VSS's Obichere, Martin win at states


Valley Stream South capped a memorable track season by having not one, but two state champions on the girls side.

Seniors Chibugo Obichere and Deanna Martin both took top honors in their respective Division I events during the New York State Track and Field Championships at Middletown High School last weekend as they wrap up their decorated high school running careers. Both will have one last chance to shine at the outdoor nationals in Greensboro, N.C., this week.

Coach Nicole Bertrami was beyond proud of her runners’ accomplishments and said their legacies at the school will live forever.

“These kids have changed the program of Valley Stream South forever,” Bertrami said. “They are the catalysts for change. Truly unbelievable.”

Obichere claimed her third straight spring championship in the 110-meter hurdles and finished her Valley Stream career with a combined five state titles in both the indoor and outdoor events. She put an exclamation point on her already successful weekend by taking the Federation hurdle race that is open to all qualified runners, regardless of school size.

The Federation, the only race Obichere had yet to win, was the cherry on top her illustrious track career.

“It’s a combination of exhaustion and pure joy, just knowing that seeing the journey all the way through to the end,” Bertrami said. “I think it was bittersweet because it was ‘finish this, it’s done, we met our goal’ and [now] there’s nothing else to do here.”

Martin was the top Division I runner to finish in the 1500-meter final despite finishing second to Division II runner Sarah Connelly of Mount Sinai in the final race. Martin lead for most of the race before being caught by Connelly in the final 200 meters and crossed the finish line with a personal-best time of 4 minutes, 31.90 seconds.

“She ran a beautiful race,” said Bertrami. “She did exactly what she needed to do. She really showed her growth as an athlete.”

Martin also set a personal record in the 800-meter championship, placing fourth with a time of 2:08.94.

Obichere easily qualified for the finals by winning her preliminary heat with a time of 14.37, the second-best effort among all of competitors. She went on post one of her best times in the championship race, winning with a stellar time of 14.06, her second-best effort of the season and .56 better than the second-place finisher.

“She’s a very technical runner,” said Bertrami. “She knows in the prelims that she’s going to be OK and that she can make it back to the finals. When she gets on the line for the finals, she goes full on.”

Obichere and Martin also keyed the Lady Falcons’ first-ever county championship during the winter season.