Cardozo girls win sixth-straight track title

Photo by Yinghao Luo
By Joseph Staszewski

Sabrina Southerland doesn’t waste words or strides.

The Benjamin Cardozo senior knew exactly what her job was when she took the baton for the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay with the Judges holding a small lead.

“My main thing was to come in first so I could get points for my team,” she said. “I just held it in first.”

Southerland ran her legs in a stellar 54.8 seconds to allow her, Shaniqua Kirkpatrick, Akayla Anderson and Deajah Stevens to clinch not only the Judges’ win in the race, but also the meet. Cardozo held off Medgar Evers 91-85 to claim its sixth-straight PSAL indoor girls’ track and field title at the Armory Sunday.

Southerland also won the 1500 in 4:39.55 and 1000 in 2:48.24 to earn co-track athlete of the meet honors with Medgar Ever’s Kadecia Baird. Southerland for three years had run behind the likes of Chamique Francis, Claudia Francis and Alexis Pannise. This title was hers.

“She deserved it,” Cardozo Coach Gail Emmanuel said. “It was honorable for her to finish up like that.”

The key to this crown was Cardozo’s balance across the running events. Anderson and Sandreka Bancroft placed first and second in the 55 hurdles in 8.00 and 8.20. Denise Branch won the 3000 in a time of 10:16.52 and was third in the 1500 in 4:50.11. Stevens was second in the 300 in 38.98 and Kirkpatrick (1:36.73) was third in the 600. The team of Bancroft, Anderson, Aylete Townsend and Elizabeth Myers were second in the 4×200 with a mark of 1:41.27.

“It just feels like we relied on those other girls from the past that graduated that helped us to win the whole thing,” Anderson, a senior, said. “It feels good that we did it.”

Cardozo wasn’t the only ones medaling from Queens.

Townsend Harris senior Ji Won Kang smashed her previous PSAL record time of 7:01.20 set back in January by winning the 1500 race walk in 6:44.62. She got into the event after getting injured during cross country as a freshman. It led her to being the best ever in the PSAL.

“I still can’t believe I did it,” she said. “I wasn’t coming down the straight away looking at my time and thinking that is what I was looking for.”

Forest Hill’s junior Oghenakpob Efekoro placed second in the shot put with a throw of 50-feet, 2.75 inches. It was his first Top 3 finish.

“I’ve never stood on a podium,” Efekoro said. “It’s awesome.”

Bayside’s Xiao Zhi Shi earned gold in the boys’ pole vault with a leap of 10-6.00 and Olivia Chang took third on the girls’ side in 7-00. Brandon Gooden of John Bowne (6.59) was third in the 55 dash and Francis Lewis’ Fredis Baires finished in the same spot in the 3200 in 9:48.73.

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