Gallo takes mile title at Eastern States

O’Rourke second, White third in meet at Armory in NYC

Lindsey Gallo

"It’s good to know that I’m back," Howell’s Lindsey Gallo declared after winning the one-mile run at the Eastern States Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 29 at the Armory in New York City. "This is a really good win for me. I was fifth here last year and I ran faster this year on just a month of training."

For those who may have made the mistake of counting Gallo out after her losses at the state meets last month, think again.

Displaying all of the command and late race kick that has been her trademark, Gallo ran away from the best high school milers on the East Coast, turning in the fastest mile in the state this winter, 5:08.11, in capturing the biggest indoor title of her stellar career.

The race couldn’t have gone any better for the Rebel, who is getting sharper and sharper with each race.

"I planned to stay behind in the beginning and make my run in the last quarter," noted Gallo. "I ran a 2:32 for the first 800 behind Kim Pereira (Parsippany).

"The third quarter was the real key for me," she added. "It’s the hardest part of the race and I felt strong."

The third quarter is where Gallo’s lack of conditioning had shown at both the State Group IV and Meet of Champions. She didn’t have enough strength to stay with the front-runners at that time and ended up settling for third place in both races.

But with another week of training under her belt, a stronger, more race-tested Gallo was able to cover everyone’s moves and when it came time to strike, just as in the old days, no one was able to match her speed.

"I kicked with 600 meters to go which was too soon," recalled Gallo. "I thought there were two laps to go. But I was able to hold on.

"It was such a good feeling on the last lap knowing I was going to win," she added. "This makes up for some of the bad races early in the season. That wasn’t me."

Pereira (MOC) and Hillsborough’s Kristen Meyer (Group IV) who had beaten Gallo in those state meets succumbed to her late-race kick.

The Eastern States title was a vindication for Gallo, who missed the first half of the season recovering from shin splints. Some doubted she could come back.

"People were telling me that I should take the indoor season off and build for outdoor," she noted. "I felt that I could get back. I felt I had time to get in shape. I stayed focused on my goal which was to be ready for the nationals."

Gallo’s win was especially pleasing because she has been running for her grandmother Teresa Gallo, who has been ill in the hospital, this season. Now, she has a gold medal to show her.

Gallo will be back at the Armory on Saturday to run in the National Scholastic Championships. She ran fifth last year in a Shore Conference indoor record 4:59.60. She’ll be joined at the Nationals by two other Freehold District athletes who were outstanding at the Easterns as well.

Freehold Borough’s Dave O’Rourke was second again to Bayonne’s Glenn DiGiorgio in the shot put. It was the same order of finish as at the New Jersey Indoor Meet of Champions. DiGiorgio’s 59-5 1/2 topped O’Rourke’s 57-11.

This weekend’s Nationals will be O’Rourke’s last chance to top his Bayonne rival before the outdoor season. The Colonial was fifth at the Nationals last year.

Manalapan high jumper Jennifer White is becoming quite comfortable clearing 5-6 and jumping with the best.

At the MOC on Feb. 23, the Manalapan senior cleared her personal best and a school record 5-6 for the first time. She would go on to place second.

At the Eastern States, White again propelled herself over the bar at 5-6 and the effort was good enough to get her a third-place bronze medal. White was able to break through a log jam at 5-6 (seven other jumpers cleared that height) because she had made every height on her first jump up to 5-8.

"I didn’t want any early misses," she explained. "Because of the competition, I knew it was important to do my jumps on the first try."

After getting over 5-6 on her first attempt, White had her first-ever tries at 5-8.

"I’ve never even tried 5-8 in practice," she said. "It made me a little nervous in my jumps and I didn’t run as fast on my approach as I should have."

White will be very busy this weekend at the Nationals. On Friday she’ll compete in the high jump and on Saturday, will compete in her first pentathlon.

White has been one of the most versatile track athletes in the Freehold District and she’ll have the opportunity to show her all-around talents in the pentathlon. The five-even pentathlon consists of the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800 meters.

Last summer, White did her first multi-event competition, the heptathlon which is the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, javelin, long jump, 400 meters and 800 meters.

This week White will be picking up the shot and working on what is her weakest event in the pentathlon. With the hurdles and high jump leading the competition off, she knows she’ll be getting off to a good start.

"It’s important to focus on one event at a time," said White of her experience at the heptathlon.

White would like to score somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 points in her first pentathlon. She scored 3,569 in the seven-event heptathlon last summer.

— Tim Morris