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Cardozo hitting stride with record time

Benjamin Cardozo track athletes celebrate their victory in the sprint medley relay. Photo courtesy Cardozo
TimesLedger Newspapers

It wasn’t a day that Sabrina Southerland expected anything special to happen.

She and Deejah Stevens had been sick recently and Cardozo trailed by 10 meters when Southerland took the baton for the 800-meter anchor leg of the sprint medley relay. Not wanting to lose, she got out quick.

“It forced her to really take off, to really get out,” Judges Coach Gail Emmanuel said.

The star senior ran the leg in a blistering time of 2:06, three seconds faster than her best individual time at that distance. It allowed her, Stevens, Ayele Townsend and Akayla Anderson to place first with a mark of 3:45.78, at the New Balance Games at the Armory Jan. 27. It was the third fastest high school time ever and second in state history.

“I didn’t even know I ran that when I was finished, “ Southerland said.

There is still time for improvement before nationals in March. Emmanuel believes Townsend can push her 400 times below the 26 second mark. It would allow the team to push for the not-so-far-off state mark of 3:54.31 set by Olympian Natasha Hastings and A.P. Randolph in 2002.

“I’m sure by nationals these times are going to go down,” Emmanuel said.

The stakes only get higher for her and Cardozo in the weeks to come. Southerland, one of the top distance runners in the country, will compete in the prestigious Millrose Games mile at the Armory Feb. 16. She recently won the 1000 with a time of 2:47.44, the six fastest ever in U.S. history.

She will also try to help the school’s 4x400 squad, which includes Steven and Anderson regain its Millrose title after losing to Medgar Evers last year. The borough championships are the next day and the indoor city finals a week later.

She is still in the early stages of deciding her future after high school. Southerland, who has interest from Villanova and Kentucky, plans on taking a visit to South Carolina soon.

“I really don’t have time to do visits,” Southerland said. “We run every day and we have a meet every weekend.”

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