After spending the fall season running with a helmet and pounds of padding, having to zig and zag in an attempt to avoid tacklers, the indoor track and field season might have come as a relief to Jaheim Jones.
The sophomore had a breakout season as a tailback for the Our Lady of Lourdes High School football team. But this winter, he is having just as impressive a campaign as a standout on the Warriors track team.
Able to run free now without obstruction and cumbersome equipment — or fear of being hit — Jones has starred as a sprinter and now is within reach of earning a berth to the state tournament.
Sections 1 and 9 will host their indoor track and field state qualifying tournaments simultaneously on Friday, with a slew of local runners seeking entrance to the state meet on March 4 at Ocean Breeze Track and Field Facility on Staten Island.
READ: Arlington wins boys, girls Northern County track titles
The Section 9 qualifier begins at 5 p.m. at West Point. The Section 1 event starts at the same time at The Armory in New York City.
Jones is seeded first in the 55-meter dash in the Section 1 qualifier, having clocked a season-best 6.61 seconds in the event. John Jay’s Shawn Morton and Arlington’s Ricardo Yolas, himself a star running back for the Admirals, are also competing in that race.
“We might have to find more football players,” Arlington girls track coach Brian Powers joked. “They’re good athletes. The ones who have come out for track have done well for us.”
Lourdes standout Caroline Timm — though related to a few, isn’t a football player — took third in the girls 1,500 in the state tournament last year. She is seeded third in that event and the 1,000 entering the qualifier.
Joe Morrison of Arlington is seeded first in the boys 1,000 and 1,600 races, and teammate Timothy Criss is third in the weight throw. The Admirals’ 3,200 relay team of Morrison, Matt Dillon, Michael Asselmeyer and Mark Scanlon also is seeded first.
“(Morrison) threw his hat in the ring as a sophomore and the rest is history,” Arlington boys coach Steve Arnett said. “He’s the kind of kid who shows up and you look to the sky and say, ‘Thank you!’”
The Arlington boys and girls teams won titles at the Northern Counties championship last month and, for years, have forged a reputation as an elite program in the area.
Pawling’s Katelyn Huggard is seeded 12th in the girls 3,000 and the Arlington trio Riley Loughlin, Mikayla Anderson and Madeline Garrett also will compete in the event. Ben Muro of Pawling is seeded 14th in the boys 55 hurdles.
John Jay’s Noah Mikstay is seeded fourth in the boys high jump. Teammate Khiara Young is seeded fifth in the girls 300.
Jacob Baker of Roy C. Ketcham is ninth in the boys pole vault, and Ketcham’s girls 800 relay team is seeded sixth.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose boys and girls teams captured Mid-Hudson Athletic League titles three weeks ago, has several athletes in the running at the Section 9 meet.
“We had never won a MHAL title before last year and now we’ve got four,” Roosevelt coach Brian Halling said, referring to his team also having won both MHAL titles in cross country last fall. “The program is definitely on the rise and doing better. We want to do well this weekend and take it another step.”
Roosevelt freshman Sarah Trainor is seeded second in the girls 1,500 (4:54.85) and teammate Nadia Cathcart is seeded 15th. Webutuck’s Taylor Edmundson also will compete in the race.
The Presidents’ boys 1,600 relay team of Markese Shelby, Keshawn Mack, Ramasoj Williams and Devante Pavelock is seeded fourth.
New Paltz’s Dagi Tadesse is favored to win the boys pole vault, having posted a height of 15 feet, a foot above the second-best qualifier. Teammate Dylan Scribani is seeded fourth, and Mike Gottstine is seeded third in the triple jump. Rosalind Bendell, a wide receiver on the New Paltz football team, is seeded 11th in the girls 1,500.
Poughkeepsie sophomore Kyla Browne is seeded fourth in the girls 55 hurdles and Dwayne Smith is sixth in the boys 300. The Pioneers are seeded sixth in the boys 800 relay.
Dover’s Jaquon Futrell — another football standout, by the way — is seeded third in the boys long jump and 12th in the 55. Teammate Martin Mathius is slotted first in the shot put. Dovers’ Crystal Hughes is seeded third in the girls 55.
Pine Plains’ Dylan Lawless in seeded fifth in the high jump and 12th in the long jump. Teammate Lion Vegas 17th in the boys 300.
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4
State indoor track and field qualifiers
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: The Armory Track and Field Center in Manhattan
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Gillis Field House at West Point