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Track & Field Top Honors At State Championships

While athletes were greeted by dropping temperatures and a steady snowfall in Ithaca this past weekend, inside Barton Hall things were just beginning to heat up.  As has become tradition at Manhasset, the indoor season culminated at the New York State Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The Indians had four individual qualifiers this season, which is twice the number from the previous year. In a sport that has seen an explosion in both growth and depth of talent over the past several years, this alone is quite an achievement. However, the qualifiers sent to represent Manhasset were not satisfied with merely having been given the opportunity to compete - they each came with the goal of stepping up on the podium as an All-State selection.

Junior Tara Belinsky led the way, continuing her dominant season by throwing a career best of 42’10.5” in the shot put to finish as this year’s silver medalist. In fact, Tara reset her personal best three times throughout the competition, throwing her best series ever to earn All-State and All-Federation honors. Tara will look to continue her breakout season when she competes at the New Balance Indoor Nationals next weekend in New York City.

Joining Tara in reaching the podium was Manhasset sprinter Kathryn Hallett. A qualifier in both the 55m and the inter-sectional relay, Hallett has turned many heads this season, as the sophomore sensation is still a relatively new face on the track scene. However, her youthful inexperience was anything but apparent as she burst off the starting line in her first state meet race. Despite not getting out of the qualifying rounds in the 55m, she saved her best effort for her 200m leg of the relay, blazing a 26.0 to put her team in contention. Her Section VIII teammates completed the job to help them earn All-State and All-Federation honors for their fifth place finish.

Joining our two medalists were senior standouts Stephen Bourguet and Katie Connors. Bourguet, who came up just short in his quest for another All-State medal, competed in the 1600 against a formidable field, some of whom own the top marks in the nation this season. Bourguet, who has garnered multiple All-State and All-Federation titles in cross country, got off to a strong start and ran with the lead pack for the first half of the race before fading slightly to finish just out of medal contention. While not making the podium is a bit of a disappointment, it is a minor blemish on another otherwise stellar season for the Brown-bound captain, who captured his 14th and 15th County Championship titles and All-Northeast honors while recording an indoor personal best of 4:22.0 this winter.

Teammate and fellow senior Katie Connors also missed out on a medal competing the 1500m-race walk and nearly matched her season best time in the event. Finding success in the race walk, one of the most technically difficult events in the program, is a tribute to Katie’s persistence and hard work. Connors, who will attend Colgate next fall, was a first-time qualifier for the state meet.

The boys and girls programs will now look to ready themselves for the spring season with increasingly high hopes and aspirations.