Take four fast runners, put them on a fast track and — voila! — you get a fast time. In this case, a school-record time.
The Riverhead High School record for the 4×1,600-meter relay, an unusual event, was shattered at the 48th St. Anthony’s Invitational in South Huntington Friday.
Gabe Burns, Sean Allen, Ryan Keane and Ryan Carrick— none of whom had ever run the 4×1,600 before, not even in practice — ran it 30 seconds faster than the previous mark, set in 2011. Their time of 19:08.20 brought them sixth place. Eastport/South Manor was first in 18:41.80.
The four Riverheaders are all seniors except for Burns, a sophomore. The school record was on their minds from the start.
“We just went for it and really got it,” said Carrick, who ran the anchor leg in 4:36. “We were thinking about the record the whole time. That was the main reason we ran it, just because we thought it was a very obtainable [record]. We really crushed it, so it was really exciting.”
Burns said: “We were taking photos, we were hanging out, hugging. It was an awesome moment.”
It was believed that a key to Riverhead’s record pursuit was Burns’ ability to crack 5:00 in the opening leg. He ran it in 4:56.
“We were really fortunate to have a sophomore step up to the plate for us,” said Carrick.
Allen, running 1,600 meters for the first time this season, handled his leg in 4:43, the fastest he had ever run that distance before. Then Keane followed up with 4:50 before handing off to Carrick.
By then, the Blue Waves said, they sensed the record was in the bag.
Keane said: “It’s pretty funny because we started off the race very intense and very solemn because we were all focused and we were all kind of thinking [about] what we had to do individually, but by the time we handed off to Ryan — he was the last leg — we looked at the clock and we all just sort of took a big exhale because we got it … We just knew that Ryan was going to bring it home.”
Keane himself was an interesting story. For the last week of the spring break he was ill with a high fever. He said he woke up Monday feeling better, having burned off the fever. “I felt weak, but I knew what I had to do,” he said. “I kept running.”
The beautiful new Mondotrack at St. Anthony’s High School’s Cy Donnelly Field has bounce and runners like it because it’s a fast surface. Carrick declared it his favorite track to run on. “The track feels so fast,” he said. “When you run on it, you really feel like you can accelerate a lot faster. I love it.”
The 4×1,600 is rarely contested at meets. That doesn’t mean it didn’t win over some runners like Burns. “That was definitely different, but it was something I really enjoyed,” he said.
On Saturday, the second day of the meet, Riverhead junior Tyreek Parker finished fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.95 seconds.
“I want to say it wasn’t bad,” said Parker, who is chasing the school record of 14.8. “That is what my goal is by the time I graduate,” he said of the school mark. “If I work hard, I can definitely get it.”
Parker also joined Dennis Lowe, Jah ’Keem Young and Quintel Mason in the 4×100 relay, taking sixth in 45.04.
In other events:
Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Blake Wehr cleared 6 feet, 4 inches to finish fourth in the high jump. Riverhead senior William Borges pole vaulted 12-0 to take seventh.
The St. Anthony’s Invitational is one of the prestigious meets on Long Island’s calendar, drawing athletes from throughout the metropolitan area.
“This meet definitely means a lot to me,” Allen said. “I’ll always remember it. It’s just an experience … This meet has so much excitement around it. There’s definitely an aura around this meet.”
Photo caption: Gabe Burns, Sean Allen, Ryan Keane and Ryan Carrick, from left, broke the Riverhead High School record for the 4×1,600-meter relay by 30 seconds in the St. Anthony’s Invitational. (Credit: Courtesy Justin Cobis)