NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Symone Darius, Ashley Wiggins and their teammates on the New Rochelle girls track 4 x 200 relay team have been among the nation’s swiftest teams during the entire indoor season. This weekend, they will look to prove they are the fastest in the nation.
Darius, a sophomore, will also run in the 200 meters and Wiggins, a senior, will run in the 55 hurdles at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York. They will run on the relay with Alicia Donaldson and Victoria Jones-Alleyne.
New Rochelle comes into the meet second in the country in the 4 x 200 relay, according to DyeStat.com . New Rochelle, which won the New York state championship earlier this month, held the No. 1 in the event for much of the year. Columbia, N.J. nipped New Rochelle in the race at the Millrose Games in February. Columbia owns the top time in the nation at 1:38.99, followed by New Rochelle in 1:39.36.
“We really want to get that title,’’ said Wiggins, who committed last month to run for the University of Connecticut. “I’ve been on the relay since ninth grade, and I know we have the ability to be No. 1. We’ve worked hard all year and now we’re ready to make a run at it.”
Wiggins said the key to the race will be the handoffs. The girls were disappointed when they lost the No. 1 U.S. ranking, and with the loss to Millrose Games.
But the Hugueonts and coach Andy Capellan were tinkering with relay parts at the time, trying different combinations to determine the fastest unit. Rasheeda Bulla and Josina Smallwood ran on the relay during the preliminary heats at the New York championships.
“I think this year’s team has improved in that we’ve all gotten faster and stronger,’’ Wiggins said. “We started off the season as No. 1 in the U.S. and we were there for quite a while. Now that we’ve dropped to No. 2, we have to work harder. Our goal is to catch them.”
Wiggins will also run in the 55-meter hurdles, which she also won at the New York championships.
“I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself in the hurdles,’’ she said. “I would like to get to the finals and maybe try to get the school record. But the thing I really want it is to get is the relay.”
Darius is a double threat at the New Balance meet. She also figures to be a contender in the 200, and comes in ranked second in the country in the nation in the 300. The 300 is not run at New Balance. “I like the 200 a little better,’’ Darius said. “It’s just about putting my mechanics together and having a good race.”
The pressure has escalated on Darius, who said Wiggins and the rest of the seniors have helped keep her focused on her goals.
“The pressure is hard,’’ she said. “But you have to deal with pressure. I do a good job of trying to block everything out and just go out and run. The team has been a big help. We’re all just there for each other. Everybody keeps a positive attitude.”