FREDONIA - The Jamestown High School indoor track & field team competed in the Section 6 state qualifier meet on Thursday, and their efforts met with tremendous success.
Olivia Zabrodsky started off the run of state-meet qualifiers with her 3:13.61 effort in the 1000 meters. The race started off fast. By the bell lap, Zabrodsky had fallen to a distant fourth place. In the final 160 Meters, she not only made up a 20-meter gap, but she also took third place with authority, earning a trip to the state meet as a member of the inter-sectional relay team.
Teammate Cienna Simon got steadily faster through the trials and semifinals of the 55 hurdles. By the time she crossed the finish line in the finals, she'd wrapped up a personal-best, state-qualifying time (8.74) and a second-place finish,earning her another week of track practice. The race was so tight that it took an expert with computer timing a full five minutes to distinguish between second and third place. When the smoke cleared and the computer did its job, Cienna had come out on top.
The third member of the squad to qualify for next week's state meet was Taylor Bennett. Bennett attacked the 600 meters with something to prove, having finished out of the money in last year's race. Bravely holding his lead through the final lap of the race, he was just nipped at the line. Taylor's second-place finish (1:26.57) was enough to stamp his ticket to states.
The team had many other noteworthy performances. David Morse earned himself a sectional patch in the pole vault by taking fourth place with his jump of 12 feet. Fellow vaulter, Olivia Sinatra, also took fourth place in the pole vault with her leap of10-0. Brielle Edborg finished just out of patch contention, but her fifth-place high jump of 5-0 was a personal best. Meanwhile, Kylie Wilson turned in a sixth-place finish in the 55 meters in an impressive (7.58).
Many Jamestown relays also earned sectional patches. The girls' 4x800 relay of Zabrodsky, Haley Kulakowski, Alexandra Perkins and Maria Liuzzo took the fourth-place patches with their 10:26.61 finish. Maria Liuzzo got the team out to a good start in the punishing race. Perkins maintained Liuzzo's position until the end of her leg when she took fourth place from Frontier. Kulakowski and Zabrodsky not only extended their lead over fifth, but they made a serious run at third place before race end.
The girls' 4x200 relay of Wilson, Sinatra, Simon and Elisandra Torres took a surprising third-place finish, running out of the slow heat. Sinatra finished with a fire trail, and, as several coaches remarked, "Ran angry," to lead her team to sectional patches.
Possibly the most exciting race of the entire day was the boys 4x400 relay. After being beaten by Clarence in last year's finals, Jamestown was ready for a rematch, with both teams again coming in as the top two seeds. Justin Capuano got the team out in good position right behind the Clarence runner. Morse closed the gap with a blistering leg and handed the baton off to teammate Dylan Gaeta with a slight lead. Gaeta extended the lead to two or three meters by the time he delivered the baton to Bennett. Bennett ran his heart out, but Brian Cumminsky of Clarence barely edged him out at the line. It was a heart-breaking finish to the season for the relay team, but it provided one of the most memorable contests in years, setting the scene for a spring track rematch.
Bennett, Simon and Zabrodsky will be continuing their seasons as they head to Barton Hall at Cornell University next week for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships. The girls' meet will begin at 9 a.m. and the boys will begin their competition at 2 p.m.