SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — According to the Chinese Calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. But considering the ongoing remarkable track and field success enjoyed by the Monticello boys, the Tri-Valley girls and Eldred’s boys and girls teams, it seems more like the Year of the Panther, Bears and Yellow Jackets.
The Monti boys and T-V girls are making this a season for the ages, while Eldred’s girls won their 10th straight Division V crown and the boys captured their ninth in the last 10. Eldred also has a streak of Section IX Class D titles that they hope to extend. The girls have won four straight, while the boys have won the last three.
While Tri-Valley is likely to soon capture its seventh consecutive Section IX Class C title, Monticello is in search of its first-ever Section IX track and field crown. The Montis’ meteoric season may be catapulting them to just such a zenith. This past week the Montis handily defeated Liberty to complete their league season at 4-0 thereby claiming a fourth consecutive Division III title. The Panthers vanquished Goshen, Port Jervis and O’Neill as well as Liberty via monumental team efforts.
This past weekend at the 25th Monticello Games, the Monties triumphed again, this time lauding it over the other 11 teams on hand to claim the championship despite the limited capacity of superstar senior sprinter Shane Jackson, who suffered a tightened hamstring in his 200 run in the Liberty meet. Jackson who normally runs the 100, 200 and the 400 and 1600 relays competed only in the latter two events and held back some in his anchor leg efforts, but the Monties still tied a school record in the 400 relay with a blistering 44.1. That record is soon to be shattered and that team will likely take their show to the state meet in Middletown.
Recently, Jackson set a school record in the 200 with a time of 22.0, but as Monticello Coach Matt Buddenhagen has stated often, it’s the Section IX Class B title that is the team’s primary goal. Sprinter Terry Duncan was named the Outstanding Track Performer with his four-for-four golden day with wins in the 100, 200, 400 relay and 1600 relay.
As for Tri-Valley’s girls, a second consecutive title at the Monticello Games followed last week’s victory at the Tri-Valley Invitational. Depth is needed in track to compile the points needed to win a meet and like Monticello, T-V is stacked with talent in runners, jumpers and throwers. Freshman Autumn Bender and senior Mareena DiMilia were named as the meet’s outstanding track and field performers respectively. Bender won the 800 and 1500, while DiMilia captured the 100 hurdles with a state qualifying time of 15.5 (the standard is 16.2), the javelin and the shot put. She took second in the hammer throw.
Katlynn Greffrath achieved a state qualifying mark of 5-0 in the high jump. She also ran a leg in the winning 1600 relay with Caroline Martin, Vicky Tingley and Sara Dertinger in a season’s best 4:25. Alli Reynolds had a lifetime best in her victory in the 2000 steeplechase. Monti multi-event winners included Mike Rogers, who won the 400 hurdles and ran a leg in the winning 800 relay with Rahjel Smith, Austin Colon and Trevon Rainey.
Meanwhile, athletes from other local schools were top shelf in their individual manifestations. Sullivan West’s Mitch Paciga won the high jump with a mark of 6-2, a state qualifying leap also recorded by teammate Matt Cardona who took second. Paciga also captured the 110 hurdles. Eldred’s Julian Gottlieb won the pole vault with a leap of 11-6. Many other athletes achieved personal records at the meet. Sullivan West’s girls team, young as they are, showed immense grit and progress, taking close seconds in a number of events including the 800 by Courtney Meyerer and the 1600 relay.