Freeport’s coed practices were conceived by second-year girls’ track and field coach Jahn Scott as a means of raising the bar for her runners – who train alongside and go head-to-head with their male counterparts.
Turns out it’s the girls who are setting the standard, as nine Lady Red Devils racked up a total of 12 All-Division nods – not including relays – at the Section VIII Division 1A Championship on May 16 at Freeport High School, taking a bigger haul than Freeport’s boys’ team (six honorees, 10 honors) at the meet.
“Having the boys as our pacers is paying off,” said Scott, whose team finished third out of seven schools at the Divisional, and got another top finish from its top-ranked and undefeated 4x400-meter relay (No. 1 in the state). “These girls see that they haven’t been running in vain. But I think there are bigger things ahead of them. They’re still young, and it’s exciting to see them keep excelling.”
Freeport got wins from three juniors at the Divisional: Alexandria Yarbrough, the only Lady Red Devil to qualify early individually for the upcoming State Championships June 7-8 at Middletown – with a Nassau-best 25.0 seconds in the 200-meter dash on April 13, and a Long Island-best 56.32 in the 400-meters May 4 – ran a first-place 56.79 in the 400-meters, while Efe Omokeni won the long jump at 16-10.50, and Quinci Easter took the triple jump with a season-best 36-10.00.
“Alexandria’s powerful, driven, and passionate,” Scott said. “She takes no prisoners. Efe’s kind of a sleeper; you don’t see her coming and then she has these moments of extreme brilliance. Quinci’s a spirited young lady. We call her ‘The Rabbit’ because she just jumps, as you can see.”
Yarbrough and Omokeni run anchor and leadoff, respectively, on Freeport’s 4x400-meters unit, with Omokeni’s sophomore sister, Enyero, and junior Lizbeth Marine handling the middle legs. The crew recorded a state-best 3:55.18 on May 5, earning an invite to Middletown. Sophomore alternate Cantee Oglesby-Cowan replaced Efe Omokeni in the 4x400-meters at the Divisional, where Freeport’s winning relay time was 3:57.66.
“The average runner doesn’t like running the 400 relay,” Scott said. “But these girls love it. It takes an athlete of a certain substance to run that event. They train to make sure they put up the best time on the field.”
With Yarbrough sitting out the 200-meters at the Divisional, Efe Omokeni placed second in the event, while Enyero Omokeni finished third in the 400-meters – one place ahead of Marine – and junior Kyla Jackson was third in the 100-meter hurdles. Sophomores Savannah James, Ashley Hernandez, and Giovanna Robinson teamed with Efe Omokeni to take second in the 4X100-meters.
Next up for Freeport is the Nassau County Class AAA Championship May 22 at Westbury High School, followed by the State Qualifier May 31 and June 1 at North Shore High School.
“The girls are strong but they’re not finished yet,” Scott said. “I think they’ll do some even greater things in these next meets.”