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June 11, 2009

 

Plenty of Purple Lions on state track scene

Homer’s Gregg looks to medal

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

It will be a larger number of local high school athletes heading to the New York State Division II Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School’s Michael Bragman Stadium Complex.
Part of that is because of nine of the 11 competitors come from Dryden High School. The Purple Lion contingency includes junior Tim Scheftic, junior Andy Horton, senior Josh Piger, senior Drake Kotowski, senior Sean Norman and junior Tyler Beck in some combination for the 400-meter relay, sophomore Sam Rugg in the pentathlon, senior Tara Brenner in the pole vault and junior Beth Schwab in the 3,000m run. Beck is also in the 1,600m run while being an alternate for the relay event.
“All of the kids are looking to have their best times/heights/distances of the season,” said Dryden coach Lee Stuttle. “The week of practice has gone to plan. Hopefully, the meet does as well.”
Joining Dryden in the Division II Championshps are Homer Central junior Andrew Gregg in the pentathlon and Cincinnatus senior Jenn Randall (see related story) in both the 800m and 1,500m runs.
Homer coach George Schneider talks of Gregg, seeded 10th in Division II and 27th overall.
“Andrew had another great season of outdoor track,” said Schneider. “He ran the second fastest 110-meter hurdles in school history setting the junior class record in the process. He also set the junior class pentathlon record with a score of 3,027 points at the State Qualifier. Another huge accomplishment was going sub-50 anchoring the 1,600-meter relay team to a sectional championship and breaking the school record for a 400-meter split.
“Due to new rules governing entries for the state meet, Andrew qualified to compete in the State Championships,” Schneider added. “The new rules allow a second entrant in Division II if the athlete has met the state standard of 2,850 points. If these new standards had been in effect last year, Andrew would have qualified for the State Championships last year as well. With 10 entries within 100 points of Andrew, he hopes to finish much better than where he is seeded. If he is able to high jump and throw the shot as well as he is capable of, he should be able to make the podium.”
Coach Stuttle offers these thoughts on his boys and girls:
— On the 400m relay team: “The team is seeded eighth. We are happy we made it into the fast heat on Friday. We have made some adjustments with two of the three hand-offs and hopefully it will pay off. We realize we have to stretch each zone in order to have a chance at a medal. Running a low 44 (seconds) is very realistic and hopefully breaking 44 happens.”
The 400m relay will take place around 4:10 p.m. Friday.
— On Beck: “Tyler is seeded 11th in the 1,600m. Tyler’s goal is to break the school record and the 4:24 mark. The school record is 4:26.31 and, if he breaks 4:24, I believe he has a good chance to medal. Tyler is running very strong this year and looks the best he has all season.”
The boys’ 1,600m run will take place around 1:40 p.m. Saturday.
— On Rugg: “Sam is seeded 13th (Division II) in the pentathlon. Sam’s goal is to break the 3,000-point barrier. This is a very realistic goal. If Sam has a great two days in all five events, he will definitely surpass 3,000 points. This may put him in a spot to medal, but more likely a top 8-10 performance.”
— On Brenner: “Tara Brenner is seeded 11th in pole vault. Tara will not be affected at all by the atmosphere as this is her fifth State Track Meet. She finished the season off well enough to make it this far and she is having fun again at something she loves. I wouldn’t be surprised if she jumps 10-6 this Friday which would put her on the medal stand for the third straight year.”
Brenner was second in Division II (sixth overall) last year while placing fourth in 2007 in Division II (tied-18th overall). She competed in the Indoor State Championships the past two years with a tie for fifth-place in the 2008 meet her best effort inside. The pole vault competition is scheduled for around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
— On Schwab: “Beth is seeded 14th in the 3,000m run. Beth’s goal is a top-10 finish and to lower her own school record. If Beth hits her splits as she did last week at the qualifier she will definitely break her record and hopefully break 10:32.”
The 3,000m run will take place around 6 p.m. Friday.