South Side's Daniel clears coveted hurdle


Victoria Daniel's performance last week might have rung down the curtain on her stint as a long sprinter.

The South Side junior - in historic fashion - showed she's far too valuable as a hurdler.

Edging Valley Stream North's Alyanna Nadal by two one hundredths of a second, Daniel set a school winter record in the girls’ 55-meter hurdles winning in 8.88 seconds Feb. 6 at the Nassau Class B track and field championships at St. Anthony's.

The photo finish gave Daniel, fresh off a pair of Conference 4 championships in the 55 hurdles and 55 dash, her first county title, as the Cyclones speedster – formerly a regular entrant in the 300 dash – led the South Side girls’ track and field team to fourth place finish at county.

“I joke that she went and got good at hurdles so she wouldn’t have to run the 300 anymore,” South Side coach Chris Webster said of Daniel, who also earned All-County honors in the 55 dash (third place) and 4x200-meter relay (runner-up).

“The whole team was holding its breath waiting to see if Victoria won,” Webster said. “Winning the county championship was a big moment in her life, and all our lives. She’s a role model who has set the standard.”

Defending county champion Claire Bohan came within 4.85 seconds of earning a repeat indoor title in the 3000 meters for South Side, finishing second in 10 minutes, 59.85 seconds. The senior middle-distance mainstay – who also took All-County honors finishing third in the 1500 meters – employed a stalking strategy, letting Great Neck South’s Isabella Spagnoli set the pace, but was unable to match the Rebel junior’s kick at the 3000 finish.

“Claire knew she had her work cut out for her and ran a smart race,” Webster said of Bohan, Conference 4’s indoor champ in the 3000 meters. “The race kind of went the way we’d figured and planned, but with 400 meters left the other girl really took off. Claire still ran one of her best races of the year.”

Bohan – who upon graduation is set to run track and cross country at George Washington University – looks ahead to spring when she’ll defend county titles in the 3000 and 1500 meters.

Daniel came close to a second surmounting of the podium at county as anchor on the Cyclones 4x200-meter relay. The Conference 4 champion Cyclones crew was blocked, however, by an official – literally.

Despite second leg Ashely Mata colliding mid-race with a wandering official, third leg Hannah Porter and Daniel – in particular – recovered enough lost ground to finish four seconds back of winner Valley Stream North, placing second in 1:54.74. Kasey McCrae led off the race for South Side.

“A bit frustrating,” Webster said. “And there’s nothing we can do about it. The girls ran a great race. Victoria made up lots of time; she really put her heart into it.”

“Honestly,” Webster added, “our four by two was a nice surprise this winter. I knew we’d be decent but not this good. When they won the conference championship, I started realizing we could do some damage.”