Holy Names dominates Schenectady Invitational

On a chilly, blustery day when it was easier to move horizontally than vertically, Holy Names rocket
Theresa Kennedy of Holy Names Academy, hits the 35’ mark in the triple jump Tuesday.
Theresa Kennedy of Holy Names Academy, hits the 35’ mark in the triple jump Tuesday.

Averill Park’s Morgan Wheeler clunked her head on the high jump bar.

Niskayuna’s Patty Horan never got her longer pole working in the pole vault.

Holy Names’ Theresa Kennedy was pleasantly surprised, though, by her season-best triple jump.

On a chilly, blustery day when it was easier to move horizontally than vertically, Holy Names rocketed to the top of the team standings with victories all over the scoresheet to win the 37th annual Schenectady Invitational girls’ meet Tuesday at Schenectady High School.

Kennedy was a point-scoring machine, with a first in the triple, a second to Wheeler in the high jump and a leg on the winning 400 relay, but she got plenty of help, too, as Holy Names became the first team other than Colonie or Shaker to win this meet since 2000.

Holy Names scored 131 points, to 81 for Col­onie, 73 for Guilderland and 70 for Shaker. It was also the first time since 1991 that a team lower than Class A won the meet.

Kennedy, a sophomore, made it easier on herself by popping her 35-33⁄4 in the preliminaries of the triple jump, so that she was able to jog down to the high jump pit to finish her matchup against Wheeler in the finals, then get back to the triple jump finals. Instead of overtaxing Kennedy on a cold day, coach Carlo Cherubino told her to just take one more jump in the triple jump, then call it a day, confident that her mark would hold up, and it did.

“In jumping, it’s always [warmup] stuff back on, stuff off, and you have to keep warming up, so it’s hard when it’s cold,” she said. “I’m happy about the triple jump, actually.

“It was good to get a good one early. Usually, it doesn’t happen that way, but it’s a lot easier to get it over with. I’m so random.”

In the high jump, Kennedy, who did a 5-5 at Penn Relays and 5-6 at the Cohoes Relays, made 5-2 on her last attempt after Wheeler had made it on her first, despite wiggling the bar a little. At 5-4, Wheeler crashed into the bar on her first and was close on her third; Kennedy just missed on her last two, as her back leg brushed the bar off.

Wheeler, who went 5-5 at Cornwall and needs to reach 5-6 for sole possession of her school record, won based on the jumps at 5-2.

“I leaned into it too much,” she said, of her first shot at 5-4. “That’s not the first time I’ve done that.

“[At 5-2], it was a little shaky. I hit it a little bit. I was rushing to get to the 400 hurdles, so I was glad I cleared in the first attempt.”

“I thought she hurt her back, too. That looked like it hurt,” Kennedy said. “It’s the worst, because then I think it gets to you, mentally. You’re like, I don’t want to do that again.

“My legs are always hitting it. Hopefully, I can still improve. My coach tells me to visualize and see myself making it. I have to relax, and trust in my steps.”

By the time Kennedy was jumping, she had already helped Holy Names win the 400 relay.

Christina Cooper, Kennedy, Sherez Mohamed and Klarissa Ricks are fresh off a 50.66 at Penn Relays, which leads Section II this spring, and they won in 51.49 on Tuesday.

Ricks also won the 100 and long jump (17-31⁄4), and Laura Isabelle, Lauren Recchia and Jordan White each won open events and ran relay legs for Holy Names. In the 100, Ricks (12.82) just outleaned Schenectady’s Shatiira Browne, running in Lane 1, by a hundredth of a second.

Sherez Mohamed, Isabelle, Recchia and White closed out the meet by winning the 1,600 relay in 4:06.44, overcoming a hot first leg by Guilderland’s Liz Schwennker.

Recchia closed the gap to about a half-stride at the final handoff, and White, usually a 400 and 800 runner, finished it off, despite having run her first-ever open 1,500 in 4:39.90 earlier in the meet.

“I never have to worry about her,” Cherubino said. “She’s always going to give you everything she’s got.”

“I didn’t mind it that much,” White said after the 1,500. “It was a little chilly. It’s a little more painful than the 800. My plan was to run negative splits, just getting faster each lap, and I let someone else lead, and then towards the end, I just had to take it. I felt pretty good.”

Mohamed was third to Shaker’s Diana Hummel (26.56) in the 200; Isabelle ran 60.46 in the 400; Recchia (2:21.30) and Claire Hardwick (2:22.37) were 1-2, respectively, in the 800; and Tara Gleason was second to Horan in the pole vault.

Horan, who is headed to SUNY-Geneseo next fall, is shooting for 10-6 by the end of the season, but Tuesday was not the day for it.

She used her 13-foot pole in the first attempt at 8-6 and 9-0, but ditched it in favor of the 12-footer, and was able to get over. Her season best is 10-0 at the Cohoes

Relays, when she used the longer pole, and she hit 10-0 twice last year, so 10-6 is well within reach,

“I’ve been jumping on that, but today, it was just a little hard,” she said. “I used it the entire meet last time. I was fine on it. Indoor, I tried it a couple times, but I fixed my step at states and it helped so much that I was actually able to get on it. But today, I just had trouble.

“I thought I was comfortable on it, but today threw me off.”

Fonda-Fultonville’s Kirstyn Newkirk was a double winner in the throwing events, taking the discus with an area season-best 116-10, and easily winning the shot put with a 37-61⁄2.

In the closest race of the day, Johnstown’s Emily Bearden (68.25) just beat Colonie’s Emily Finnegan by six-hundredths of a second in the 400 intermediate hurdles.

burnt hills invitational

Meaghan Gregory and Sam Roecker of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake snapped off some quick times in the 2,000 steeplechase, with a 6:50.1 and 6:52.3, respectively. Gregory’s personal record rep­resents the third-fastest time on the all-time Section II leaderboard.

Molly Pezzulo went 4:46.6 in the 1,500 for the Spartans, and Kendra Adams posted a 66.6 in the 400 intermediate hurdles.

Sarah Palmer of Schuylerville won the high jump at 5-4.

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