With another national championship, her fastest time ever and a bit of redemption, Keelin Hollowood couldn’t have ended her high school career in a better way.
The Saratoga Springs senior defended her 2,000-meter steeplechase title with a come-from-behind performance, clocking a 6:43.96 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals Saturday at North Carolina A&T University.
Saratoga athletes have now claimed seven national steeplechase crowns, with Hollowood following Lindsey Ferguson as a two-time winner.
“I did exactly what I wanted to do,” said the Providence-bound Hollowood. “My last race was my best race. That was my best time by six or seven seconds.”
Hollowood ran a 6:49.51 as the Division 1 runner-up to Valerie Palermo of Webster at last week’s state meet. Palermo placed second to the Saratoga ace in Saturday’s Championship Division event with a 6:47.62.
“I didn’t have a good start last week, so I wanted to take it out a little harder,” said the 18-year-old Hollowood. “It was a good start, and I tried to maintain my pace. I fell back a bit after the first lap or two, but I was still in a good spot, and with 600 meters to go, I made my move. I tried my best and kept going.”
Hollowood’s 6:43.96 represented the third-fastest time in the nation this season.
“At the end, she pulled away,” said Saratoga coach Linda Kranick. “To go out as a national champion, it was a great way to end her high school career.”
Hollowood’s father, Brien, a longtime track official, handed out the awards after the race.
“That was pretty cool, having her father there to do that. The Providence coach was there, too,” said Kranick. “I’m sure she made quite an impression.”
Hollowood won the race in 6:50.46 last year after placing 10th as a sophomore. Saratoga’s Jaime Sweeney, Hannah Davidson and Greg Kelsey also won national steeplechase titles.
Ferguson holds the Section II 2,000 steeplechase record (6:36.05). Hollowood just missed in a bid to surpass Davidson (6:43.73) for No. 2 on the Section II record list.
New York runners dominated Saturday’s competition, with the top 11 coming from the state. Courtney Tedeschi of Berne-Knox-Westero placed 14th (7:17.77), and Emily Burns of Guilderland placed 21st (7:25.37).
Ross Wightman of Chatham took 12th (6:11.01) in the boys’ 2,000 steeplechase, Jordan Johnson of Colonie was 18th (6:16.01) and Brent Freestone of Saratoga was 32nd (6:30.86).
winkler hammer champ
Averill Park senior Rudy Winkler won its second NBON hammer throw title in three years with a meet-record 251-8.
Winkler popped his 251-8 on his final attempt, and each of his four throws beforehand (he fouled once) were far superior to the 219-6 turned in by runner-up Charles Ionata of Barrington, R.I. Winkler, who came in with a national-leading 254-10, also won the New Balance indoor title in March.
The Cornell-bound Winkler, who has competed unattached for two years, broke the meet record of 249-0 set by Walter Henning of St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) in 2007.
State meet D2 and Federation champ Winston Lee of Hudson placed fifth (10.77) in the Championship Division 100 dash. The Section II record holder (10.56) qualified eighth in 10.66.
Chanel Thomas of Gloversville finished 17th (3,753) in the CD heptathlon.
In the Emerging Elite two-mile races, Jeremy Spiezio of Greenwich placed eighth (9:23.36), and Sarah Morin of Saratoga finished 18th (11:32.20).
In the Freshman Division one-mile races, Aidan Tooker of Saratoga was sixth (4:31.36), and Tori Spiezio of Greenwich was 30th (5:43.18).