, an event he already qualified in the cities for, and he helped win the 3,200-meter relay in 8:44.90 with Andres Cabrera, Bhasnar Ramkarran and Brandon Leung. Francis Lewis finished in the top four in the 1,600.In the 1,600-meters, Chibber was so far ahead that his coach, Ralph Montanaro told him to relax as he sped around the track to save himself for the relay. With two laps to go, he finally allowed himself to look at the runners on the other side of the oval, bunched up together, and he let up only slightly."When I run, I never know how far ahead I am because I don't look around," said Chibber who is applying to Stanford. "I just go with the flow, but I'm always telling myself to push it. I always feel like someone is right next to me."During the Cross Country Borough Championships, Chibber let up a bit and it cost him dearly. Running side by side with Newtown's Alex Medina, the two ran into the woods and Chibber powered ahead for the final stretch. Thinking the race was clearly his, Chibber slowed down and Medina won by a step, teaching him a valuable lesson about running through the finish line."Now I just think about running hard," he said. "I don't think about winning or losing, just about working as hard as I can." The Patriots won five of 15 events and finished second or third eight times to dominate the competition. Track and Field is a sport of small adjustments, and no one modified his style more than Long Chen, Francis Lewis' senior who won the long jump in 18 feet and 11 inches. Chen, who is from China, won his first indoor championship by jumping off his right foot instead of his left, which he had used to launch himself in previous meets."I injured my left knee a week ago falling on some ice and I just felt good jumping off my right foot," he said. "I can't explain it, but it just feels right jumping this way."A familiar face made the rounds at the Armory Sunday. Martin Laskin, the longtime coach at Martin Van Buren, who won seven Queens Borough Championships in his 15 years as the boys' coach, has moved on to August Martin where he is coaching indoor and outdoor boys' track. The former track coach at August Martin, Orlando Martinez is now coaching boys' cross country. Dressed in his customary Washington Redskins jacket, Laskin said he was pushed out by an uncooperative administration that wouldn't let him coach before the final school dismissal at 4:50 p.m."I have to look after my mother who is 83 in the evenings," said Laskin, considered a maestro in the field events. "I've always been a good son, and I'm not going to change now."His former team labored through the competition, participating in just four events. The other team members were performing with their club teams, the new coach of Martin Van Buren, Zaman Shah said.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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