More than a dozen mid-Hudson Valley track and field athletes will represent Section 1 in Ithaca come early March.
Several standouts from Arlington, Our Lady of Lourdes and Beacon high schools will compete at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championship Meet at Cornell University on March 5, after earning bids at the Section 1 state qualifier Sunday at The Armory in New York.
The Beacon qualifiers were led by Rayvon Grey who clinched titles in the boys long jump (23 feet, eight 3/4 inches) and triple jump (48-01).
Behind Grey in the long jump was Beacon’s Terrel Davis with a leap of 21-10 1/2 to qualify in second place. Davis also finished third in the high jump (6-0) and qualified for states, as a third-place finisher who had surpassed the state-qualifying standard (6-4) previously this season.
Also qualifying for the Bulldogs were David Adams with a first-place finish in the boys 55-meter hurdles (7.70), the boys 800 relay team of Davis, Adams, Grey and Tony Kaikai (first place, 1:31.00) and sophomore Jummie Akinwunmi, who took second in the girls high jump (5-2).
“I love getting underclassmen up there to states,” Beacon coach Jim Henry said. “(Akinwunmi) can go up there (to states) with no expectations. … And it’s important for her to go up there and get the experience with the top competition. Once you’ve made it up (to states) as an underclassman, you’re not overwhelmed by the experience anymore,” Henry said.
Beacon’s Ian Soares will accompany the 800 relay team to the state contest, running in place of Davis, who will be unavailable during the trials. Davis will however run in a possible finals race, Henry said.
State-bound for Lourdes are Zachary Ropes, Jaheim Jones and Caroline Timm. Ropes paced the boys in the 600 (first place, 1:23.65) and Jones took second in the boys 55 (6.55), while Timm had a second-place finish in the girls 1,500 (4:35.78).
The Arlington boys 3,200 relay team of Eric Sbrollini, John Furcick, Joe Morrison and Reece Ragusa took first place in a time of 8:04.40 to qualify.
Arlington also qualified Parish Durham and Devere Knight. Durham took first in the boys high jump (6 feet, three inches), while Knight finished fourth in the 600 (1:24.68) to advance as “the first finisher who was a non-qualifier,” according to Arlington coach Steve Arnett, and thus will compete in the intersectional relay at the state meet.
“We take a lot of pride in the (3,200 relay),” Arnett said. His Admiral team won the Section 1 event last year, placed second in the state, and he considers the relay an Arlington “trademark.”
The coach admitted, though, that the relay team entered Sunday’s meet with “a certain amount of trepidation. …You either win and go to the state meet, or you go home,” he said.
Of the Admiral foursome, only Furcick will run the baton for his first time at states. The three others — Sbrollini, Morrison and Ragusa — ran with James Asselmeyer, who now attends Duke University, in last year’s state meet.
The Admiral relay team will invariably face West Islip in Ithaca, Arnett lamented, a team that has bested Arlington in the event on several occasions. “They’ve always been just a little out of reach,” he said. “But we’ll see. It’s not like we don’t know who they are, and they sure know who we are. … And that’s why we run the races,” added the coach.
Arnett also looks forward to the performances of Durham and Knight at the championships. “Durham has been working hard,” Arnett said, “…and stands a reasonable chance at reaching the podium at states.”
“He has the ability, but the question is can he be clean throughout (each high jump attempt). If he cleans 6-4, and doesn’t miss at low heights, he will have a good chance,” Arnett said.
Arlington’s Elisabeth Banroijen also competed at the qualifier and placed third in the girls weight throw, setting a personal record with a toss of 38-11, but fell just shy of the 40-foot standard to qualify.
“We’re trying to find a high-school sanctioned meet for her right now, if she hits 40-feet she’ll go to states.”
Section 9 will hold its state qualifying meet Friday and Saturday at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Rob Gabriele: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4884, Twitter: @PoJoRob