Talent and hard work may have gotten them this far, but it was plain grit and determination that earned them state championships.
Section II athletes earned five state titles and a Federation crown Friday on the first day of the New York State Track and Field Championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The meet continues today at 10 a.m.
Emma Willard senior Molly Shapiro won the girls’ Division 2 (small school) triple jump at 38-71⁄2, Albany Academy senior Jelani Currie won the boys’ Division 2 triple jump with a leap of 48-6, Colonie’s 4x400 girls’ relay team won the Division 1 title by improving their own Section II record to 3:49.59, Holy Names freshman Kaylee Scott won the girls’ Division 2 3,000-meter run in 10:09.82, and Shenendehowa senior Lizzie Predmore won the girls’ Division 1 3,000, along with the Federation title in the event, with a time of 9:54.92.
“That was stressful,” Shapiro said after winning her championship at the last possible moment.
Shapiro was the area’s first champ of the day, making it to the finals by using a board closer to the pit than she was used to. Initially, she had been mistakenly told no jumpers could use the board she wanted (36), but then apparently a state official thought he told her coach she could. He didn’t get that message, so she jumped from 32 and was inches shy of the stripe on each jump, but she earned a spot in the finals with a leap of 37-111⁄4 .
Before the finals, she was told she could switch back to her preferred leaping-off point. Then she had to run across the site to check in for the 100-meter dash trials. While waiting for the 100, she missed her first jump in the finals, leaving her two.
On her first actual attempt from the new board, she faulted, leaving her one shot at a state title. The mark to beat was 38-4, held by three girls.
Shapiro put the meet to that point behind her and threw all her energy into the run, flying out 38-71⁄2 for the state championship. One of those girls at 38-4, Sarah Wiatr of West Canada, had the last jump after Shapiro, but couldn’t improve on her earlier mark.
“I knew that my mark was pretty good. I just wanted to make sure I got on the board. Then after that, all I was thinking about was, ‘Don’t bail out on this jump. Just use all the power I can possibly have.’ I really wanted to win today.”
In the same pit, Currie saved his best for the finals. His 44-91⁄2 in the prelims got him to the final eight, and his numbers immediately jumped. First to 46-101⁄2, which he was unaware at the time would have been good enough for the win. On his second jump, he sailed farther, hitting 48-6 for the best distance in the area this year, seventh all-time in the section and best in the last five years.
“My steps weren’t really on [early],” Currie said. “Then I just got on the board and I knew it was far, that’s why I hopped up and looked at the tape.
“I knew I had a shot to win. Anybody can win on any given day, and that’s the approach I came here with. I’m ecstatic that I PR’ed, and by that much.”
Schalmont’s Devon Willis reached 45-81⁄4 for fourth place.
The top eight girls’ and boys’ triple jumpers and 4x400 teams will be among those returning to action today to compete for the Federation title.
Senior Kyle Plante of Colonie ran easily away from the field in her 400 semifinal race and will be the top seed in today’s final. It was a good warm-up for her anchor leg in the 4x400 relay later in the day.
The three girls before her in the relay — freshman Kirsten Kaminski (58.5), sophomore Alicia Bousa (57.4) and freshman Mikeisha Kelly (59.9) — kept the Colonie baton within a few kicks of Section XI’s Bay Shore, which led most of the way.
Bay Shore’s anchor never stood a chance with Plante on a mission from the exchange, passing her about 150 meters into the final leg and finishing in 53.2.
“Basically, search and destroy,” Plante said. “You’ve got to search for your opponent, destroy them and just hold on.”
The time for the team was a new best by 0.31 seconds over its seed time.
“They’re young, but they know how to keep pace,” Plante said. “They did an amazing job. It was between me and Mikeisha to anchor, and I trusted Mikeisha to get us into the right spot, and I just took over from there.”
The Shaker team of Kristen Hayes, Emily VanDenburgh, Maryanna Lansing and Kayleigh Lavender was sixth in 3:56.96.
One of the final events of the day, the 3,000-meter run, saw Predmore, who was running the event for only the third time this season after fighting through injury and illness, stalk the pace-setters until the final lap.
Predmore was a breath away from the leaders throughout, then made her move and beat out United Nations School junior Kristiane Width by 2.85 seconds for the Federation championship. The next Division 1 runner was 4.28 back.
Predmore said the joy of winning a state and Federation title did a lot to temper the pain of running 3,000 meters in stiff competition. To get there, she knew she couldn’t allow the pace-setters to get much daylight on her.
“The whole time, I was trying to keep mentally strong and not think about how my body felt,” she said. “I let it do the work, and mentally just stay relaxed and motivated. Keep working throughout the whole thing. Running in races like this, if you lose contact, you’re going to lose the race. So, I just stayed focused and kept going strong.”
Although Width was the first Division 2 girl to cross the line, her school is not a public school, so she is not eligible for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship. The next small-school runner to cross, the first from a public school and thereby the state champ, was Scott.
Scott was unaware of that technicality until she climbed up to the No. 2 spot on the podium and was told she was standing in the wrong place.
“They said, ‘Oh, move up.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ ” she said after the ceremony. “I thought I was in second. It was a great feeling.
“When I go out in a 3,000, I like to start out slow and speed up through the entire thing. I’m glad I stayed tough. In the third to last lap, I started to lose it, but I kept my eye on the Saratoga girl and said, ‘You’ve got to fight for it.’ ”
Saratoga Springs senior Margaret MacDonald was sixth in Division 1 in 10:16.08, and Granville senior Alicia Clark was second in Division 2 in 10:11.60. Clark’s time was good for eighth in the Federation finish.
VanDenburg grabbed a bronze medal with her second-best long jump of the season, an 18-91⁄2.
800 — 1. Sabrina Southerland (Cardozo), 2:12.49; 5. Kirsten Kaminski (Colonie), 2:15.26. 3,000 — 1. Elizabeth Predmore (Shenendehowa), 9:54.92; 6. Margaret MacDonald (Saratoga Springs), 10:16.08. 400 hurdles — 1. Jessica Gelibert (Bay Shore), 1:00.59; 5. Kristen Hayes (Shaker), 1:04.02. 400 relay — 1. Mount Vernon, 47.05. 1,600 relay — 1.Colonie (Kirsten Kaminski, Alicia Bousa, Mikeisha Kelly, Kyle Plante), 3:49.59 (Section II record).
Long jump — 1. Brittany Bryant (Cornwall), 19-81⁄4; 3. Emily VanDenburgh (Shaker), 18-91⁄2; 6. Emma Torncello (Shaker), 17-101⁄4. Triple jump — 1. Odrine Belot (Kellenberg), 39-9. Pole vault — 1. Alexis Bartholomew (Binghamton), 12-0; 3. Maddesen Weekes (Shenendehowa), 11-3; 4. Kara Snyder (Colonie), 11-0. Shot put — 1. Adaora Nwodili (Longwood), 43-81⁄2. Discus — 1. Diamond Jackson (Sachem East), 119-8; 5. Caysie
Capano (Troy), 117-8.
800 — 1. Kelsey Margey (Friends Academy), 2:09.86; 4. Leah Triller (Holy Names), 2:17.22. 3,000 — 1. Kristiane Width (UN School), 2. (1st in NYSPHAA) Kaylee Scott (Holy Names), 10:09.82; 3. Alicia Clark (Granville), 10:11.60. 400 hurdles — 1. Alyza Ngbokli (Hackley), 1:03.92. 400 relay —
1. Beekmantown, 50.12; 4. Emma Willard (Amber Spencer, Keishorea Armstrong, Kristin Steede, Molly Shapiro), 50.87. 1,600 relay — 1. Bayport-Bluepoint, 3:58.52; 3. Holy Names (Mikaila Ford, Leah Triller, Morgan Cooper, Kaitlin Close), 4:00.49.
Long jump — 1. Kaitlyn Lopez (Immaculata), 18-93⁄4. Triple jump — 1. Molly Shapiro (Emma Willard), 38-71⁄2; 6. Kayla Miller (Bishop Maginn), 37-21⁄2. Pole vault — 1. Grace Weisbecker (Red Hook), 11-3. Shot put —
1. Jordan Collins (Bayport-Bluepoint), 42-0;
5. Sarah Wyzomirski (Fonda-Fultonville),
36- 3⁄4. Discus — 1. Danielle Borriello (Ellenville), 116-0.
800 — 1. Zavon Watkins (Liverpool), 1:51.21. 3,200 — 1. Nick Ryan (Fayetteville-Manlius), 9:03.81. 400 hurdles — 1. Kadesh Roberts (Bay Shore), 52.71. 400 relay —
1. Uniondale, 42.02. 1,600 relay — 1. Boys and Girls, 3:14.22; 6. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Joe Carr, Michael Danz, Dan Fernandez, Robert Kirsty), 3:21.42.
Long jump — 1. Desmond Mobley (Greece Olympia), 24-11⁄2 . Triple jump —
1. Jailyn Twitty (Amherst), 47-7; 6. Franklin Abban (Shaker), 46-61⁄2 . Pole vault — 1. Greg Gallagher (Iona Prep), 16-0 . Discus —
1. Dominik Kosar (St. Joe’s Buffalo), 177-7.
800 — 1. Tyler Scheving (Barker), 1:54.33. 3,200 — 1. Dan Lennon (Peru), 9:06.36; 4. Austin Lane (Greenwich), 9:22.95; 5. Jason
Lane (Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons), 9:23.19. 400 hurdles — 1. Daryl Spencer (Cleveland Hill), 54.48. 400 relay — 1. Stony Brook, 43.39. 1,600 relay — 1. Bayport-Bluepoint, 3:22.58.
Long jump — 1. Jack Minasi (West Canada), 23-9. Triple jump — 1. Jelani Currie (Albany Academy), 48-6; 4. Devon Willis (Schalmont), 45-81⁄4 . Pole vault — 1. Jeff Mastrantuono (Waverly), 14-0; 6. Vincent Saccocio (Voorheesville), 13-3. Discus —
1. A.J. Wolf (Hackley), 180-2.