Kyree Johnson and Lawrence Leake showed why they are considered two of the best high school sprinters in the United States when the Huntington seniors dazzled the crowd at Saturday’s Molloy Stanner Games at the Armory in Manhattan.
Leake ran a new US No. 1 time in the 600m dash, covering the distance in a blazing 1:21.35. The performance is No. 2 all-time for Huntington behind only Blue Devil great Infinite Tucker’s 1:20.26, which is the fifth fastest in US indoor history and a Suffolk record.
Johnson ran the 300m dash in 33.85 seconds, a new Huntington High School record. It’s the fastest in New York this winter and the fifth fastest ever in the state. It’s also ranks No. 4 in the US this season.
Johnson and Leake are now atop the state rankings in both events. But neither is content to sit on last weekend’s performances. The duo is constantly in search of better times and no one is about to bet against either of them.
Leake credited his remarkable performance to “working hard during practice and remembering what my coach says: ‘Hurting during practice doesn’t hurt as bad as losing at a meet,’ which makes me work harder, helping me perform at my best.”
Johnson and Leake not only turned in sensational performances, but overwhelmed large fields in their respective events. Johnson flew past 185 entries in the 300m dash while Leake was in a class all by himself among the 172 competitors in the 600m run.
The Huntington stars derive motivation and inspiration from each other’s performances. “Going into this meet, we knew we had to preform great,” Johnson said. “After I ran 34.00 seconds in the 300m semifinals, I saw Lawrence win the 600m with a US No. 1 time. Right there I knew I had to run a personal best in the finals. After the 300m finals were over, I got a chance to get interviewed with an Olympic runner and it was the best.”
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While it was hard to get any better, it did just that as Johnson and Leake helped Huntington notch a New York No. 1 time in the 4x400m relay and win gold medals at the Molloy Stanner Games.
Running the anchor leg, Johnson surged past race leaders Elmont and Newburgh and into first place, crossing the finish line in 3:21.40. It’s the fastest time of any New York 4x400m relay team this winter and No. 2 in the entire United States.
Leake, eighth grader Anthony Joseph and senior Shane McGuire ran the first three legs of the race and set the stage for Johnson’s heroics. Besides Elmont and Newburgh the event included a nationally ranked relay team from Danbury, Connecticut, making the victory even sweeter.
In winning the race, Huntington toppled U.S. No. 2 and N.Y. No. 1 Newburgh, which had run the event in 3:21.93 just a few days earlier on the same track at the Millrose Games trials.