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Emergence of the elite

Sullivan West’s Mitch Paciga clears 6-4 to tie his best outdoor jump of his career to win the Section IX Class C high jump title. Earlier in the day he captured the 110 hurdles crown with a personal best time of 15-60. He also took second in the 400 hurdles (59.9) and third in the pole vault (10-6).
Photos by Richard A. Ross,

By Richard A Ross
May 28, 2014

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Althea Gibson’s quote (at right) says it all. To become a champion takes enormous sacrifice, dedication and the unflagging nurturing support from coaches, teammates and loved ones along the way. In track and field it’s hard enough to win an event; harder yet for a team to marshal a team title. But to do so for years on end is simply uncanny. Such is the achievement of the Eldred girls and boys track teams, which garnered their seventh and sixth consecutive Section IX Class D championships this past week. For the better part of the last decade, Eldred has ruled Division V, but Section IX is far more daunting, even at the Class D level. A full listing of all of the medalists (first to eighth place) from all of Sullivan County schools would take this entire column space, so just check out the article titled, “County Fare,” on