Elijah Yeroushalmi wasn’t double-winner on Friday afternoon, but it sure felt like it. In a few quick laps around the track, the Roslyn senior beat the field and the rain.
Yeroushalmi made besting the field look easy. He sprung out of the start and cruised to a 10 minute, 27.3 second victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Nassau Class AA steeplechase and field events championships at Valley Stream North.
Yeroushalmi had barely caught his breath when a thunderstorm warning was issued and athletes were ushered to the busses. Within an hour, the meet was postponed — with the boys steeplechase as the lone completed event. The Class AA field events and girls steeplechase will resume 4 p.m. Monday at Valley Stream North.
The Nassau Class A steeplechase and field events championships, held at Cold Spring Harbor High School, were also postponed and will resume 3 p.m. Saturday at Cold Spring Harbor, Nassau track and field officials said.
“I was happy that the steeplechase was the first [event] and we got it out of the way,” Yeroushalmi said. “It set the tone for the rest of the meet. We just have to finish business.”
But, like a lot of business on a Friday afternoon in June, it will have to wait until Monday.
The impending storm had nothing to do with Yeroushalmi’s fast start. There was no toying with the field on this day. No seeing if someone else wanted to pace the first lap or looking for someone to kick past on the final lap either. This was straight speed, with the race practically over by the second turn.
“The whole day, I was just like, ‘I’m going to go out, be confident, and give it all I had,’ ” Yeroushalmi said. “That’s just what I did.”
Once a field is dispatched, the water jumps are the only thing left to worry about — and for Yeroushalmi, no worrying was necessary.
“I just attacked them,” he said. “I didn’t think of them. I just jumped on the barrier and bounded off.”
With no one to chase and no footsteps behind, it’s a mental race. Yeroushalmi was all alone with 2,800 meters to go and he had to make sure that he didn’t let up or lag. The widespread nature of the race was somewhat expected, so Yeroushalmi had an entire day to prepare for a virtually solo run.
“I had a feeling I was going to be by myself,” Yeroushalmi said. “Mentally, every single lap I just said ‘just keep on going. Act like there’s someone in front of [you].’ “
It was an impressive acting job, too. Yeroushalmi held a 40-meter lead for most of the race. Teammates Brandon Schoen (10:48.6) and GianLuca Berganza (10:57.9) were second and third, respectively. Seeing his teammates cross the line after him brought almost as much joy to Yeroushalmi as winning did.
“My best friend came in right behind me, and I was just so proud of him,” he said.
There’s still a chance for Yeroushalmi to become a traditional double or triple county champion. He’ll run the 1,600 and 3,200 meters when Class AA reconvenes for the running portion of the Nassau championships Wednesday at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.
“I’m hoping to win the [1,600] and maybe go sub-4:30,” Yeroushalmi said. “In the [3,200], I’ll just come back, see what I have left, and give it all I have.”
With Mike Ruiz