On a day when multiple meet records fell, it was a run at a national record that gripped the crowd Saturday at the St. Anthony's Invitational.
North Shore's Brianna Nerud narrowly missed setting the national high school record in the 2,000 steeplechase, clocking 6:30.73 en route to an easy win.
The senior had her eye on the mark of 6:29.20 set by Madeline Meyers of Seattle in last year's IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France -- a race that Nerud also ran.
"It was my main goal coming in," said Nerud, who is one of only two American high school girls to ever break 6:30. "I needed to hit 77 seconds each lap and have a 75-second last lap to have a shot."
For the first 1,700 meters, it looked as if Nerud was well on her way to setting the record as she effortlessly skipped over the hurdles and opened a full-straightaway lead on the field. But with 300 to go, Nerud stutter-stepped at the second hurdle of the last lap, costing her valuable time.
"I just stumbled a bit," the Syracuse-bound senior said. "I lost a second there."
Nerud's time was still a meet record, shattering the mark of 6:47.50 that she set last year. She also anchored both the Vikings 4 x 1,600 to a meet-record 20:17.09 Friday and the 4 x 800 to a meet-record and state-best 9:03.51 Saturday.
Earlier in the meet, Copiague senior Janel Francis set a meet record in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 4 inches. She beat the meet record of 19-13/4 that she set last year.
"I hadn't been jumping well all year before this," said Francis, who also won the 100 meters (12.40). "So I really wanted to jump well here."
Uniondale took home the girls team championship with 55 points behind a 1-2 finish by Brittney Webley (63.56) and Adrianna Powell (65.30) in the 400 hurdles Friday. Garden City finished second (49 points), and Copiague was third with 39 points.
St. Anthony's ran away with its third straight boys team championship with 87.5 points. Chaminade was second with 39 points, and Huntington (36) took third.
Mike Brunoforte led the Friars with a meet- and school-record 15-10 in the pole vault, besting the old record of 15-9 set by Sachem's Kevin Carberry in 1993.
"I still feel like I have room to get better," Brunoforte said. "I'm still only on shorter poles, and I still have room to move up."
James Adegbite took second in the 400 (49.69 seconds), Cameron Black finished second in the 110 hurdles (14.53), and Tom Diliberto was second in the 3,000 steeplechase (9:49.02) for St. Anthony's. The 4 x 400 team of Stanton Ridley, Dan Graw, Kevin Kreider and Adegbite took third in 3:23.08.
The Friars came into the second day of the meet with a sizable lead, thanks to a strong showing Friday. The team of Diliberto, Frank Segreto, Patrick Ginty and Kreider won the 4 x 1,600 in a meet-record 17:39.79 and Chris Pensa (52-6) and Bryan Rhodes (49-83/4) took first and third in the shot put.
"We really came through in just about every area," Friars coach Tim Dearie said. "Our guys showed just how deep a team they are."