By Joseph Staszewski
Benjamin Carodozo’s girls’ track Coaches Gail Emmanuel and Ray James mock up scores for every championship meet prior to it happening as a way to figure out the best plan to navigate their team to a title.
In a rare occurrence, the two couldn’t find a way for it to happen at this season’s PSAL Outdoor Championships at Icahn Stadium Sunday.
“We knew there was a chance of coming in a close second,” Emmanuel said.
The Judges’ margin for error earning points got even smaller with South Carolina-bound Deajah Stevens out with a knee injury and Georgetown-committed Sabrina Southerland feeling sick.
It all added up to the Bayside school’s five-year reign coming to end.
“It’s sad,” Southerland said. “It’s kind of disappointing.”
Rival Medgar Evers won the meet with 115 points, DeWitt Clinton was second with 58 and Cardozo third with 53. It’s the first time since 2007 that the Judges didn’t win both the indoor and outdoor crowns.
“I’m pretty satisfied,” said Emmanuel, knowing her team did the best with what it had.
Akalya Anderson won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.49 and placed third in the 400 hurdles in 1:05.19. Southerland took home the 800 crown with a mark of 2:07.76 and saw Shaniqua Kirkpatrick place third in 2:20.71, but walked away from the starting line immediately after the gun of the 1,500.
“I was telling my coach, ‘Yeah, I can do it’ and I got over there and I felt like I was going to die,” Southerland said.
Junior Denise Branch stepped up and took home 1,500 gold with a time of 4:51.43, retaking the lead from Health Professions’ Fabiola Oubida in the final 50 meters. She was also a part of Cardozo’s winning 4×800 relay along with Southerland, Kirkpatrick and Jane Chan. Branch knew she had to step up when she saw Southerland pull out.
“I was upset that she wasn’t able to run,” she said. “But I have to learn to run fast when I’m by myself, too.”
It wasn’t the way Southerland wanted to end her final PSAL meet, but she was proud of the way her team competed.
“We didn’t have much today,” Southerland said. “We did the best we could.”