So much of this all was new to Kristina Deraveniere. A big track and field meet, the biggest of her young life. A jam-packed arena. Medals and prestige — not to mention memories to last a lifetime — were at stake.
That can be intimidating stuff. Just about anyone, really, would have to feel at least some butterflies.
“I was absolutely terrified,” said Deraveniere.
It turned out that much of Deraveniere’s nervousness dissipated by the time she started running and she put her remaining nervous energy to good use. The Riverhead High School senior wrapped up her indoor season Saturday by taking two medals away from her first state meet.
Deraveniere ran 600 meters almost faster than she ever had before, helping Section XI finish third among 11 teams in the intersectional distance medley relay at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island.
“I didn’t know this was going to happen,” Deraveniere said while her heavy public school and federation medals clanged against each other as she wore them around her neck. “It’s a great experience. It was amazing.”
Deraveniere was joined on the team by three juniors. Westhampton Beach’s Jackie Amato handled the opening 1,000 meters and Mount Sinai’s Kyra Franks ran the next 300 before handing off to Deraveniere for her 600. Miller Place’s Danielle Rose completed the final 1,500 for a total time of 10 minutes, 23.93 seconds.
Section III was first in 10:17.68, with Section I second in 10:21.94.
Riverhead coach Maria Dounelis clocked Deraveniere as having run her leg in 1:40.81, just one second off her personal-best 600 time.
“I think the little bit of nerves she had kind of kicked in for her in a positive way,” Dounelis said. “Amazing. I mean, she ran great. She was very relaxed. I mean, she was running like she’s been running these last few races, confidently, which is good to see. It’s a nice way to finish. And the fact that she’s going back to Riverhead with a medal, it’s icing on the cake.”
The intersectional distance medley relay is an unusual event. Typically, it’s four athletes from four schools who don’t know each other being thrown together for the state meet. Deraveniere said she met her relay teammates for the first time Saturday when they practiced baton exchanges.
This has been a dream season for Deraveniere, who earlier this season reached her goal of setting a Riverhead record in the 600 with the 1:39.98 she ran in the state qualifying meet.
“She is a hard worker,” Dounelis said. “She always puts it out there.”
Deraveniere said when she saw her relay team finish third, “I was just so happy. I just couldn’t believe it.”