Indoor track and field athletes set impressive numbers ahead of Section II championships


Section II is hosting its indoor track and field championships this week, with competition slated for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in four divisions at three locations.

The Division I, II, III and IV shot put and weight competitions are Thursday at Koda Middle School on the Shenendehowa campus. The remaining Division I and II events take place Saturday at Union College, and the rest of the Division III and IV events are slated for Sunday at Hudson Valley Community College.

As a lead into the sectionals, here are some impressive numbers produced by a host of Section II athletes during the indoor track and field regular season. Be certain more are to come this week, at the Feb. 5 state meet qualifier at HVCC and at the state championship meet March 5 at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island. 


Position on the national indoor track and field leaderboard for the Saratoga Springs foursome of Alycia Hart, Wake Forest commit Mackenzie Hart, Toledo-bound Ella Kurto and Sheridan Wheeler after posting a 9:16.07 in the 4×800-meter relay at Sunday’s Frank DiMasi Invite in Utica. Kurto also won the 3,000. 


Number of distance events Guilderland senior Will Cusato leads Section II in, including the boys’ 1,000 that he covered in 2:31.14 while winning at the Dec. 28-29 Marine Corp Holiday Classic at The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City. Cusato is also the Section II leader in the boys’ 600 after nailing down a 1:23.85 win at the Frank DiMasi Invite. Cusato set personal bests in both of those races.


Section II’s female two-event meet record-setters at Sunday’s Frank DiMasi Invite in Utica, including Saratoga Springs sophomore distance ace Emily Bush in the 1,000 (2:58.18) and 1,500 (4:38.71), and Mohonasen senior sprint star Zionna Perez-Tucker in the 55 (7.15) and 300 (40.63). Guilderland’s Willow Novak and Kate Scanlan both participated in a pair of meet record-setting relays (4×200, 1:48.54; 4×400 4:09.27). 

Bush is the Section II leader in the 1,000 (2:55.78), 1,500 (4:32.47), mile (4:52.92) and 3,000 (9:51.0).


Niskayuna’s position on the national boys’ distance medley relay list after the Silver Warriors popped a school-record 10:26.82 at the New Balance Games at The Armory last Saturday. Dan Malatesta (1,200 meters, 3:13.92), Avery George (400, 53.05), Julian Franjieh (1,600, 4:19.05) and Ryan Hesler (800, 2:00.32) own the top spot on this season’s state list, and qualified for the New Balance National Indoor Championships and the Penn Relays.


Carter Petersen’s position on the all-time Section II pole vaulting leader list after he sailed 15-feet, 3-inches for a win at a Jan. 2 Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at HVCC. The Fonda-Fultonville senior cleared the height on his third attempt and moved to No. 1 on the state list this season.   


Carter Cuckerstein’s 55-meter dash result (in seconds) at the Jan. 12 Millrose Games Trials at The Armory, when the Shenendehowa senior prevailed with a Section II record and posted the third-fastest time ever in the event for a New York athlete. Cuckerstein won by more than three meters while topping his previous PR of 6.36 that he clocked earlier this season in Boston. The track and football standout — who is No. 2 in the 55 nationally —  also clocked a 6.39 this season.

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Gianna Locci’s long jump distance (in feet and inches) that has been atop the state leaderboard since Nov. 6 when the Stillwater senior and Duke commit soared at The Armory Trails in New York City. Other Section II state leaders include Jason Colindres of Shenendehowa in the 200 hurdles (26.92) and Neil Howard of Taconic Hills in the pentathlon (3,288 points). 


Columbia senior Alexandros Wheeler’s distance (in feet and inches) in winning the long jump title with a meet record at the Frank DiMasi Invite. Wheeler also won the triple jump at the Frank DiMasi Invite with a 45-2, and is the Section II leader in both events. Wheeler has also won jumping titles this season at the Bishop Loughlin Games, Ithaca College Invitational and Boston Holiday Challenge.


Guilderland senior Kate Scanlan’s time (in seconds) when she set the Section II 200-meter intermediate hurdle record at the Jan. 8 Ed Cepiel Invitational at Springfield College. Scanlan is also No. 1 on the Section II leader board in the 400 (57.61), tied for No. 1 in the 50 high hurdles with schoolmate Meaghan Hickey (8.2), No. 2 in the 55 high hurdles, 200 and 300, and No. 3 in the 55 dash


Zionna Perez-Tucker’s time (in seconds) when the Mohonasen senior moved up to No. 2 on the all-time Section II 300-meter chart with a win at the Jan. 16 Stanner Games at The Armory. Perez-Tucker is No. 2  behind Kyle Plante of Colonie, whose Section II mark of 38.23 in the 300 was set in 2012. Additionally, Perez-Tucker owns the state No. 1 spot for the 55 dash, clocking a meet-record 7.14 at the Ed Cepiel Invitational. 

Categories: High School Sports, Sports


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