June 10, 2010


Local athletes on big stage

Staff Writers

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championship make a return to Section 4 (Southern Tier) Friday and Saturday. The Division I and II Championships take place Friday and Saturday as well as Federation Championships, which includes the PSAL, CHSAA and AIS athletes joining the mix Saturday. Action begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday at Vestal High School’s Dick Hoover Stadium.
Dryden High School again send the most local athletes as five Purple Lions will join two Homer Central athletes in Division II competition. Cortland High sends one competitor to the Division I competition.
Representing Dryden are seniors Tim Scheftic, Tyler Beck and Beth Schwab, along with junior Sam Rugg and eighth-grader Jordan Hackworth.
Homer is represented by senior Andrew Gregg and junior Bori Tozser.
The lone Purple Tiger is junior Nacirema Mann, who will compete in the girls’ long jump Friday.
CORTLAND HIGH COACH Ron Reed assesses Mann’s chances: “On a good day there’s no doubt in my mind she could do it. In a two-week span, from the league meet, where she was second in 15-feet-8.25 inches, through the Section 3, A-2 meet, where she won at 16-0.25, and then last week’s state qualifier, where she was second at 17-10.75 and met the state qualifying standard (17-2.5), she improved by more than two feet. The key was analyzing her technique; she had been stutter-stepping before she got to the takeoff board, slowing her down. My assistant, John Busch, and I worked with her on her approach, and she practiced it so many times that she knows she’s going to hit the board.
“Jen Clayton from Suffern has won long jump at states twice already, and went 20-10.75 last summer (at the IAAF World Youth Championships),’ he continued. “Her best this season has been 19-10.5. The top eight from Divisions I and II combined on Friday qualify for the overall state event on Saturday, and the cutoff should be around 17-1.”
DRYDEN HIGH has four returning athletes to the state meet in Division II. Scheftic, Rugg, Schwab and Beck were at the state meet in 2009. Hackworth is making his first trip as an eighth-grader.
Scheftic is the second seed in the boys’ long jump.
“Tim’s goal is to win the D2 long jump championship and become the seventh Dryden Track athlete to be a State Champion,” coach Lee Stuttle said.
Hackworth is also competing in the long jump and is seeded third.
“Jordan wants to be in the top three on Friday and jump high 22s to 23 feet,” Stuttle stated.
Rugg returns to compete in the pentathlon and enters the competition as the sixth seed.
“Sam’s goal is to medal, hopefully second, and hit 3200 points,” Stuttle said. “If Sam hits 3,200 points, which he is capable of, there is no doubt in my mind he will place in the top three.”
Beck qualified in the 800m run and he is seeded seventh.
Tyler’s goal is to medal and run in the low 1:55- low 1:56 range,” Stuttle stated.
Schwab has much the same goal as the eighth-seed in the 2,000m steeplechase.
“Beth’s goal is to medal and run in the 7:10 range,” Stuttle said.
Stuttle added these observations about his track quintet.
“I believe all the kids have a great chance at a medal and reaching their goals,” he said. “Practices have gone to plan and the kids are excited about Friday and Saturday. It should help that we have competed at Vestal two times this year.
“Tim no doubt has a great shot at the Division State title and Jordan seems to step up at the big meets,” Stuttle continued. “For an eighth-grader he is very mature and able to handle the situation no matter how big. Tim and Jordan seem to thrive off of one another. Tim has been a great teammate for Jordan, helping him along the way even though Jordan has the potential to beat him. It will be great to see both of them on the medal stand Friday evening. Tyler and Beth are ending awesome high school track careers. Both will be known as the best distance runners in Dryden history to date. Beth and Tyler both have 4 school records. With their determination and fight in their races it will be a joy to see both of these kids medal, they have been unbelievable for the Dryden Track program.”
GREGG IS CAPPING on outstanding career as a Trojan with his return to the State Meet while Tozser is completing a very solid junior season of cross-country and track. Gregg is competing in the hurdles while Tozser competes in the 2,000m steeplechase Saturday and the 800m run Friday.
“Andrew had a stellar senior year for the outdoor track and field team,” Homer coach George Schneider said. “He broke school records in single season point total, the 400-meter dash and the 400-meter hurdles. All season Andrew’s goal has been to win a State Championship.
“Entering Friday’s race, Andrew should be seeded number two of all Small School hurdlers with an excellent chance of placing very well,” he continued. “He is also among the top six in the state of any class size. If his time on Friday is in the top eight of all entries including Private Schools and Large Schools, he will qualify for the Federation Championships to be run on Saturday afternoon. I would be very surprised if Andrew did not compete at the Federation Championships on Saturday.”
Schneider added these comments on Tozser.
“Bori turned in an outstanding junior year on the track,” he said. “She broke her own school record in the steeplechase and moved up to number three all-time in the 800-meter run. The two runners in front of her on the 800 list are State Champion Heather Wilson and distance runner extraordinaire Michele Franklin. Bori was one of the top steeplechase competitors in all of Section Three this year. Her worst finish in any race was a second-place finish to the Section Three representative for large schools. I expect Bori to make the podium (finish in the top 6) on Saturday morning.
“In the 800-meter run, Bori showed tremendous growth from last year to this year,” Schneider added. “Her best time last year was a 2:34. She dropped that time 16 seconds in her run at this year’s State Qualifier. I would not be surprised if she was to take a place on the podium in the 800-meter run Friday.”


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