Seniors Matt Murray of Norwich, Cody Brizzolara of Maine-Endwell and Mike Egotanda of Vestal will look to revisit the top level of state championships’ awards platforms when high school track & field season concludes in June at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
All have claimed a state title — Murray and Egotanda indoors and Brizzolara outdoors — and will be among leading contenders from Section 4 this time around.
Here is a look at how the boys’ season shapes up:
Elmira’s sprint crew is headed by Jerry McPeak, indoor sectional 55-meter champion and a member of the Express’ 800-meter relay quartet that placed seventh in states. New to the squad is another ace from the football team, Eli Thomas.
Mande Semon of Ithaca is back to defend his Section 4 100-meter championship, claimed last year with a 10.9-second clocking. Dryden’s Liam Joyce qualified for indoor states in the 300m after winning IAC 100 and 200 titles last spring.
Colin LaSalle was leadoff man for M-E’s 400 relay that was DII runner-up to Sidney in the State Qualifier, and Union-Endicott’s Sammy Davis returns for one final outdoor season.
Norwich’s Murray was indoor state champion at 600 meters as a junior, .24 faster than his nearest pursuer — and was runner-up last month by .23. Reigning STAC champion at 400 and 800 meters, he was sixth-best overall (1:53.39) in the state 800 final at Middletown. As a sophomore, he was DII state runner-up in the 400.
Ithaca’s Dan Dracup, sectional Class A cross country champion in the fall, ran second and Murray third in last year’s outdoor sectional 800. Jesse Ingraham is the lone holdover from Chenango Forks’ defending sectional 3,200 relay champions, and has been under two minutes for 800. Elmira’s Ricky Houghtelling was third-place 300 runner in indoor sectionals.
Johnson City’s Charles Burrell ran second among DII athletes in the outdoor State Qualifier. Pedro Arias of Binghamton ran third in the indoor sectionals’ 600, and the Pats’ 1,600 relay team ran a first-place 3:35.09. Grayson Hoteling of M-E was a 2:02 800 runner as in his lone 1,600 clocked a 4:38.
Maine-Endwell’s Brizzolara is defending DII state 3,000-meter steeplechase champion. His 9:26.27 clocking was 35 seconds faster than the next-best DII underclassman in the field. Brizzolara added a sixth-place showing among Class B state cross country runners in November, and will be a factor in the 3,200 this spring.
John McCarthy of Corning finished that state steeplechase race eight seconds ahead of Brizzolara, good for fourth in DI. The Hawks’ distance crew is abundantly stocked with a cast featuring Sam Chauvin and McCarthy, indoor sectional champions at 3,200 and 1,600 meters, respectively, and Tom Moshier, fifth in indoor states’ 1,000m.
M-E’s group includes Nate Smith, who intends to focus on the 1,600 though he has bettered 9:50 in the 3,200, as well as sophomores Dan Schaffer (sub-10:00 as a freshman) and Grayson Hoteling (4:38 in his lone 1,600).
Susquehanna Valley’s Richard Buchanan is a veteran of two state meets apiece in cross country and indoor track.
Vestal teammates Dylan Hunt and Chris Murphy ran 1-2 at 55 meters in indoor sectionals, after finishing second and fourth, respectively, in outdoor sectionals’ 110 hurdles. Seth Spicer of Corning was third-place pentathlete in the State Qualifier, and figures to gain his share of points as a thrower and hurdler. He ran third behind the Vestal pair in indoor sectionals’ 55m hurdles.
Billy Adams of Johnson City is the section’s top returning discus thrower, and is looking to regain his form after mending from ACL surgery. The top three sectional finishers in the indoor shot were Seth Spicer of Corning, Anders Presthus of Lansing and Jon Fleming of Elmira.
Vestal’s Egotanda went 22-11¾ as indoor state long jump champion, and last spring was No. 3 in outdoor sectionals on a 22-3½ effort. Oh, and he opened with a tidy 15.5-second zip through 110-meter hurdles this week at Elmira.
Ithaca’s Semon went 45-7¼ for top 2013 sectional honors in the triple jump. Adarius France of Corning is a quality jumper who ran a leg of the Hawks’ sectional runner-up 400 relay team.
Johnson City sophomore Jean-Woudson Jean-Francois qualified for indoor states in the long jump and 55m. Akiirayi Ademoyo of Seton CC was fourth among Class D triple jumpers, and will run the 100 and 200. M-E soph Mike Palmer high-jumped 6-3½ indoors and will also sprint. U-E soph Tyler Hubeny qualified for indoor states as No. 2 man in the sectional high jump. Marquis Jackson is a 6-4 high jumper seeking a return to the state meet.
The Lansing duo of Dylan Bland and Max Jordan placed 1-2 in indoor sectionals. Another formidable pair will be Corning’s Ben Bliss and Nino Prestigiacomo, the latter a newcomer already over 12-0. Nick Baxter of Windsor is reigning STAC champion and was second in outdoor sectionals.