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THE CITY’S top track and field athletes converged at the PSAL City Championships at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory. On February 22, senior Minhaj Rahman and juniors Abdoulaye Diallo, Hannah Yoo, and Kellie Zestanakis qualified for the New York State Federation Indoor Track Meet.
Hannah punched her ticket to state championships by seizing first in the 1500-meter racewalk. She passed Brooklyn Technical High School’s Jane Wu in the final lap, finishing with a time of 7:49.
“It feels pretty great but also surreal,” said Hannah. “I started out as a pretty slow walker so I’ve just been working up the ladder slowly.”
Girls track coach Timothy Connor praised her progress, saying, “[Hannah] dropped almost 15 seconds from the beginning of the season, and even went through some injuries.”
Abdoulaye placed fifth with a time of 1:24 in the 600 meter run, earning for himself a spot on the PSAL Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team. Boys and Girls High School’s Richard Rose placed first, but had qualified for states in another event, bumping Abdoulaye to fourth.
“It feels great to have reached the state level for competitions, considering I’ve always wanted to run nationally,” he said.
Boys track coach Orlando Martinez added, “We always knew Abdoulaye had the ability [to compete at such a high level]. He definitely deserves to be at states.”
Kellie dominated the pole vault with a height of 8 feet, 4.00 inches, easily securing the gold medal. She achieved a back-to-back win in both the borough and city championships.
“It feels amazing to actually be recognized and go from freshman year, when I was not even an asset to the team, to now win city champs,” she said.
Minhaj placed second in the weight throw with a distance of 52 feet, 4.00 inches, a personal best by almost two feet. He will now compete at both the state and national championships.
“What [Minhaj] accomplished was extraordinary because this was the first year in which he started the weight throw,” said coach Martinez. “We expect him to throw a personal best [at states].”
Although wary of the stiff competition the meet presents, the coaches maintain faith in their athletes.
Coach Connor stated simply, “They’ve earned the right to be there.”