Cameron Turner and Robert Jeffrey
Cameron Turner Photo
UNION-ENDICOTT – Hard work, perseverance and putting it all together – the Norwich and Unadilla Valley Track and Field varsity programs enjoyed advancing the best of their student-athletes to this year’s New York State Championship for outdoor Track and Field.
The two day meet, held at Ty Cobb Stadium at Union-Endicott High School this past weekend, June 9 and 10 – featured the best of the best.
The best of the best in NYS high school Track and Field included the likes of Norwich’s Zack Race, his 4x100m relay team (Race, David Berger, Ky’sawn Veale, and Eric Conant), Norwich’s Kara Evans and Caroline Stewart and the Norwich girls 4x800m relay team (Katie Gawronski, Nicole Jeffrey, Hailey Colabelli, and Meghan Komendarek) – as well as Unadilla Valley sprinter, Julia Oglesby.
Race dominated the field, bringing home five medals and securing a podium finish in the Federation finals (Combined finals for DI and DII schools) in the 100m and 200m dashes. Caroline Stewart would compete in two events, besting her seeding to bring home podium finishes in DII for long and triple jump – while the boys 4x100m relay team reset the NHS school record to bring home a podium finish in DII.
Norwich completes a season where both the boys and girls squad smashed multiple school records – en route to both winning the Class B Championship in the same year – an accomplishment that head coach Shaun Horan says hasn’t happened since at least 1993.
Full results for the 2017 New York State Championship for outdoor Track and Field can be found online at www.leonetiming.com/2017/Outdoor/States/
• Norwich’s Zack Race – five podium finishes in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay
Race, just a junior and having now officially completed his second year of track and field – just might be the most improved state class sprinter in NYS – and that is saying something with regard to a sprinter who made a podium finish at states in their first year of competition.
Race entered the NYS Championship seeded fifth in the 100m dash and third in the 200m dash.
“You’ve got to go back to last year. That was really his (Race’s) first full year of track and I think he was glad to make the state meet last year. Even though he medaled in the 200 (in 2016), he barely made the finals, and that was just for small schools,” said Norwich head coach Shaun Horan. “This year he ran some great races, only missing a PR by .02 in the 100m, and that got him to federation finals. The goal really was to place as high as he possible could in Division II. He was really in contention for that DII state title in the 200. If it was a 210m race it might have been a different story.”
Race put together a stellar performance on the weekend, bringing home five medals for Norwich High School – starting with his very first performance on the track, the 100m dash.
Facing a strong wind, Race busted out a 10.93 in the preliminary round of the event on Friday. This mark – of a sub 11 second race – was met by just three sprinters in DII, Race being the third – all other DII sprinters ran in the 11 second range.
“Last year he came to experience it. But this year, he stepped up in every aspect. He improved in every single spot,” said Norwich sprinting coach Phil Curley. “He brought home five medals, which is really impressive. He tied his personal best 100m at 10.93), into a headwind.”
Heading into the finals of the DII 100m dash, Race was seeded third. Emerging from the group of eight runners, Race was ranked third, running a time of 11.13 – only losing to Jaheim Jones of Lourdes at 10.97 and Kabongo Barry of Spackenkill at 11.04.
Although an 11 second 100m was not the goal, this mark still advanced Race to the Federation finals later on Saturday.
Nigel Green of William Floyd would take home the gold in the event with a 10.80 – earning him an outright state championship. However, Race is now marked as the seventh fastest sprinter in NYS, as he finished seventh in the Federation finals, running a 11.16.
“He went from just trying to bring home one medal last year, and this year he brought home five medals. It is pretty incredible,” said coach Horan. “As much as he has improved, he knows he still has work to do. He is still very focused and trying to improve, and working hard. He hasn’t settled in.”
Race wasn’t done yet, his best event on the track was still to come – the 200m dash.
“States was amazing, clearly the competition is the best of the best so being able to compete with those caliber of guys is truly a blessing. As far as times go, yeah I’m not gonna lie I’m a tad disappointed, but even when I’m not having my greatest of days I still made federation in both my events,” said Race of his performance over the weekend. “Yes that’s something to be proud of, and for now I am, but for me I don’t like to settle in.”
The 200m dash saw Race blow out the competition on Friday in the preliminary round – running a time of 22.05 and winning his qualifying heat.