Track & Field: Riverhead relay team wins league title

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | The Riverhead 4 x 800 relay team won first place at the League III Championship Saturday afternoon. The team included (from left) senior Gabi Escallier, sophomore Rachel Conti, freshman Maria Dillingham and eighth-grader Meghan Van Bommel.

Rachel Conti had already completed a 1,000-meter race and 1,500 by the time she grabbed the baton for the final leg of the 4 x 800 relay.

“It hurt, but I think it was worth it,” the Riverhead sophomore said.

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Maria Dillingham placed sixth in the 600 Saturday.

Conti never relinquished the lead her three teammates provided to cement the victory for Riverhead Saturday afternoon in the final event of the League III Championship at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.

It was the only victory for the Blue Waves as the team finished seventh with 38 points. But a relay victory to end the meet provided a sweet ending, especially for the four runners.

“I’m really proud of them,” Conti said. “We have younger girls coming up and it’s exciting.”

Senior Gabi Escallier ran the opening leg and gave her team about 1 1/2 second lead. Escallier was the only runner on the relay who had fresh legs. A lingering back injury limited Escallier the last few weeks, so she opted to only run the relay.

Her quick start gave the relay team a strong position to work from ahead. Freshman Maria Dillingham ran the second leg. After briefly losing the lead, she stormed back over her final 200 meters to maintain a comfortable lead for eighth-grader Meghan Van Bommel. She kept pace before handing off to Conti to close it out in 10 minutes 44.3 seconds. Bellport finished second in 10:45.56.

Conti began her day by placing third in the 1,000 in 3:17.43. She didn’t have much time to rest before running the 1,500, where she finished eighth in 5:51.68.

Dillingham had a busy day as well. She ran the 3,000, an event she’s only competed in a handful of times in her career. She finished fourth in 12:20.4. She also finished sixth in the 600 in 1:50.54.

Van Bommel ran her best time in the 1,500, finishing fourth in 5:36.17.

In the shot put sophomore Madison Blom placed third with a top throw of 31 feet 5 1/2 inches.

The Blue Waves had two scorers in the race walk. Sophomore Nina Schlosberg ran 9:21.95 for fourth and senior Rachel Harrison-Smith was fifth in 9:44.38.

North Babylon won the league title with 96 points. Half Hollow Hills West was second with 83.

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