Surprised Sheepshead claims PSAL boys indoor crown

There were looks of dejection on Sheepshead Bay’s faces coming down to the awards ceremony. Coach John Padula’s calculation had his team losing to Midwood by two points in a meet in which the Sharks did not win a single event.

“I thought, we suck,” Richmond Ahadzi said. “We can’t do nothing right. We were just blaming each other, we were pointing fingers.”

A few minutes later they weren’t pointing fingers, but exchanging hugs, congratulations and handing out t-shirts and hats. Sheepshead Bay edged Midwood, 49-45, to win its first PSAL indoor boy track and field championship in recent memory at the Armory last Saturday. Curtis was third with 39 points.

“It was meant to be,” senior John Thomas said. “Last year we won everything and we still lost.”

The Sharks could easily have come in second had Midwood fared batter in the 4 x 800 relay, the final race of the day. The Hornets, though, placed fourth, earning one point. A third-place finish would have likely given them the title.

“We thought we had a better 4 x 400, but it didn’t work out,” Midwood coach Marc Cohen said. “We expected at least a top three finish.”

Things certainly didn’t go the way Sheepshead had planned either. Thomas, the state leader in the 300 meters coming in, complained of a hip injury and finished third in a time of 34.19. Columbus’ Davion Wint won in a time of 33.94, the fast time in the state this season. He held Thomas off around the final turn.

“Coming off the turn I didn’t want to run it that hard at first,” Wint said. “The last 100, 150 meters that’s the competition.”

Thomas was also second in the 55 dash to Midwood’s Donald Willimas (6.40) in a time of 6.50. Curtis’ Kareem Crawford beat out three Sheepshead Bay runners to win the 55 meter hurdles, one of the school’s signature events, in a time of 7.45. Ahadzi was second in 7.67. The Hornets also edged the Sharks at the finish line in the 4 x 200 meter relay in a time of thanks to anchor leg Andy Nicholas by two one hundredths of a second in 1:29.88.

“Everything went wrong,” Padula said. “I guess you’re a great team when everything goes wrong and you still win.”

Added Ahadzi: “I really want to know what we did, how we got our points. Make sure we really won.”

There was no question about how Curtis star Jason Stapleton won – skill and smarts. The senior said he comes up with “counter punches” before every race to anything his opponents can throw at him, slowing working his way to the front. Stapleton had to finish strong to win the 3,200 in a time of 4.94.63 and was happy to see a slow paced start in the 1600, a race he won in 4:32.85.

“I expected to finish pulling away from somebody, not having to chase somebody down,” she said of the 3,200.

Midwood senior Donald Williams won the 55 dash with a time of 6.40. Teammate Olukayode place first in the triple jump (47 feet 3 inches). Grady’s Tevonne Hammans took first in the 600 from the third heat in 1:20.66 and teammate Shevau Marsh won the 1,000 (2:32.47). O’Neil Sandiford of Robeson took the high jump (6-04) and was second in the long jump (21-11) behind Medgar Evers Jason Genius’ leap of 22-01. LaGuardia’s Radoslav Boyukliev won the shot put (54-09.50) and MSIT’s Joseph Carlin placed first in the pole vault with a mark of 12-08.

“I think my mentality changed,” Williams said. “I got very complacent. I’ve gotten more aggressive.”