Blue Streaks’ Smith can’t be caught

Saratoga Springs sprinter/hurdler Madalayne Smith figures into three victories, and the Blue Streaks

The heat didn’t slow down Saratoga Springs’

Madalayne Smith, even though her opponents wished it had.

The Blue Streaks’ hurdler/sprinter not only qualified for both the 100-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash, but she also anchored a victory in the 400 relay to grab the spotlight on the hot and humid second day of the State Qualifier Friday at Knox Field.

In the 100 hurdles, the state leader was a little slower than her personal best of 14.04, but she still clocked a 14.44 to easily win a trip to the state meet in Buffalo next weekend.

Smith followed that effort with a victory in the 100 dash in a torrid 12.12, just .06 behind her Section II-best time in that event.

“I usually like it when the weather is what you would call comfortable,” said Smith after winning the hurdles. “This is a little more than comfortable. I just wanted to do my best. My time wasn’t the greatest, but I’ll lower it at the states.”

Smith said she didn’t expect much competition in the hurdles until she gets to the state level.

“I know it will be a lot harder at the states,” she said.

“She’s not going to run in the 100 dash, just the hurdles, the long jump and the 400 relay. She did everything we expected her to. She just ran great,” said Saratoga Springs track coach Linda Kranick, who also got a huge win from her girls in the 3,200 relay.

That relay team, which included Brianne Bellon, Cassie Goutos, Hannah Davidson and Michelle Riley, crossed the finish line in a Section II-record 8:58.67, the No. 2 time in the country.

The Blue Streaks now own the five fastest times for the event in Section II history, including the former record of 9:03.33 set in 2003.

Shenendehowa, which finished second in that race in 9:07.97, also qualified for the states and posted the 10th-best time in the country. The Plainsmen took 10 seconds off their school record with the team of Alexandra Burtnick, Cara Janeczko, Lizzie Predmore and Morgan Roche.

Kranick, who was pleased that her team won two relays, explained that Saratoga Springs hired a new sprint coach, Tony Spackmann, recently, and that he did an excellent job putting the victorious 400 relay team together.

“That’s the first time we put that team together, and they really ran well,” Kranick said.

“Plus, the 3,200 relay team that won shaved plenty of time off their previous best. I think they can get it down a little more.”

Saratoga Springs will send 10 athletes to the states.

Meanwhile, Shenendehowa’s Mike Danaher talked his coach into letting him run the 1,600 instead of the 3,200, and it paid dividends as he also earned a trip to Buffalo by running an area-best 4:17.14 to beat out Shaker’s R.J. Sniffen, also a qualifier at 4:19.20.

“Usually, I run the 3,200, but I told coach that I thought the mile was my best event,” he said. “With a lap to go, I looked around to see where I was. I was feeling good, but that’s when I got a little nervous, because usually when I start to feel good, I slow up a little.

“I’ve run a couple of 1,600s before. We’ve been working a lot on our overall speed. I don’t know about my kick, but I can keep up with just about anyone. I caught R.J. [Sniffen of Shaker] just off the final turn.

“I don’t like to lead a race from start to finish, but I’m extremely excited about this race. I’ll have to run a lot faster at the states.”

Shenendehowa also won the girls’ 200 as Kathleen Klein crossed the tape in 26.14. Klein was also a member of the winning 1,600 relay team that clocked a 3:58.07.

The Plainsmen also excelled in the weight events, as both Jim Schwendtner and Evan Palmer qualified in both the shot put and discus. Schwendtner set a PR of 53-6 in the shot, but lost his area lead to Dan Ladd of Schuylerville, who hit 53-71⁄2 in the small-school division.

Although she finished second to Morgan Wheeler of Averill Park, Shenendehowa’s Kelsey Hanson also qualified in the girls’ pentathlon with a score of 2,971.

The Academy of Holy Names enjoyed a banner day in Division II, sweeping the relays with times if 49.90, 4:01.76 and 9:26.52. Klarissa Ricks and Sherez Mohamed, part of that 4 x 100 team, also won the 100 and 200, respectively, and Lauren Recchia kicked home a victory in the 1,500.

The boys’ large-school relays rekindled the Shenendehowa-Colonie rivalry. The Raiders took the 4×100 in 43.66, but the Plainsmen bested Colonie, 3:21.70 to 3:22.49, in the 4×400 and 7:59.68 to 8:04.78 in the 4×800, with both schools advancing in each event.

With Colonie’s Jim Kehrer still injured, Schenectady’s Daquan Coleman stepped up to earn a spot in the large-school division 110 high hurdles. Coleman ran a 15.35. He also won the Division I triple jump in 45-41⁄2.

Meaghan Gregory of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake opened the program by winning the Division I girls’ 2,000 steeplechase in 6:58.58. She edged Queensbury’s Danielle Winslow, who also earned a trip to the states with a time of 7:01.96. The Spartans will be represented in the states at 1,500 meters, as well, after freshman Molly Pezzulo won in 4:44.33.

Craig Weiss of Shaker surprised Queensbury’s Matt Flint in the Division I boys’ 3,000 steeplechase with a late kick. Weiss turned in a time of 9:37.99, while Flint, the Section II leader in that event, had a 9:38.44.

Jonathan Aziz of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons won the Division II 1,600 meters in 4:28.17.

Chelsea Gruet (15.50) of Broadalbin-Perth triumphed in the Division II girls’ 100 hurdles.

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