Alexandria Yarbrough is learning to curtail her excitement level. That’s a tough thing to do at a track meet, and an even tougher thing to do at a county championship track meet, but somehow the Freeport junior has found a way.
“Lately, I’ve just been learning to stay relaxed in my race, instead of getting all excited in the first 200 meters,” Yarbrough said. “When I stay relaxed, I feel like I can finish better and have a faster time.”
It wasn’t exactly a secret, but Yarbrough proved once again on Wednesday that she is one of the best athletes in the county. She won the 200 meters in 24.97 seconds and the 400 in 55.39 at the Nassau Class AAA county championships at Westbury High School.
Yarbrough showed her patience in the 400, taking control with 150 meters remaining.
“For the past couple 400’s, I’ve gotten really stiff, but I’ve learned to really relax and feel the race so I can be able to run faster,” she said.
But no patience was necessary in the 200 as Yarbrough came off the turn in full command.
“I just wanted to stay relaxed and, when I got on the straight, try and take it as fast as I could,” Yarbrough said.
Elsewhere, Uniondale’s Zaria Fuller won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.70 seconds. Fuller also placed second in the 200 in 25.94 seconds. Uniondale won the team championship with 101 points.
In the field, Westbury’s Dieusi Armand swept the jumps. She won the triple jump with a 38-foot, 9-¾ inch flight, the long jump (18 feet, 5 ½ inches) and the high jump, clearing 5-4.
Armand is one of the best triple-jumpers in the state, placing second at the indoor state championships in March. Because of the amount of jumping she was being asked to do Wednesday, Armand took it easy in her signature event.
“I only took two jumps before the finals and one jump in the finals,” Armand said. “We did that because I got tired between long and high jump because I was doing them at the same time. My legs felt that.”
Other that triple jump, Armand said her next-best event is the high jump, but scored a season-best distance in the long jump.
“Instead of using my right leg, I used my left leg for this meet,” Armand said. “It was more comfortable and felt effortless. My coach says, when it feels effortless, that’s how you know you did it well.”
She said she will most likely compete in all three jumps at next weekend’s Nassau state qualifier.