SUFFERN – There are much bigger meets. But try telling the seniors who excelled at Thursday’s Rockland County Track and Field Championships that there are more important ones.
“I like counties. It’s almost like bragging rights. It’s almost like leaving it all out there,” Matt LeMoine said.
The North Rockland senior did just that, running a personal-best 6:17.84 to win the boys steeplechase at Suffern Middle School.
The race was far different from last year’s, when LeMoine fell in the water jump during the first lap and never recovered.
“I was really happy with the way I finished. I finally figured it out and put it together, said LeMoine, the event’s top seed.
He’ll compete next season in cross-country for Seton Hall.
“This is one last hurrah for steeplechase,” he said.
It was also one of the last hurrahs for Clarkstown South discus thrower Sam Oberdier, whose future in track at Ohio State will be limited to intramurals.
But it was quite an exodus as Oberdier repeated as girls county champion with a 96-foot, 8-inch throw.
Tappan Zee’s Helen Joyner was second at 92 feet.
Oberdier got her mark on her first throw, fouling on her next two, the direct opposite of last year when her last throw won the title for her.
Her last throw this time, which was out of bounds, might have topped her personal best of 105-8 but she was still happy.
“This is like our home meet — home turf,” Oberdier said of counties. “Winning here, it’s almost like where I leave my mark.”
Clarkstown South pole vaulter Alison Stern certainly did that — again.
The senior, who’ll compete for SUNY-Geneseo next year, repeated as pole vault champion after also winning the Rockland indoor title.
Her mark was 8-feet, 9 inches, not a personal best but still satisfying.
“Winning counties is going down in Rockland County track and field history,” she said.
Of pole vaulting, the 5-foot-1-and-one-half-inch Stern said, “After I plant and I’m in the air, it almost feels like I’m flying and I feel really tall because I’m not that tall.”
North Rockland’s Alex Harris stood tall again.
Harris, who won the Loucks Games girls steeplechase last weekend, competed like a seasoned senior in taking the girls steeple in 6:52.70.
While unhappy with her time, she appreciated the field.
“All the girls I raced against were top-notch. That’s the great thing about Section 1. There’s so much competition to get better,” Harris said.
North Rockland’s Eric Favors won the boys shot at 60-07.
The bulk of the events will be held Friday, including the boys 110 and girls 100 hurdles, where Clarkstown North’s Josh Etkind recorded the best boys preliminary time, 15.30, and Nyack’s Louise Jones posted the top girls time, 15.86.
Suffern’s Imani Solan recorded the top time in the girls 200 prelims, 24.66. Teammate Kamryn McIntosh was second (24.91).
Solan, who’ll compete for Penn next year, would like to top her 24.08 indoor time and break 24 before departing.
But she seemed more concerned with Suffern taking the girls county team title, which the Mounties have done for 13 straight years.
“(Coach Jeff) Dempsey calls it our focus all year,” she said of counties.