By MICHAEL KELLY
ITHACA -- Neither Amsterdam High School's Lucas Dorr nor Fonda-Fultonville's Ryan Park figured into the thick of things in their respective events at Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championships, but that was OK for each competitor.
The two seniors were rookie participants at the state championships at Cornell University's Barton Hall, and each described Saturday's adventure as an eye-opening experience.
"It's just more motivation," said Dorr. "I came up short this time, but I've got one more chance in outdoor."
Dorr competed in the 55-meter dash, but the Ram did not make it out of the preliminaries. After breaking the AHS record in the event in qualifying to head to the state championships with a time of 6.73 seconds, Dorr's first run of 6.86 seconds Saturday was not fast enough to advance to the semifinals. Greece Olympia junior Carnell Noble won the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.46 seconds.
Dorr's regret for the day was that he was unable to get a full warm-up in before his race. The crowded and quick-hitting nature of the state championships makes it so that competitors have little time or space to prepare themselves to compete.
"I got a few sprints in, but that was it," said Dorr. "It was just: Up and go, up and go."
Still, Dorr said he could not complain about the chance to see the state's best.
"It's a good learning experience," said Dorr. "I got to see the high caliber of athletes that states offers."
That was the aspect that had F-F's Park the most excited. Competing in the pole vault, Park had enough down time to check out athletes competing in the sprints, hurdles and jumping events. The level that some of the state's athletes are at was stunning, he said, and it made him feel pretty accomplished to be competing at the championships.
"It's all-around fun," said Park. "I can't complain."
Park tied for 13th in his event, clearing 13 feet to match his personal-best height. After he had finished his day, Park pointed to another competitor to demonstrate how advanced some athletes were at the meet.
"I mean, he's coming in at 15 feet," said Park. "Wow."
Senior Todd Uckermark from Warwick Valley cleared 16 feet to win the pole vault.
Park said he was pleased with his performance Saturday, saying that he felt his form was in a good place as he heads to the outdoor season. While he had wanted to set a new personal-best height Saturday, he said he could not complain with matching his previous best at the state championships.
"All around, I'm doing fine for myself," he said. "But I've still got things to work on -- just like anything else."
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