Sprint standouts Michael Hermance of Colonie and Trebor Davis of Schenectady will be among a group of eight Section II athletes competing next week at the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Sacramento.
The cast members qualified for the national July 23-28 competition by placing in the top 5 at a regional event on Long Island earlier this summer. Hermance and Davis, who recently graduated, joined rising senior Reynaldo Reid of Shaker and rising junior Loxie Shaw of Mohonasen for a first in the age 17-18 400-meter relay at the regional meet.
"That was the first time they ran together and they beat Medgar Evers, which was big," said Colonie boys' track coach Lisa Paparone, who is overseeing the national-bound group. "They broke 43 [seconds] and I anticipate they'll go much faster."
Hermance helped Colonie win a pair of 400 relay titles at the state championship meet last month. The University at Albany commit will also run the 100 dash at the Junior Olympics.
The local group will be competing in California as Sky's the Limit Track Club. Rounding out the group is Mohonasen graduates Navi Shaw (100 dash, age 17-18) and Elijah Harris (high jump, 17-18), rising Colonie junior Fabien DeSilva (400, 15-16) and rising Mohonasen sophomore Natalie Sawyer (100 hurdles, 15-16).
DeSilva and Sawyer won their events at the regional meet which included competitors from New Jersey and Connecticut as well as New York.
"This is a great opportunity to get their names out there," Paparone said.
DeSilva, Sawyer and Harris will be part of a larger cast of Section II athletes competing at the July 29-Aug. 3 AAU Junior Olympics in North Carolina. That cast will also include rising sophomores Zionna Perez-Tucker of Mohonasen, Gianna Locci of Stillwater, Rachel Garzone of Colonie and Ben Ross of Colonie, and rising juniors Olivia Chamberlain of Cobleskill-Richmondville, Dante Genovese of Colonie, Zaire Higgins of Colonie and Ethan Ehrlich of Shaker.
"It's about providing them with positive opportunities and keeping kids involved in sports," Paparone said of the summer competitions.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help defray the cost of the trips. The athletes will also be holding a car wash Saturday from 11 am. to 3 p.m. at Lorenzo's Cafe in Schenectady (1500 State Street).