Ahadzi, Sandiford, Duggan claim state boys indoor titles

Richmond Ahadzi stood with the rest of his competition staring anxiously at the results board. The Sheepshead Bay junior and Amityville’s Sancho Barnett appeared to have crossed the line together.

“I was just nervous,” Ahadzi said of the feeling during the wait. “No other words.”

Finally his name flashed across the board with a No. 1 in front of it. Ahadzi won the 55 meter hurdles in a time of 7.471 and Barnett was second at the New York State indoor boys track and field championships at Cornell University Saturday, March 6. As soon he saw the result, Ahadzi couldn’t stop clapping and smiling.

“I was about to set this whole place on fire,” he said. “I was ready to run around and do a victory lap and all that.”

It was a bit of redemption for Ahadzi. He placed second at the PSAL city championship last week. Curtis’ Kareem Crawford, who beat him then, placed fifth in 7.63 on Saturday. Ahadzi wasn’t even sure he would get a chance to run after what appeared like a false start, after the gun misfired the first time the race tired to begin.

“I was trying to get focused, pumping myself up, talking to myself, just getting ready mentally,” he said. “I went there and I performed.”

Monsignor Farrell pole vaulter Cory Duggan, the clear favorite in the event, didn’t get off to a good start. He said he didn’t feel right in warmups and wasn’t planting or running well. The poor start eventually turned into his best finish as he said things began falling into place. The senior, who comes from a family of pole vaulters, cleared 16 feet for the first time in his career, easily winning his first state title.

“I always knew I was a 16-foot jumper,” Duggan said. “When I lost meets with a 15-09, I’d be [upset].”

He cleared the height on his third attempt even after hitting the bar with his chest. Duggan said he always seems to get a close call at the state championship meet, but this time the bar stayed up.

“Two of my brothers are in the 16-foot club,” he said. “It really means a lot to me and my family.”

While Duggan hit his mark, Paul Robeson’s O’Neil Sandiford couldn’t clear his target. His goal for the season was to break the PSAL record of 7 feet in the high jump. But even before his state-clinching jump of 6-08 his mark, the lifeblood of a high jumper had been moved. He franticly tried to locate it.

“I had to remake it on my last attempt,” Sandiford said. …“I just jumped and I got over it. It was like a desperation jump.”

He missed on both attempts at 7-00.25. He feels he is back to where he was midseason after a knee injury set him back. His ankle, which he hurt at the Eastern States Championships, is bothering him now, but he still feels like he could break the record at nationals.

“That one little move from here to there is going to mess you up,” he said of his mark.

Midwood’s Donald Williams was third in the 55 dash with a time of 6.47. The senior was also a member of the second-place 4 x 200 relay team. He along with Alex Sterlng, Gavin Henry and Andy Nicholas finished in 1:33.01. Boys and Girls team of Rohan Stewart, Robert Rhodes, Daniel Simon and Javaun Grant placed fourth in the 4 x 400 relay in a time of 3:28.58.Olukayode Owolabi placed third in the triple jump with a leap of 45-10.75 for the Hornets.

Rolyce Boston was fourth in the long jump with a leap of 22-07.75 for Sheepshead Bay. Davion Wint of Columbus, who had the top seeded time coming in, placed third in the 300 with a time of 34.72. Sheepshead Bay’s John Thomas was disqualified in the preliminaries for a false start. Teammate Strymar Livingston took fourth in the 600 with a mark of 1:22.18.