Corning swept to boys and girls team titles in Thursday’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference track & field championships on a cloud-covered but dry evening at Windsor High.
The winning boys score of 104 points made for a 22-point margin over runner-up Ithaca and brought the Hawks a third consecutive championship. Corning’s girls won in runaway fashion, totaling 130 points to 76 for runner-up Elmira. Binghamton was third with 66.
STAC records were established in both steeplechase races, with John McCarthy of Corning posting a 9-minute, 11.86-second clocking over 3,000 meters, and Katie Butler of Corning going 7:00.46 over 2,000 meters for the girls standard.
Corning freshman Jessica Lawson ran 4:31.86, a STAC best in the 1,500. Lawson came back with a win in the tightest and oddest race of the meet, the 3,000 — same distance at which she claimed state supremacy indoors.
Lawson ran 10:04.97 to a 10:04.99 for Union-Endicott sophomore Emily Mackay — and oddity followed Mackay for a second consecutive meet. On this day, the gun to signal onset of the final lap was fired one lap prematurely, making for momentary confusion on the part of competitors.
Lawson took the lead from Mackay early in the final lap, then had to fend off a spirited charge by the rapidly improving Lady Tiger down the homestretch.
“I didn’t know what to think,” said Mackay. “The official was holding a 2 (indicating two laps remaining) and then he shot the gun. I was like, OK, which one is it? People were shouting ‘Two to go! Two to go!’ I didn’t know who to believe.
“I slowed down a little bit but not too much.”
For Mackay, also runner-up in the 1,500, the 3,000 time represented an unfathomable drop of about 30 seconds from her previous best, established in last Saturday’s Parkhurst Invitational. That day, while on the final lap of the 1,500, an official called an end to the race due to weather concerns — but runners forged on.
Of Thursday’s improvement in the 3,000 she said: “I didn’t know I had that in me, honestly. I’d never been pushed like that in the 3,000 before. I didn’t know I had a chance to even keep up with her. I thought she was going to be ahead of me for the entire time. I just ran my own race, went out with the speed I thought I could run.
“It tells me that I have come a long way since the beginning of the year. I’m still processing it.”
Vestal junior Kyle Kulp is proving to be quite the quick study in his first season of track after shifting over from the lacrosse field. Five days after claiming the Parkhurst Invitational 400 hurdles title, he improved his best once again with a 56.6-second clocking that was 2½ seconds faster than next-best.
Kulp has rapidly risen into the role of top Golden Bear in that event, with teammate Chris Murphy sidelined with an ankle injury.
“My technique might not be the best, but in between hurdles I have the speed and catch up to the other people,” he said. ” … Every race, I just try to cut half-a-second or a little more than that. I haven’t peaked yet, so I don’t know where I’m going to finish.”
As for the switch from lacrosse: “Just thought I’d try something new, see if I was any good at track. I was pretty good at lacrosse but I was thinking I wouldn’t get that far in that, thought maybe I’d get farther here. “
Dylan Hunt made it a Vestal sweep of the boys hurdles, running 14.87 seconds for a comfortable margin. Hunt came back with a winning 22.81 in the 200. On Saturday at the Parkhurst Invitational, he false-started out of the 110 hurdles preliminary as the No. 1 seed.
“I really tried to focus on not false-starting, that was my main goal,” he said. “So once I got through prelims it was nice to know I wasn’t going to false-start, and then in finals I figured I’d just run like any other race.”
Asked if he is more prone to jump the gun than the average runner, he said, “Probably not, I’m just a little more paranoid about it.”
The first surprise of the afternoon came in the meet’s first event, the boys 3,000 steeplechase. McCarthy of Corning half-lapped top-seeded Cody Brizzolara of Maine-Endwell for the winning 9:11.86 to the runner-up’s 10:03.96. Brizzolara appeared off his game from the start, and Spartans coach Mike Cordi said his ace’s asthma and allergies factored into his outing.
Top-seeded Alex Laubert of Maine-Endwell won the girls 100 hurdles by nearly a second with a 15.96-second clocking. Binghamton sophomore Nicole Leo ran a strong 400 and held off Ithaca’s Lauren Trumble for the title, 57.58 to 58.0. Vestal’s Kari Stromhaug repeated as pole vault champion, though experimenting with a new pole.
Vestal’s Mike Egotanda doubled in the long and triple jumps, going 22-11¾ in the former and 47-4 in the latter — eclipsing 47 feet for a second consecutive meet. This is a young man who figures to be heard from in both events come state championships next month.
Dan Dracup of Ithaca zipped through the 1,600 in a tidy 4:19, fending off a 4:20.17 by Owego’s James Felice. Sammy Davis of U-E ran 11.26 as 100-meter champion, and Norwich’s Matt Murray did 1:58.28 as 800 winner.
Susquehanna Valley high jumpers finished 1-2 in the boys competition, Marquis Jackson’s 6-4 clearance besting Justin Freije’s 6-2.