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Patriots had extra motivation on the track

Patriots had extra motivation on the track

Schenectady sending 11boys to state meet
Patriots had extra motivation on the track
Schenectady track coach Joe Bennett lost his hair when two of his relay teams reached the state meet.
Photographer: JIM SCHILTZ/GAZETTE SPORTSWRITER

SCHENECTADY -- Kevin Jackson, Jeremiah Davis, Malakai Myles and Trebor Davis already had plenty of motivation, knowing a fast effort in the 400-meter relay would lead to a spot at the state track and field championships.

Schenectady head coach Joe Bennett provided a bit more by putting his hair on the line, and then something special happened at last week's Section II state meet qualifier at Shenendehowa. Soon after, it happened again.

"I brought the clippers to the state qualifier," Bennett said. "I pulled the case out and put it on the bench and told them what I would do if we had a relay team make it. The relay thing has been a monkey on our back. We've come close."

The 400 relay group won in 42.93 to earn their way to Cicero-North Syracuse for the Friday and Saturday state meet. And Schenectady's 1,600 relay foursome of Keegan Cochrane, Lamont Walters, Corey Anderson and Naseem Kimble prevailed, too, clocking a 3:25.54.

"I thought he was playing around," said Jeremiah Davis, a freshman. "I didn't think he was going to let us do it."

Bennett's hair was gone before the Patriots headed back to Schenectady.

"He said if we get a relay to states, you guys can cut my hair, and we made the bet," said Walters, a senior. "That's a big reason why so many guys are going to states,"

Schenectady is sending an all-time high of 11 boys to the state meet, and they'll represent the high school in seven Division 1 events in both track and field. That total is another capstone for a team that this spring won the Suburban Council championship meet and finished second at the Colonie Relays, the Eddy Meet and at the sectionals.

"I was super excited about our seven kids going to the indoor states," Bennett said. "This is even better, and almost every one of them won outright [at the qualifier]. I'm excited to hear their names over the loudspeaker."

TreborDavis (100), Walters (400) and Cochrane (800), Adrian Sanders (shot put) and Aaliuz Mack (pentathlon) will compete in individual events, and Shemar Delphin is a relay alternate. Maazin Ahmed, the state 1,600 indoor champ, is skipping the outdoor meet due to several other commitments.

"We want to get our best times and performances of the season, and if we can get on the podium [top six], that would be great," Bennett said. "We just have to go out and perform."

Schenectady's 1,600 relay group did that, and caught a few breaks, in winning the qualifier as the No. 5 seed in a season-best 3:25.54 ahead of Saratoga Springs (3:28.54).

"In the relays, you never know what's going to happen," Bennett said. "Bethlehem was No. 1 [seed] and they opted not to run. Shenendehowa's anchor pulled up. Things fell in our favor, but the boys still had to run and run hard.

"It was fitting that Naseem was involved in that because he's put in a bang-up season for us and has gotten overshadowed a little bit."

Mack missed out on the state meet last year when schoolmate Tallel McDuffy edged him by one point in the pentathlon at the qualifier. McDuffy was Schenectady's lone state meet representative in 2017. Mack won last Friday by 159 points.

"I set a goal to go. Now I have to set a new goal," said Mack, a senior. "My best is 3,051 and I want 3,150. I have to go further and faster in everything. I've got to push myself."

The Schenectady guys have been pushing each other throughout the winter and spring seasons.

"We boost each other up," Mack said. "We all motivate each other."

Bennett does not believe his cast will be intimidated by the competition. Cochrane, Walters, Trebor Davis, Myles and Jackson all have indoor state meet experience.

"That's why we went to New York City so many times [this winter]," Bennett said. "They hear these names. They know they're in the mix."

Bennett stressed all this week how critical the Friday running preliminaries will be.

"I told them to treat the prelims like it's a final," Bennett said. "If you don't, you won't advance. Our goal is to have as many runners on Saturday as possible."

Trebor Davis in the 100 and Walters in the 400 will be Schenectady's first to see preliminary action Friday.

"My thought is to get to the podium. Hopefully first place," Walters said. "I didn't come this far to get dusted out."

TOP SEEDS

Section II's top seeds in Division 1 are Shea Weilbaker of Saratoga Springs (No. 1, 3,200), Alexandra Tudor of Shenendehowa (long jump, No. 1), Alana Carroll of Averill Park (No. 1, pole vault), Shenendehowa's girls' 3,200 relay (No. 1), Kelsey Chmiel of Saratoga Springs (No. 2, 3,000), Kirk Francis of Saratoga Springs (No. 2, long jump), Hannah Reale of Shenendehowa (No. 2, 800) and Bethlehem's boys' 3,200 relay (No. 2).

Section II's top seeds in Division 2 are Ama Boham of Ichabod Crane (No. 1, 100 hurdles), Brittany Castelluccio of Fonda-Fultonville (No. 1, long jump), Sharde Johnson of Emma Willard (high jump, No. 1), Michael Gabriel of Greenwich (No. 2, discus), Gabby Stanavich of Amsterdam (No. 3, 100 hurdles), and Natalie Ricci of Cohoes (No. 3, 100).

Reale has won a pair of state D1 800 titles. Among the Section II second-place finishers last year were Tudor in the D1 triple jump and Shane Racey of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk in the D2 pole vault.

SECTION II STATE TEAM

BOYS

Division 1

100 - Tie 15. Trebor Davis (Schen), 11.03; 21. Michael Hermance (Colo), 11.16; 200 - 15. Nan Xie (Beth), 22.38; 400 - 14. Lamont Walters (Schen), 49.85; 800 - 7. Noah Tindale (Guild), 1:54.33; 14. Keegan Cochrane (Schen), 1:55.78; 1,600 - 8. Matt Cavaliere (Beth), 4:17.61; 10. Donnovan Tucker (Nisk), 4:17.95; 3,200 - Shea Weilbaker (Sara), 8:59.46; 5. Tyler Berg (BH), 9:17.45; 110HH - 7. Josiah Kemp (Colo), 14.41; 400IH - 15. Jeremy Chen (Shak), 57.00; 3,000 steeplechase - 5. Marty Dolan (Nisk), 9:29.46 12. Tim Dwyer (BS), 9:43.11; 400 relay - 10. Schenectady (Kevin Jackson, Jeremiah Davis, Malakai Myles, Trebor Davis), 42.93; 1,600 relay - 11. Schenectady (Keegan Cochrane, Lamont Walters, Corey Anderson, Naseem Kimble), 3:25.54; 3,200 relay - 2. Bethlehem (Kyle Culley, Jack Huber, Riley Grossman, Matt Cavaliere), 7:48.82; 5. Saratoga (Ryan Postlethwait, Ezra Ruggles, Peter Moller, Shea Weilbaker), 7:50.66; High jump - Tie 16. Jonathan Ray (Shen), 6-4; Tie 16. Cooper Zwanka (Colu), 6-4; Pole vault - Tie 8. Casey Gribben (Shen), 14-9; Long jump - 2. Kirk Francis (Sara), 23-5 1/4; AJ Weinstein (Colu), 22-8 3/4; Triple jump - 4. AJ Weinstein (Colu), 46-8 3/4; 6. Riese Ninstant (Shak), 45-11; Shot put - 10. Adrian Sanders (Schen), 49-3 3/4; Discus - 11. James Cocca (AP), 152-2; Pentathlon - 10. Aaliuz Mack (Schen), 3,051.

Division 2

100 - 14. Jaylen Pritchett (HF), 11.35; 200 - 12. Jaylen Pritchett (HF), 22.89; 400 - 10. Josh Jeffes (SG), 50.95; 800 - 26. Antonio Beltran (Schal), 1:59.40; 1,600 - 26. Peyton Howard (Grwch), 4:29.98; 3,200 - 7. Chris Hughes (GF), 9:19.30; 110HH - 10. Andrew Towse (Canajo), 15.33; 11. Htat Lwin (Rens), 15.35; 400IH - 16. Andrew Towse (Canajo), 58.37; 3,000 steeplechase - 22. Henry Goca (Rens), 10:07.79; 400 relay - 11. Rensselaer (Tyrese Smith, Htat Lwin, Ehdo Kyi, Salah Harris), 44.67; 1,600 relay - 10. Schalmont (Francisco Beltran, Jacob Wilson, Antonio Beltran, Hunter Fallat), 3:29.10; 3,200 relay - 21. Schalmont (Francisco Beltran, Jacob Wilson, Hunter Fallat, Antonio Beltran), 8:10.98; High jump - 27. Andrew Yacobucci (Canajo), 6-2; 35. Dominic Jack (SG), 6-1; Pole vault - Tie 5. Shane Racey (RCS), 15-0; 26. Chris Wagner (BP), 13-3; 15. Long jump - Xavier Nixon (Rens), 20-8; Triple jump - 8. Sean Meher (BP), 44-6; Shot put - 5. Michael Gabriel (Grwch), 53-8 1/2; 9. Trever Rose (HV), 51-4 1/2; Discus - 2. Michael Gabriel (Grwch), 154-1; 4. Tim Dahl (CR), 151-1; Pentathlon - 20. Ahmad Praileau (AA), 2,805.

GIRLS

Division 1

100 - 16. Lydia Ware (AP), 12.43; 200 - 17. Brenda Santana (Amst), 26.30; 400 - 10. Lauren Santiago (Amst), 57.69; Bethan Chilton (Sara), 58.64; 800 - 2. Hannah Reale (Shen), 2:10.68; 1,500 - 10. Amelia Kokernak (Nisk), 4:41.46; 3,000 - 2. Kelsey Chmiel (Sara), 9:29.28; 3. Abigail Spiers (Nisk), 9:51.02; 100HH - 3. Gabby Stanavich (Amst), 14.53; 12. Isabel Caprood (Q), 15.09; 400IH - 13. Julia Barker (Shak), 65.72; 2,000 steeplechase -13. Faith DeMars (BS), 7:02.43; 400 relay - 8. Shenendehowa (Alexandra Tudor, Rachel Sterle, Lauren Daigle, Kelly Hamlin), 48.45; 10. Colonie (Tola Osipitan, Ianah Mackey, Corrine Jackson, Navi Shaw), 48.76; 1,600 relay - 8. Niskayuna (Megan Daviero, Zoe Harris, Marissa Wise, Kristina Koes), 3:56.52; 9. Amsterdam (Brenda Santana, Gabby Stanavich, Olivia Lazarou, Lauren Santiago), 3:56.87; 3,200 relay - 1. Shenendehowa (Hannah Reale, Jade Dennis, Jada Dennis, Olivia Lomascolo), 9:03.62; High jump - Tie 5. Anna Evans (Sara), 5-5; Tie 16. Carolina Peyron (Shen), 5-3; Pole vault - 1. Alana Carroll (AP), 13-6; 10. Lena Calkins (Mohon), 11-3; Long jump - 1. Alexandra Tudor (Shen), 19-2; Tie 7. Isabella Bruno (Guild), 18-5; Triple jump - 5. Isabella Bruno (Guild), 38-7; 6. Alexandra Tudor (Shen), 38-5 1/4; Shot put - 13. Journey Myricks (Shak), 35-5; Discus - 5. Chidalu Anameze (Shen), 126-9; 13. Journey Myricks (Shak), 120-10; Pentathlon - Tie 13. Hailey Ballard (Q), 2,943; 18. Jensen Kingsley (Sara), 2,857.

Division 2

100 - 3. Natalie Ricci (Coh), 12.29; Tie 11. Chynna Lockenwitz (TH), 12.61; 200 - 4. Natalie Ricci (Coh), 25.38; 400 - Tie 8. Mia D'Ambrosio (Schal), 58.45; 800 - 25. Juliana Geniti (SG), 2:16.03; 1,500 - 23. Abby Dolge (IC), 4:53.35; 3,000 - 17. Brynne Wright (Grwch),10:27.08; 100HH - 1. Ama Bohan (IC), 14.97; 4. Lucia D'Acchille (Grwch), 15.63; 400IH - 8. Abigail Gottung (John), 65.76; 2,000 steeplechase - 22. Brynne Wright (Grwch), 7:14.19; 400 relay - 6. Cohoes (Hannah Ragule, Alexis Stratton, Caileigh Miron, Natalie Ricci), 50.27; Hudson Falls (Autum Bryant, Ashleigh Lacy, Emily Sherman, Kayleigh Lacy), 50.35; 1,600 relay - 11. Stillwater (Faith Sheehan, Avery Hebert, Brooke Pickett, Kyleigh Frank), 4:06.81; 3,200 relay - 19. Greenwich (Emma Cronin, Quinn Collins, Emily Skiff, Nina Sgambelluri), 9:39.16; High jump - 1. Sharde Johnson (EW), 5-8; Tie 32. Rachel Wnuk (Gal), 5-1; Pole vault - 20. Emily Schaeffer (Duan), 10-3; Tie 24. Ava Tyler (BP), 9-9; Long jump - 1. Brittany Castelluccio (FF), 18-6 1/2; Tie 6. Olivia Chamberlain (CR), 17-8 1/4; Triple jump - 6. Tori Whimple (MH), 37-10 1/2; 7. Brittany Castelluccio (FF), 37-5; Shot put -7. Madison Krochina (Stil), 38-8 1/4; Discus - 4. Madison Kruchina (Stil), 130-7; Pentathlon - 28. Caitlyn Burns (SG), 2,513.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, jims@dailygazette.com or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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