Forest Hills’ Efekoro wins shot put title

By Joseph Staszewski

Forest Hills’ Oghenakpob Efekoro’s throwing slump may have carried into the outdoor season, but it hasn’t gotten in the way of victories.

The UConn-bound shot putter wasn’t happy with a toss after winning the event at the PSAL Indoor championship in late February. He was left shaking his head again after taking home the Mayor’s Cup championship with a throw of 52 feet 11 inches at Icahn Stadium Saturday afternoon. Efekoro has already thrown 55 feet this spring.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I still have the medal. I’m upset.”

Efekoro pointed to not taking a week off from training since the indoor season for his possible sluggishness. He thinks his technique needs tweaking and described himself as slow moving through the shot put circle. Some sprint work may fix those issues, he believes.

“You just have to build up,” Efekoro said. “You just have to keep growing. I’ll get back to the drawing board and I’ll figure out what’s wrong with my technique.”

His less-than-stellar throw still couldn’t prevent him from winning a second straight Mayor’s Cup crown, proving he is the best in the city against some of the top athletes the city has to offer.

“The Mayor’s Cup always gets me pumped up,” Efekoro said. “I just want to come in, and I want to beat everybody. I don’t care — public school, private school, Catholic school, I don’t care. I want to beat you.”

Unlike Efekoro, the girls on the 4×400 relay team at Young Women’s Leadership School aren’t used to being the favorites. Track and field is the only sport at the small Jamaica school.

The team of Chazmin Fullwood, Mya Dumpson, Al-Tanyah Ferguson and Tishauna Francis took an important step to garnering respect for the program by placing first at the Mayor’s Cup in a personal best time of 4:04.77. It’s the third fastest time run in New York state this season.

“It means a lot because we are a small school and not many people know us,” Fullwood said. “Now we are getting the recognition we need and it’s good.”

The girls talked about how teams at the city’s top programs, like Benjamin Cardozo and Medgar Evers, get immediate recognition because of the schools’ rich track legacies. They, on the other hand, are making program history every time they step on the track.

“This will help give hope to the other kids who are coming to our high school, too, to show them that they have a chance,” Fullwood said.

While Young Women’s Leadership took steps forward to making a name for itself, Monsignor McClancy junior Sidney Gibbons continues to be one of the city’s best hurdlers. He easily placed first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.54.

Still, Gibbons thinks he needed to stay better focused during races, especially when getting off to a fast start.

“I think I beat everybody before the first hurdle,” he said. “I clipped a couple more [hurdles] and they came closer and I just sped up a little more between [hurdles].”

Notes: Cardozo’s Denise Branch grabbed gold in the 800 meter with a time of 2:17.20 and teammate Elizabeth Perez-Bossut was first in the 3000 meter in 10:54.00.

Springfield Garden’s Katie Alvarez was the 2000-meter steeplechase champ in 7:38.18.

Loundy Desire won the 200 meter with time in 25.44.

Elaina Pascarella, of Mary Louis, placed first in the discus with a throw of 100-0 feet.

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