CLIFTON PARK — Every now and then, Niskayuna junior Abigail Spiers could look up and see Saratoga Springs sophomore Kelsey Chmiel off in the distance during their event Thursday.
Rather than deflate Spiers, it did the opposite. That the junior could even see Chmiel meant she was doing something right.
“So,” Spiers said, “that was encouraging.”
Chmiel, a top runner nationally, breezed to a first-place finish in the Division 1 girls’ 3,000-meter run Thursday at Shenendehowa during the first day of this year’s Section II qualifier for the outdoor track and field state championships. This year’s state championships will be held June 9-10 at Union-Endicott High School, and Section II athletes compete again Friday at Shenendehowa to earn more spots at the state championships.
Chmiel clinched her spot with a methodical 9:48.99 showing. She outpaced Spiers — who automatically qualified for states, anyway, with her standard-beating time of 9:54.90 — by nearly six seconds.
Despite her win Thursday never being in doubt, Chmiel said she approached the race like every other competitor at Thursday’s event.
“Today,” Chmiel said, “I was just gonna try to come out and make sure that I qualified.”
Chmiel has already won state titles this year in both the cross country and indoor track seasons.
Behind Chmiel, Spiers ran most of her race Thursday with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior Eva Scott and Shenendehowa junior Olivia Lomascolo. In the final laps, Spiers separated from Scott and Lomascolo on her way to earning a berth to states.
“You knew Kelsey would go out super fast, so I didn’t even worry about her,” Spiers said. “My race was with Eva and Olivia.”
There’s still Friday
Schalmont sophomore Francisco Beltran was happy to win the Division 2 boys’ 800-meter run, but he was pulling for the event’s runner-up, too.
With a first-place mark of 1:57.79, Francisco Beltran edged out his twin brother Antonio Beltran’s time of 1:59.95. Antonio Beltran’s mark did not hit the automatic-qualifying standard.
“It’s exciting for me to get in, but it’s disappointing that we didn’t both qualify,” Francisco Beltran said.
The silver lining, though, is that both brothers are expected to compete Friday in events. The opportunity is still there for both Beltrans to make it to states.
“We’re working really hard to get both me and him in because we always run better together,” Francisco Beltran said.
One last run
As competitors lined up for the Division 1 girls’ 800-meter run, Shenendehowa junior Hannah Reale turned to senior teammate Julia Zachgo. A quick fist bump, then the two took off running.
Reale took first in a Section II record-setting time of 2:06.68, breaking her own record by a little more than two seconds. Racing one more time against a close friend, though, meant more than a record.
“She’s been one of my best friends and teammates since I started the sport,” Reale said of Zachgo, who took third in the race. “She’s gonna be in college next year, so [that was] our last open race together, and I loved competing with her. She’s one of my closest friends.”
Reale and Zachgo will team up Friday as part of the Plainsmen’s entry in the 4×800-meter relay. While Thursday’s action included a new section record for Reale, she’s hoping that race is just a tune-up for her as the postseason continues.
“I was definitely hoping to run faster,” Reale said, “but I think that the race today set me up for what I’m going to be trying to do in the weeks to come.”
400 — Syeed Holtzclaw (Albany), 49.82; Andrew Kelsey (Shaker), 50.73; Andrew Shaw (Colonie), 50.88. 800 — Noah Tindale (Guilderland), 1:56.38; Jack Huber (Bethlehem), 1:57.53; Jacob Greski (Scotia), 1:58.08. 400 hurdles — Jeremiah House (Colonie), 54.02; Kevin Mitchell (Albany), 56.89; Ryan Gutheil (Averill Park), 57.46. 3,200 — Shea Weilbaker (Saratoga Springs), 9:25.64; Noah Carey (Guilderland), 9:28.92; Evan Brennan (Burnt Hills), 9:29.42. High jump — Jonathan Ray (Shenendehowa), 6-5; Liam Giombetti (La Salle), 6-1; Tyree Gonzales (La Salle), 6-0. Long jump — Kevin Boucaud (Amsterdam), 22-8.25; Nicholas Cavotta (Saratoga Springs), 22-8.00; Izaias Smith (Saratoga Springs), 21-8.25. Triple jump — Kwaku Ofosu (Shaker), 44-11.00; Blyden Nartey (Shaker), 44-0.50; Jacob Pishkula (Shenendehowa), 42-8.00. Shot put — Elijah Washington (Ballston Spa), 49-8.75; James Cocca (Averill Park), 49-5.50; Mike Shields (Shenendehowa), 44-6.25. Discus throw — James Cocca (Averill Park), 148-8; Mete Rice (Guilderland), 142-7; Zihniar Cooley (Albany), 139-11.
400 — Izzy Dennison (Queensbury), 58.82; Selena Lott (Columbia), 59.26; Kelly Hamlin (Shenendehowa), 1:00.47. 800 — Hannah Reale (Shenendehowa), 2:08.68; Rory Graham (Burnt Hills), 2:13.57; Julia Zachgo (Shenendehowa), 2:16.48. 400 hurdles — Devanee Baskerville (Cohoes), 1:04.63; Erin Peters (Shenendehowa), 1:05.72; Emma Hayes (Queensbury), 1:06.30. 3,000 — Kelsey Chmiel (Saratoga Springs), 9:48.99; Abigail Spiers (Niskayuna), 9:54.90; Eva Scott (Burnt Hills), 10:04.05.
400 — Alex Hitchcock (Cobleskill), 51.30; Isaiah Casper (Watervliet), 51.56; Carl Treiber (Voorheesville), 52.08. 800 — Francisco Beltran (Schalmont), 1:57.79; Antonio Beltran (Schalmont), 1:59.95; Xzavier Rich (B-K-W), 2:00.94. 400 hurdles — Easton Reagan (Schalmont), 57.02; Max Hanselman (Taconic Hills), 58.52; Andrew Towse (Canajoharie), 59.69. 3,200 — Chris Hughes (Glens Falls), 9:37.06; Max Tulchinsky (Albany Academy), 10:07.19. High jump — Tyler Brado (Fort Plain), 6-6; Liam Mooney (Ravena), 6-3; Nick Fraiser (Johnstown), 6-3. Long jump — Shane Hotaling (Taconic Hills), 21-2.75; Xavier Nixon (Rensselaer), 20-6.00; Jamison Jarosz (Hoosic Valley), 20-4.50. Triple jump — Shane Hotaling (Taconic Hills), 43-7.75; Nick Fraiser (Johnstown), 41-2.00; Steven Methe (Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons), 40-7.00. Shot put — Jeff Derwin (Broadalbin-Perth), 56-9.75; Trevor Rose (Hoosic Valley), 45-6.00; Chris Yarush (Fonda-Fultonville), 45-6.00. Discus throw — Jeff Derwin (Broadalbin-Perth), 169-3; Mike Hartlieb (Canajoharie), 151-4; Michael Gabriel (Greenwich), 150-0.
400 — Zhane Smith (Cohoes), 57:02; Hannah Loder (Holy Names), 58.35; Kat Fousek (Emma Willard), 1:00.76. 800 — Isabel Vogel (Holy Names), 2:19.67; Olivia Hamm (Middleburgh), 2:20.43; Quinn Collins (Greenwich), 2:21.55. 400 hurdles — Clare Howard (Taconic Hills), 1:07.04; Hannah Ragule (Cohoes), 1:07.48; Abigail Gottung (Johnstown), 1:07.82. 3,000 — Kerry Flower (Schalmont), 10:48.76; Madison Relyea (Mayfield), 10:56.85; Mya June (Schalmont), 11:00.61