Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Canajoharie's Dainara Veeder competes Tuesday in Fort Plain in the 4x400-meter relay.
Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Canajoharie's Ariannah Logan, left, and Jordyn Logan compete in Tuesday's 400-meter dash in Fort Plain as part of the WAC Championships.
Recorder file photo Canajoharie's Jordan Porter competes earlier this season in Fort Plain.
By MICHAEL KELLY
Teams from all along the East Coast will compete at today's William F. Eddy Jr. Track and Field Meet in Schenectady. The 74th version of the prestigious event will have its share of elite athletes looking for individual glory and the invitational's team title will go to whichever large-school squad has the best day.
But the girls from little Canajoharie are crashing the party, too.
Three juniors -- Ariannah Logan, Jordyn Logan and Dainara Veeder -- and eighth-grader Jordan Porter will compete together in the 4x400-meter relay, and each will also take part in a solo event.
"This is great for us," said Canajoharie co-head coach Ellee Fichthorn, Tuesday, at the WAC Championships in Fort Plain. "We're such a small school and we go to small meets, so we don't always get to see these great runners. We're going to go Saturday and see a whole field of great runners, so it's special."
Of this year's four athletes, only the Logans went to the Eddy Meet in 2013. Fichthorn -- who coaches the Canajoharie boys and girls with Kevin Stuttle -- said the twins were uneasy in their first trip to the meet.
"Last year, they were like leaves," said Fichthorn. "They were shaking."
This time around, the duo is in better mental shape. While Jordyn Logan admitted she is antsy -- "But I'm always nervous," she said -- both are also excited to show off what their relay team can do on a big stage.
"As the year has progressed, we've gotten better and better," said Ariannah Logan. "So, hopefully we can use the competition to get a faster time."
"We're working hard and we have the potential to do better," Jordyn Logan said.
The Lady Cougars' best time this spring in the 4x400-meter relay is 4 minutes, 19.0 seconds -- a mark achieved Tuesday. The club will likely race in the 15-team field's second heat. The top club, Uniondale, has a seed time of 3 minutes, 52.89 seconds -- a mark indicative of the type of competition at today's meet.
"It's amazing how many good athletes are there," said Ariannah Logan. "But I'm going to put all I can out there and do my best."
The Lady Cougars knew coming into the season that they had a good chance to field a strong 4x400-meter relay team. Fichthorn knew both Logans were bound to be in the mix and the coach thought Porter, despite not yet being in high school, had what it took to make it into the group. Those three athletes have lived up to their promise, each posting a 400-meter dash time this season better than 62.5 seconds.
"The relay is the three I expected and Dainara is coming into it late in the season," said Fichthorn. "I feel like Dainara is still learning how to run a 400."
Veeder is a hurdler -- she will compete today in the 100-meter hurdles; the Logans will each tackle the 400-meter dash, while Porter will run in the 200-meter dash -- but has come on strong in the past couple weeks after an early-season injury.
Fichthorn said she is hoping that the athletes' light workloads for today's meet should help them in the relay. Typically, each of the girls competes in four events.
"With each of them only doing one other event, they'll be warmed up and loose," said Fichthorn. "I hope they can go out and fly."
If they do, their area-best time in the 400-meter relay will likely get even better for the Lady Cougars.
"I don't think we've had a great relay yet," said Fichthorn. "I'm hoping [today] is the day where we shine."