Tyquan Dukes was running for more than just himself after a difficult last few months. The Erasmus Hall junior had his great grandmother die a few months ago and grandmother two weeks ago.
With a heavy heart and the desire to defend his title, Dukes won the 100 meter dash at the Mayor’s Cup with a time of 10.97 at Icahn Stadium last Saturday afternoon. It was his first race of the outdoor season.
“I was going to do the same thing that I did last year,” he said. “I am going to stay focused and do it for my grandmas who past recently. There was a lot on my mind. I just have to come here and take it and do it for them.
Dukes, who also plays football for the Dutchmen, is trying to rebound from a disappointing indoor season. He made a final push in the outside line to finally break free of a talented field. Catch people at the end is something he does well and the hope is that this win will propel him forward for the rest of the season.
“They have been on my mind,” Dukes said. “I’ve been through a lot of emotional things. I tried to hold myself off and do what I had to do.”
He wasn’t the only won breaking through at the meet. Far Rockaway’s Wilson Martinez did so in a big way. The senior set the meet and Icahn Stadium record with a leap of 23 feet 2 inches in the long jump on his final attempt of the final, something Martinez said he saw coming.
“My first jump I fouled on, but when I got to my second jump, 22-10 I felt good,” he said. “I felt pumped. That last jump I hit 23.2. I’ve been waiting all year for this.”
Martinez had hit a wall during the year, not being able to break 22-07. Frustration set in for awhile. Instead of letting it get to him he trained and prepared harder. Martinez felt he knew he could do it, but it just wasn’t coming out
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s hard to do it. It’s all hard work and dedication.”
Columbus star Strymar Livingston, who said he was under the weather, can make things look easy some times. The junior eased to a win the 800 meters with a time of 1:53.81 and later in the meet won the 400 in 48.95. It’s a double he said you will see him do often this spring. He hopes to run 1:50 in the 800 and 46 in the 400 by season’s end.
“I was just looking to run fast today, run a good time,” Livingston said.
While Livingston was happy with his time, Packer Collegiate’s Eddie Owens felt he could have run faster than the 4:26.33 that helped him beat Molloy’s Patrick Cooney in the 1600. Owens said he wasn’t aware of his slower pace until the time flashed up at the 800 meter mark.
“I was going to try to run fast, but when the first split you see is the 800 meter split, which turned out to be really slow, it was like 2:15,” Owens said. “I didn’t know how fast I was running. I can’t feel a mile.”
Fordham Prep’s Sean McEvoy won the discus (12-00) and teammate Michael Lester the javelin in 179-09 to help the Rams take home the team title. Clinton’s Rudje Beckford placed first in the 110 hurdles in 15:04, teammate Jeremiah Obeng was the 400 hurdles champ with a time of 55.67 and Pierre Francois won the triple jump with a leap of 45-07.25. Xaverian’s Laray Smith narrowly won the 200 with time of 22.03,
Farrell’s James Buckley placed first in the 3000 steeplechase (10:01.44). Fellow Lion Daniel Galford was the 3200 champ in 9:39.45 and Robert Pinto won the high jump (6-02). Mount St. Michael’s Christopher Williams was the shot put champ with a toss of 49-08.50. Truman’s Jamiel Cunningham was first in the discus (161-04).