VESTAL – Chenango County can point to three athletes who ended the 2010 track and field season as the best in the state.
Greene junior Chad Noelle won two Division II state titles, the first track and field state championships in Greene school history, Oxford junior Katie Woodford repeated as a state champion, and B-G/Afton senior, Chris Burnett, put a wrap on his high school career garnering top-medal honors.
Woodford, sixth in the state in the 400-meter dash as a freshman, set a school record en route to a state title last year. Over the past three weeks this season, she has consistently lowered her times, and ran a 55.68 in the finals to eclipse her previous-best time – set a week prior at the Section IV state qualifier – by nearly a second. “My goal last week (at the state qualifier) was to run 56.99, and I beat that,” Woodford said. “I just thought I’d run my race this week, and hopefully I would win. Around 300 meters, I was wondering where people were, and I didn’t hear anyone behind me, but I felt good. I slowed down at end, but I knew it was faster than usual.”
Woodford only ran the 400 meters the last six weeks of the season. She suffered a broken collarbone – her third such break – before the season, and wore a modified brace so that she could continue to stay in shape. Because of the pain she endured pumping her arms, she was limited to the 100-meter dash and the 400-meter relay until early May. “It tells you what kind of athlete she is,” said Oxford coach Irene DeJager of Woodford. “She started the season running the 400 in 60 seconds, and to drop into the 55s, that’s just phenomenal. Whenever she steps on the track, I’m never surprised by what she does.”