Gabay Unleashes Huge Kick To Win Group 2 1600m Title

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Austin Gabay knew he had to do something different.

After finishing fourth in the South Jersey, Group 2 1,600 last week,  the junior at Cinnaminson needed to change his race place game plan if he wanted a different outcome in Friday's State Group 2 1,600 at Central Regional in Bayville,

So he made the race faster early by pushing the pace.

"Those guys outkicked me last week, so I needed the race to be faster early so they couldn't get me at the end again,'' said Gabay, a junior.

The strategy worked to perfection for Gabay, who shocked himself and the rest of the field when he had a lot more left than anyone thought as he blasted a 58.7 final 400 to edge Derek Gess of Haddonfield to win with a big PR of 4:16.02. Gess was second in 4:16.60. Colin Flood of Manasquan, who won the SJ Group 2 1,600, was third in 4:17.49.

Gabay also came back later to split 1:55.4 on Cinnaminson's runner-up 4x800 that ran a achool record 7:59.96.

Gabay was surprised when he heard his split for the last 400 in the 1,600.

"I had no idea I ran that fast for the last 400,'' said Gabay. "I had come that far and saw the opportunity to get the win and just went with everything I had. It's an incredible feeling to win my first state title.'' 
Gabay said that despite his loss at sectionals, he was optimistic that he could reverse that outcome on Friday.  

"My coach has been telling me all week that I was goiing to be state champion,'' said Gabay "He believed and I believed this could happen.''  

Gabay said becoming a state champion has been on his mind for a frew years.

"Ever since I saw Mike Ungvarsky win a state title for Cinnaminson when I was in eighth grade I've had the goal to become a state champion,'' said Gabay. "It's a dream come true.''