ARMONK – Thirty-eight years ago, future Miami Dolphin Paul Lankford set the New York state boys 400 hurdles record.
Sunday, it took Rai Benjamin 50.45 seconds to break it.
The Mount Vernon senior also set a new Section 1 mark in the 100-meter dash (10.66) during the Westchester Track & Field Championships at Byram Hills.
Benjamin, who threw his headband in disgust at the hurdles finish, was all smiles moments later.
“Crossing the line, I didn’t think I got (the record),” said Benjamin, whose previous best was 51.2. “I’m really happy right now.”
Benjamin’s dominated both races. He topped runner-up Cullen Malzo of Lakeland-Panas by nearly six seconds in the hurdles, where Lankford’s mark was 50.52, and beat Ardsley’s Adonis Carrasco by .59 in the 100.
After the 100, one competitor remarked, “By the fourth step, it was over.”
Later, Benjamin, Jason Perlaza, Shaquille Dacres and Cody Housen combined to win the boys 4×400 relay.
The boys team, title, though, went to defending champ Iona Prep.
The Gaels bested runner-up Lakeland-Panas by 40 points in the 30-school competition.
Iona Prep’s Andrew Cannistraci won the discus (150-01) and shot put (53-10.5). The top eight pole vaulters also came from Iona Prep, with Matt Fay winning (15-0), Ryan Herrera-Murphy finishing second. TeammateJosh Diakanwa also took the triple jump (43-1-.25).
“Mr. Mitchell really wanted us to get the title,” Fay said, referring to coach Jan Mitchell.
The girls team title went to New Rochelle, which bested runner-up Bronxville by more than 100 points.
New Rochelle took the top eight spots in the hammer and seven of eight in the shot. Monae Cooper (40-05.5 shot, 143-02 hammer) won those events. Nijera Manuel won the discus (113-01) and Olivia Morgan (121-10) the javelin.
And then there was Victoria Jones-Alleyne. She won the girls 100 hurdles (14.90), 200 dash (25.49) and triple jump (36-07.50) and was on New Rochelle’s winning 4×400 relay (4:01.19).
“This was one of my better days,” she said.
It was also a good day for Stepinac’s Prince Forson, who’d been having a bad season. His personal-best 22.88 won the boys 200.
“It’s perfect. I’m so happy,” Forson said.
The Nohilly family also had a lot of reasons to be happy.
John Jay junior Eion Nohilly won the boys 1,600 (4:21.93) after his sophomore twin sisters Brooke and Kathryn were first (7:18.77) and third (7:39.82), respectively in the girls 2,000 steeplechase.
Brooke, who also won the steeplechase last year, overtook Rye’s Maggie McDermott (7:20.10) late in the last lap but McDermott was happy with her personal-best time.
The fact the Nohilly kids are excelling at track shouldn’t be a surprise. Their mother, Kim, runs, as does their dad, Tom, who ran the steeplechase for the University of Florida.
Ossining senior Abdul Byabusha three-peated in the boys 400 (48.82). “I came to run my race,” he said.
In a back-and-forth race, Bronxville sophomore Kaitlin Ryan edged Ursuline junior Anna Flynn ( 4;34.27-4:35.59) in the girls 1,500.
“With 300 to go, I told myself to go for it but I didn’t go. With 200 to go, she really started to go. But with 100 meters to go, I just told myself, “I want this a lot,” and I found an extra gear,” Ryan said.
Saving his energy for the final two laps, Dobbs Ferry senior Grant Sheely, who’ll compete for Oberlin College next year, captured the boys 3,000 steeplechase (9:46.48)
Bronxville senior Vivian Mroz took the girls pole vault at 10 feet, her personal best by six inches Her freshman sister, Izzy, won her second ever girls pentathlon with 2,200 points. She finished third in the event at the Somers Lions meet.
“I was just trying not to die,” Izzy said. “I knew I started out too fast and didn’t think I’d make the last 200 (meters) but then I heard my teammates cheering and I told myself, ‘Just close your eyes and go for it.'”
Ursuline senior Kene Odenigbo won the girls high jump at 5-2, although she cleared 5-2 by so much she speculated she might have made her 5-4 goal had the bar been higher at that point.
Ossining sophomore Jhada Francis, the state girls indoor 55 champion, won the girls 100 in 12.51. Her goal, she said, is the state 100 crown.
After repeating as 110 hurdles champ (15.05), Sleepy Hollow senior Danny Elia saluted his opponents, saying, “We all love and respect each other.”
Briarcliff junior Caroline Pennacchio won the girls 3,000 in 10:25.18, her best time this spring.
Pleasantville junior Drew Dorflinger (9:28.33) outkicked Eastchester’s Russell McGahren-Clemens (9:29.32) in the boys 3,200 but McGahren-Clemens was “ecstatic” with his personal-best tine.
Dorflinger also ran a personal best, and by a lot. The junior’s previous best was 9:40.
“Winning counties is something special,” he said.