photoBy Dan Marra • The Journal News • February 19, 2008

NEW YORK - Sometimes, for no apparent reason,

everything just clicks for an athlete in track and field.

 

Lawrence Campbell of Peekskill and Antoine McGill of

Clarkstown South each had one of those days yesterday

in the Section 1 state qualifier meet at the New Balance

Armory.

 

Campbell won the 600 meters in 1 minute, 20.40 seconds –

a Section 1 record. After running conservatively for the first

400 meters, Campbell took off on the final lap, separating

himself from the rest of the pack.

 

His winning margin was 2 1/2 seconds as he broke the

record set by Paul Joyce of Clarkstown South.

Coach (Paul Piliero) told me that I had a chance to get the section record, Campbell said. That's what I wanted to do.

After being prevented from competing in the state qualifier last winter because of a mix-up in the entry process, Campbell is running this indoor season with something to prove.

Last year I was held out, Campbell said. That was real frustrating. But this year I'm coming on strong, and I want to prove everyone wrong.

McGill won the 55 hurdles in 7.48 seconds and the long jump at 22 feet, 7 3/4 inches. The Clarkstown South hurdler beat out Claudio Delli Carpini (7.59) of Harrison and Menelik Lewis (7.62) of New Rochelle.

After a strong start to his season, McGill has struggled to win the hurdles recently, running slower times than Lewis and Delli Carpini. But yesterday McGill was able to put it all together.

Coming up on the first hurdle, Lewis, Delli Carpini and McGill all ran right over it, knocking the hurdles straight to the track. But unlike in past races, it was McGill who steadied himself and won.

I had two good racers next to me, McGill said. In the beginning, me and Lewis went out at the same time, but then he tripped up and I knew I had it. It's all about concentration.

All three athletes qualified in the 55 hurdles for the state meet, which will be held March 8 at Cornell University.

All I wanted to do was not fall, Delli Carpini said. If you fall, then you're not going to make (the state meet). I just wanted to run a clean race. I knew it wasn't a fast race, but I'm satisfied I qualified.

The surprise qualifier of the meet came in the relays.

After running the second-fastest 800 relay time in the country and breaking a Section 1 record by running 1:28.94 on Saturday in the Pepsi Hall of Fame Classic at the Armory, the Ramapo team of Kevin Malivert, Nick Padilla, Chidi Ezemma and Mike Abelard was beaten by New Rochelle's Pierre Eliezer, Shawn Day, Jarrett Reid and Isaiah Manigault. New Rochelle finished in 1:33.56.

Ramapo held the lead for most of the race, but Reid closed in on Ezemma, and each team handed the baton off to its anchor at the same time. Abelard, who had just finished anchoring the first-place 1,600 relay, jumped out to an early lead, but around the final turn Manigault caught and then passed him.

I didn't think I was going to beat him, Manigault said. I just didn't give up. I kept telling myself, 'This is for states.' I didn't stop, I kept up my pace, and I played catch-up. That's how I run.

In the relay events, only the first-place teams advanced. As a result, Section 1's record-setting 800 relay team will not run in that event at the state meet.

I felt I could've gone faster, Abelard said. Once the track got loud, I knew he was close. I tried to keep my form, but I lost him down the last straightaway.

Elsewhere, Manny Martinez of North Rockland qualified for the state meet in the pole vault, clearing 13 feet, a personal record.

I've been trying to clear that height all season, Martinez said. I've been working on dropping my head and shoulders to get a better height, but it feels good knowing I've qualified.

The Somers 3,200 relay team of Pat Porteus, Todd Apgar, Vinny Cascio and John Turro also qualified for states, finishing first in 7:59.39.

Reach Dan Marra at dmarra@lohud.com or 914-696-8233.