Dunkirk’s Hanlon Leaps To Title

Dunkirk’s Emilee Hanlon competes in the high jump at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championships on Saturday at Union-Endicott High School. P-J photo by Tim Frank

ENDICOTT — This spring, Dunkirk’s Emilee Hanlon was recognized as a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division I West first-team all-star on the softball diamond.

Saturday afternoon, however, she made her mark as one of the best field athletes in New York state.

The talented junior cleared the high jump bar at a height of 5 feet, 6 inches on her third attempt, which was good enough to claim the Division II title during the second day of competition at the New York State Public High School Track and Field Championships at Union-Endicott High School.

“At first I was super nervous, but it was like an anxious kind of nervous,” Hanlon said. “Once I started warming up, it just felt good. … Definitely staying loose is good. And my speed helps me a lot with my momentum to get over the bar, so that helps a lot too. … (It feels) crazy (and) unrealistic.”

Hanlon’s height was good enough to be listed in third place overall, behind only Division I’s Khiyah Williams (Benjamin Banneker) and Kendall Bensche (Scarsdale).

Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Justin Svetz runs the 1,500 meters during the pentathlon at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championships on Saturday at Union-Endicott High School. P-J photo by Tim Frank

“This year, all she did was go up, up and up,” Dunkirk coach Adam Woelfle stressed. “To come into the outdoor (season) and just clear the heights she did early in the season, it was spectacular. … I think (what made her successful was) staying loose and relaxed and not really having anything else on her mind.”

Fredonia’s Lydia Lanski also turned in a splendid showing to cap off the high school season, placing third in the finals of the girls Division II 100-meter hurdles with an impressive time of 15.53.

“Yesterday wasn’t my best race, so today I was pretty nervous going in,” Lanski stated. “But I just tried to prepare for my race better, got a little better warmup and it turned out better than I thought because I was seeded fourth. … At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t have imagined being here. It’s pretty incredible to see how amazing some of the other athletes here are. It was a great experience.”

Dunkirk’s 3,200-meter relay team comprised of Christopher Michalski, Anthony Ruiz, Mike DeLand and Nelson Estrada-Cruz made a significant impact as well, ending up fifth in Division II with a clocking of 8:13.99.

“(I’m) very impressed,” Woelfle emphasized. “They came together as a team at the beginning of the season and have been brothers ever since.”

Fredonia’s Lydia Lanski leaps a gate en route to a third-place showing in the Division II 100-meter hurdles. P-J photo by Tim Frank

Clymer/Sherman/Panama senior Justin Svetz made his way to the award stand following his work in the boys Division II pentathlon. With a total of 2,908 points, Svetz found himself in the fifth place in Division II at the conclusion of action.

“I didn’t PR in any of my events so there’s room for a better score, but overall I medaled, so that’s the most important thing,” Svetz explained. “It was really fun. Just being able to watch all these crazy athletes, how athletic they are, how good they are in their events, it’s amazing to be here and compete at that stage”

Svetz had times of 17.05 in the 110-meter hurdles and 4:49.34 in the 1,500-meter run. In addition, he performed admirably in the high jump (5-8.75), shot put (39-1.25) and the long jump (5.49 meters).

“There’s the thing, he’s a competitor,” Clymer/Sherman/Panama head coach Irv King said. “He’s talented, he really digs in in the moment. Some live for that stage, some kind of shy away from it. He likes it.”

Cattaraugus-Little Valley’s Abby and Bailey Gostomski, who are both juniors, took part in their second events at the state meet Saturday.

Abby has the fourth-best Division II time in the girls 2,000-meter steeplechase (7:22.09) while Bailey had the eighth-best Division II clocking in the girls 1,500-meter run (4:55.58).

“Just the fact to make it to the meet and not only make it (but perform well), it’s an accomplishment,” Cattaraugus-Little Valley head coach Katie Scott stated. “They don’t show it, but they enjoy (competing at this high level).”

The Maple Grove Red Dragons had two student-athletes compete: Michel Padilla and Michael Peppy.

Padilla cleared a height of 6 feet in the high jump and finished in 26th overall between Division I and II competitors.

“I felt pretty confident going in,” Padilla stated. “I mean, it starts out pretty high, I’m kind of used to coming in at the lower heights, but the competition was pretty high and I did alright. … Just coming here, being around the greatest in New York, the best athletes, it was a humbling experience but it was also awesome.”

Peppy placed 18th overall among both Division I and II athletes in the boys 1,600-meter run (4:26.34).

“I felt really good,” Peppy stressed. “I mean, we started out at a slower pace and then the last two laps we picked it up and it was like a sprint off out there. Super intense. It was like nothing else. Running against all of these other guys at the same caliber as you, it’s a crazy experience. It’s an eye-opener.”

Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Cameron Barmore joined Padilla in the boys high jump and finished 29th overall (5-10).

“I’ll remember this forever,” Barmore emphasized. “I can’t wait for next year.”

Complete results from the state championships can be found at www.leonetiming.com.