CORNING - Twenty two members from the Corning Hawks track and field program as well as other area athletes will compete at the 2018 NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday.
Cicero-North Syracuse High School will be the venue as hosted by Section III. Local runners will have to make the almost two and a half hour bus ride to the event.
Corning is led by Quinn Nicholson. The Georgetown bound runner holds Corning’s highest seeding, third, in the 3,200 meter run championship. The placing would give him a state medal and all-american status, but he’s looking for more.
“My goal is to win,” said Nicholson. “I’m not sure how the race will go, whether they’ll go out fast or it will be a kick race, but either of those I’m comfortable with.”
At this same time last year, Nicholson placed 18th in the steeplechase and has seen a progression in his running and mindset.
“I think that I’ve become a lot more competitive,” he said. “A lot more confident with my abilities. With steeple, I was just out there doing my best. Now, It’s win or else. That’s my attitude.”
His coach, Joe Melanson, echoched much of the same sentiments as Nicholson.
“I’m excited about the possibility, and we’re hoping he can drop a really good time with those couple kids in front of him,” he said. “We hope he can run a good race and get in to nationals. We want him to be selfish in this race and go after it, and hopefully get a banner up there for him.”
Other medaling seeds for the Hawks include Lindsey Butler in the 800 meter run. Butler is seeded sixth in the race.
“Like everybody, I hope I can win, but I’ll take a good PR (personal record),” said Butler. “New York is one of the best track states in the country and medaling would be an awesome thing to do.”
Litia Werner is Corning’s other highest seed. The junior is seeded sixth in the discus throw.
Also for the Hawks girls, Jayla Skeete is ranked 14th in the 400 meter dash, along with being part of the 4x400 relay that also includes Elora Ferrie, Butler, Mia Colona, Liz Casey and Cleo Baker that is seeded 12th. The girls 4x800 team of Claire Mason, Skeete, Butler, Alivia Collins, Baker and Grace Bickham is seeded 13th.
Other local girls competing at the state meet include Samantha Woodworth (1,500 meter run, seeded 24th) and Madison Klein (3,000 meter run, seeded 16th) of Horseheads, Olivia Lovejoy of Elmira (2,000 meter steeplechase, seeded 18th), Alyssa Walker from Elmira Notre Dame (800 meter run, seeded 27th and 1,500 meter, seeded 15th.) and Anna Flaitz of Hornell is seeded third in the 400 meter dash.
For the Corning boys, Alex Spicer is seeded 18th in the 100 meter dash, Isaac Cornfield is seeded 11th in the 400 meter dash, Otto Sutton is seeded 17th in the 400 meter hurdles, Dan Gahagan is seeded 16th in the 800 meter run, Bryce Derrick is seeded 27th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the Hawks’ 4x400 meter relay of Jack Larson, Harrison Lynch, Cornfield, Spicer, Sam Kelly and Kyle Zaidel is seeded 10th and the team of Derrick, Nicholson, Gahagan, John Cleary, Sutton and Torrey Jacobson-Evans is seeded 14th in the 4x800 meter for Corning.
Despite the lower seedings for some of the participants, Corning head coach Joe Melanson believes that his runners will have chances to bring home medals by placing in the top six in Division I or top eight in the federation, that combines Division I and Division II races.
“We’ve got a lot of chances,” said the coach. “Alex and Isaac haven’t really had anyone push them this year, our 4x4 and 4x8 for the guys have been running ahead of everyone this season. Same with the girls 4x8 and 4x4, I’m really interested to see how we run with the good competition.”
In the steeplechase, Derrick will have to contend with a slightly different course than at other venues.
“The track up there is a little different for Bryce (Derrick), because one of the steeple barriers go to the outside instead of the inside. It’s unlike any other track we run on. We’ll get him out early Saturday morning and make sure he’s ready.”
Other local boys competing in the state meet include Trevon Alvarez (110 meter hurdles, seeded 15th) and Jesse Johnson (high jump, seeded 27th) for Horseheads, Dan Fedor of Elmira (shot put, seeded 10th), Evan McIlwain, Nathan Hough, Will Beckhorn, Ryan English and Kristopher Thompson will compete for Addison in the 4x800 (seeded 25th) and Derrick Ferguson will compete in the high jump for Bath (seeded 27th).
Events will start on Friday at 11:00 a.m. and continue until Saturday at 3:05 p.m.