For Mohonasen High School senior sprinter Zionna Perez-Tucker, the time is now.
Perez-Tucker is one of the top contenders in two events at the state outdoor track championships Friday and Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Perez-Tucker is the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 girls’ 100-meter dash and she is the No. 3 seed in the 200.
Recently, Perez-Tucker set a new Section II record in the 100 with a mark of 11.8 seconds to finish in front of Niskayuna junior Kaleigh West at 12.01 at last week’s state qualifying meet at Shenendehowa. That record-setting sprint put Perez-Tucker atop the state leaderboard.
In the 200 with a top time of 24.54, Perez-Tucker is behind Jadah Fitzgerald of John Adams High School at 24.46 and Leanne McDonald from Paul Robeson at 24.45.
The goal, though, for Perez-Tucker is to take first place in both events.
“Flat out, be a champion,” Perez-Tucker said. “I have the times down. I know I can do it.”
The state outdoor championships weren’t held during the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. This year, high school state championships returned, and Perez-Tucker captured the 55 and 300 indoor championship titles this past winter.
Part of the challenge for Perez-Tucker this week will be competing without her full cast of teammates around her.
“With my team, they just make everything more light-hearted. I don’t worry about it so much,” said Perez-Tucker, who will compete in college at Mount St. Mary’s College in Maryland. “When I’m by myself, it’s just me and my thoughts. I have to be mentally strong for myself because I don’t have my team to fall back on.”
Besides Perez-Tucker, here are several other Section II standouts to watch at this week’s state championships.
ALESSANDRO SALTSMAN (FONDA-FULTONVILLE)
The Fonda-Fultonville thrower is seeded first in the Division 2 shot put with a throw of 55-7.25 and the discus with a mark of 190-01.
GITCH HAYES (LA SALLE)
A University of North Carolina commit, Hayes is the top seed in the boys’ Division 1 800 at 1.52.87. He also leads a trio of Section II talent atop the 1,600 event. Gitch is the top seed at 4:13.53 followed by Saratoga Springs’ Ryan Bush at 4:13.81 and Shenendehowa’s Nathan Brimhall at 4:4.42.
EMILY BUSH, ALYCIA HART, MACKENZIE HART, ELLA KURTO (SARATOGA SPRINGS)
The team of sophomores Bush and Alycia Hart, and seniors Mackenzie Hart and Kurto make up the Blue Streaks’ 3,200 meter relay squad.
Saratoga Springs is ranked No. 1 in the girls’ 3,200 relay ahead of Fayetteville-Manlius. Saratoga Springs’ seed time is 9:14.31, two seconds ahead of Fayetteville-Manlius.
CARTER CUKERSTEIN (SHENENDEHOWA)
The University of Oklahoma commit, Cukerstein is the top seed in both the boys’ Division 1 100 at 10.29 and 200 at 21.27.
He is also expected to run a leg of the Shenendehowa 400 relay with seniors Tyler Dedrick, Jason Gillan and Michael McElrath.
GIANNI LOCCI, KELLY MORAN (STILLWATER)
Locci, a senior, is the No. 2 seed in the 100 meter dash in the Division 2 meet at 12.23, behind Holy Trinity sophomore Logan Daley at 12.15. Locci, a Duke University commit, is the No. 1 seed in the long jump at 19 feet, in front of classmate Moran at 18-7.
Moran, an Indiana University commit, is the No. 1 seed in the girls’ Division 2 triple jump at 38-2.5.
Locci and Kelly Moran are also expected to run legs for the third-seeded girls’ 400 relay squad with Kara Moran and Skyler Rich.