SCHENECTADY - The boys' track and field team from Schenectady gave itself a special present Tuesday afternoon, and Ethan Violette tied the bow.
Violette pulled away from Averill Park's Jake Stewart to finish off a triumphant 1,600-meter relay, marking the last in a slew of wins for the first-time Suburban Council champions.
"I knew I had to run as fast as I could," Violette said after the Patriots outscores the Warriors 109-74 to cap a perfect showing against the SC's Grey Division teams. "My thought was to try to take him in the second part of the 400 and stride it out if he was there. He wasn't there."
Violette's surge capped Schenectady's 7-0 dual-meet campaign which also included victories over Albany, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa and Mohonasen. Mohonasen was the only team to take down Averill Park (5-2) before Schenectady's dominant show on a rainy day at Larry Mulvaney Field.
"We're always one of the teams that's recognized, but never the top dog," said senior Deyker Edward, who anchored Schenectady's winning 400 relay (45.1). "Everyone put in the time, and we built each other up."
Since joining the Suburban Council in 2015, Schenectady athletes had only captured one SC division title before. That was in boys' basketball this past winter.
"We were missing two big guys," Schenectady coach Joe Bennett said. "Keegan [Cochrane) just had his wisdom teeth out and Lamont [Walters] has a tight hamstring. The other kids knew they had to step up to get the payoff. Maazin [Ahmed] stepped up and did four events which he usually doesn't do. Tulell [McDuffie] did four events. A lot of guys stepped up."
Violette was the last Patriot to do so, beating out Stewart over the last 400 meters of that 1,600 relay even though Stewart ran a two second PR. The anchor runners got the baton almost simultaneously.
"We were 15 meters behind after the first leg," Ahmed said. "We kept closing and closing, and Ethan got it. His kick at the end was wonderful."
Bennett made a note of Violette's gritty run which put the ending touch on a 3:40.0 relay effort by the Patriots. The Warriors ran a 3:41.8.
"He sometimes gets lost in the mix, but he's a workhorse for us," Bennett said of Violette. "He runs the 800. He runs the 400. He doubles and triples at every meet. His senior leadership showed today."
Violette waved his index finger in the air after his meet-closing run. The senior earlier won the 400 (53.0), one of Schenectady's 12 first-place efforts.
"This was a big meet," Violette said. "We knew if we won, we'd get our first Suburban Council championship. We just have a strong lineup."
Ahmed ran the second leg on the 1,600 relay, anchored a first-place 3,200 relay(8:36.4) to begin the meet, and in between the junior standout prevailed in the 1,600 (4:46.5) and 800 (2:09.7).
"Coach was on us from the beginning of the season," Ahmed said. "He thought we could get this title. Today we went for it. It was more about places today than times and distance."
Schenectady was third in the division last season when Averill Park claimed the top spot.
"We lost a few guys from last year," said Edwards, a Section II wrestling champion. "Our juniors became seniors. Our sophomores became juniors. Here we are."
Schenectady's Trebor Davis won the 100 (11.1) and 200 (22.9), and McDuffie won the high jump (5-9) and triple jump (40-1 1/2).
"It was a step by step thing," Edwards said. "We never looked ahead until that meet was over. Last week it was Albany. Today is was Averill Park."
Schenectady expects to make its presense felt in some upcoming major meets including the Colonie Relays Saturday, its own Eddy Meet and at the league and Section II championshipts later on.
"The kids start putting it together at the end of the dual season," Bennett said. "This is a good springboard."
Averill Park's Ryan Gutheil doubled in the hurdles, and Marty Bond took both throwing events.
Schenectady 109, Averill Park 74
100 - Trebor Davis (S), 11.1; 200 - Trebor Davis (S), 22.9); 400 - Ethan Violette (S), 53.0; 800 - Maazin Ahmed (S), 2:09.7); 1,600 - Maazin Ahmed (S), 4:46.50; 3,200 - Isaac Menis (S), 11:07.9; 110H - Ryan Gutheil (AP), 16.0; 400H - Ryan Gutheil (AP), 59.2; 400 relay - Schenectady, 45.1; 1,600 relay - Schenectady, 3:40.0; 3,200 relay - Schenectady, 8:36.4.
High jump - Tulell McDuffie (S), 5-9; Pole vault - Zach Hotaling (AP), 11-0; Long jump - Colin James (S), 18-5; Triple jump - Tulell McDuffie (S), 40-1 1/2; Shot put - Marty Bond (AP), 38-11 1/2; Discus - Marty Bond (AP), 113-6.