Kyree Johnson and Lawrence Leake have one thing on their minds: gold medals. The two Huntington seniors have qualified for the New York State indoor track and field championships on March 4 along with the Blue Devils’ 4x400m relay.
Johnson won the 55m and 300m dashes at Monday night’s Section XI individual championships and Leake captured the 600m run. The duo also ran in the finals on Huntington’s county championship 4x400m relay along with senior Mark Rafuse and eighth grader Anthony Joseph.
Johnson has the second fastest time in the 300m dash in New York this winter. He was clocked at 33.85 seconds in January at the Molloy Stanner Games. Only Ramone Newland of South Shore has run the event faster, finishing in 33.80 seconds at the Armory Track Invitational earlier this month.
Leake has the fourth fastest time (1:21.35) in the state in the 600m dash, less than a second behind leader Anthony Misko of Suffern who ran 1:20.37 at last week’s Section I Class A championships.
Huntington’s 4x400m relay owns the state’s third fastest time in the event, behind Elmont and Newburgh Free Academy.
Johnson was exhausted after winning three gold medals. His winning times in both the 55m (6.41 seconds) and 300m (34.80 seconds) dashes were off his season bests, but he still captured county titles in both events in impressive fashion.
A well-known perfectionist, Leake wasn’t pleased with how the 600m dash played out. “I ran the second lap too slow and then had to make up a lot of ground to catch-up,” he said. All things considered, the teenager’s time of 1:21.70 was sensational and Huntington assistant coach Eli Acosta believes the senior can shave another three seconds off his personal best.
Jonathan Smith and Brian Pierre ran on the 4x400m relay along with Leake and Rafuse before stepping aside for Johnson and Joseph in the championship race. “Jonathan and Brian did a great job helping us reach the finals,” head coach Ron Wilson said. “They saved the legs of Kyree and Anthony, which was really important.”
The relay finals had plenty of excitement as the race leaders jockeyed for position. While Huntington held the lead for much of the race, the Blue Devils had to work for the victory as Johnson was passed on the anchor leg before he fully opened up and ran away from the field, sprinting across the finish line in 3:32.15.
“It wasn’t always pretty, but we got the job done,” Wilson said. “We qualified for the state championships in four different events. I’d say that’s a very good day.”
Huntington juniors Clay Jamison (46-00.00 feet) and Sam Bergman (44-07.25 feet) finished eighth and tenth, respectively in shot put.
The state championships will be held at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field Facility at Staten Island. “It has a very fast track and we are looking to do well there,” Wilson said.