JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — There’s something timeless about track and field meets, particularly those held under a bright blue sky with balmy temperatures. For in their glorious diversity of running, jumping and throwing events which are taking place simultaneously in their respective locales of the venue, the athleticism, spirit, rivalry and manifestation of perseverance, endurance and stamina render these meets special in the cavalcade of spring sports.
For Division IV foes Tri-Valley (T-V) and Sullivan West (SW), it has and will always be so, even in these times when the legions of Bears far outnumber the essentially young and rebuilding Bulldogs. It’s been five years since that iconic April 16, 2008 meet when Sullivan West’s girls, propelled by Rianne Erlwein’s anchor leg, took tenth of a second precedence over T-V’s Caroline Bertholf in the 1600 relay. The final event of the day afforded Sullivan West a 71-70 victory over Tri-Valley for the Division title in a story penned by this writer for this newspaper entitled “Breaking point.”
That storied win snapped a Tri-Valley streak of 129 consecutive division victories that had dated back to 1985. The Lady Bears won the Section Nine title that spring, something they’ve been doing consecutively since 2007, right up through last year. And given their depth and talent, this looks like number seven in a row for Tri-Valley, a fitting departure gift for coaches Joe and Missy Iatauro who are retiring this June.
The Lady Bulldogs’ last hurrah over Tri-Valley came in the winter of 2008-09, when they beat T-V for the indoor Section Nine title under the savvy watch of then Coach Joe Seidl, who has now resumed his mentorship at SW beginning this past winter. Seidl’s young charges are a work in progress, but you can rest assured that in a couple of years this rivalry with T-V and other teams will be back in full force. Even though the scales have tipped heavily in T-V’s favor in both the girls and boys realm in recent years, there is still plenty of electricity when the teams meet.
This was Sullivan West’s first meet of the season, but it was T-V’s third, having hosted a home opening boys and girls victory vs. Eldred and participation and great success in the Pearl River Relays, wherein the trio of Ally Reynolds, Vicky Tingley and Mareena DiMilia broke the school record in the shuttle relay. It was the first salvo of an impending volley of records that will shatter this spring. Tri-Valley easily handled Sullivan West in this league opener as the boys outpointed Sullivan West 82-59, while the Lady Bears pounced on their young rivals to the tune of 106-31. Track and field is not just a team enterprise, but also an individual one, and many of the day’s winners will become the subject of much laudatory praise from this writer as the spring moves on apace.
For now we’ll just list the victors, though there were some surprises and upsets, including T-V sophomore Zach Nilsen’s victories in the 110 and 400 hurdles over Sullivan West junior standout Mitch Paciga. The latter got some measure of revenge as he out-jumped Nilsen and teammate Matt Cardona to win the high jump. Paciga was second in the pole vault to T-V’s Aidan Woolsey.