One of mid-season highlight events for Section II track and field has been postponed due to a low number of entries.
Schenectady Invitational co-director Joe Yamin said the decades-old showcase, which was scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, was called off after eight boys and 13 girls teams entered. An all-time low 33 teams competed last year inside and around the high school’s Larry Mulvaney Field.
“Entries fund the meet. Being down to that number of schools hurt us,” said Yamin, who coaches the Schenectady girls. “It would have cost the track program $800 to run the meet, and we just don’t have it.”
“There’s a certain break-even point,” said Steve Boynton, Schenectady’s athletic director. “We weren’t going to hit it.”
Yamin said there is a $130 Schenectady Invitational entry fee for a single team, and a $235 entry fee for a school sending two teams. The fees pay for officials, timing equipment, awards and starter pistol shells.
“We started to discuss it last week,” Yamin said Friday after his team had worked out. “Thursday we made the call. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
The Suburban Council has for years had a major presense at the invitational. The league will be conducting dual meets today and Tuesday.
“We love the Schenectady Invitational. There’s something special about running under the lights,” said Shaker girls’ coach Marbry Gansle, whose Blue Bison won the 2013 and 2012 team titles. “We couldn’t go because we have a Suburban Council meet [today]. The first priority is the league.”
“League is always the first priority,” said Yamin. “I understand that.”
For years, the girls meet was held on a Tuesday and the boys competed Thursday, with the event taking place at Mont Pleasant High School before moving to Schenectady. This year would have marked the 51st boys’ meet and the 43rd girls’ meet.
“Joe was telling me the [Suburban Council] track coaches usually make the schedule. The Suburban Council athletic directors made the schedule for this year,” said Boynton. “Hopefully, the track coaches will have more of a say next year.”
“A lot of coaches and kids are disappointed,” said Gansle. “Going to the Schenectady Invitational was a tradition for a lot of schools.”
“We’re going to try next year,” said Yamin. “We’ve talked about going co-ed next year on a Wednesday, but nothing is set.”
Amsterdam ace Izaiah Brown used the Schenectady Invitational as one his preparatory meets before winning the state 400-meter run last season. In years before, star athletes such as Todd Orvis, Katie Twarog and Kyle Plante of Colonie; Brian Rhodes-Devey of Guilderland; Andy Bloom and Summer Pierson of Niskayuna; and Shelly Choppa of Glens Falls garnered the spotlight.
“I remember Andy Bloom going 62 feet in the shot put at Mont Pleasant. I measured it,” said Yamin. “There have been a lot of good performances.”