Dave Wojeski/For The Recorder Amsterdam's Gehrig Garner clears the bar during his high jump attempt at Wednesday's Section II Group 2 Championships in Albany.
Michael Kelly/Recorder staff The Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves pose with their first-place plaque after winning the team title at Friday's Section II Group 4 Championships in Albany. Back row, from left: Emma Rhodes, assistant coach Ashleigh Scott, Rachel Vecchio, Kacie Hunter, Carly Littlejohn, Kim Geniti and Ashlee Jones. Front row, from left: Avery Cook, Lydia Brown, Mariah Van Avery, Lindsay Therrien, Samantha Phelps, Kate Hanson, Hailie LaPratt and Alesha Heacock.
One last crack.
That's for both local outdoor track and field athletes, and me. Twice, I've previously attempted to handicap which area athletes have the best chance to make it to the state championships and, at long last, the week to qualify for the biggest meet of the year is here -- as is my final attempt to offer a guide breaking down which area athletes have the best chance to advance out of Section II.
Thursday and Friday, area athletes will head back to the University at Albany for state qualifiers. Athletes will compete in two divisions -- large school and small school -- and the winner in each event will be guaranteed a spot in the state championships, while a second-place finisher can also qualify if a certain standard is met.
OK, so before we get into the list, several disclaimers. One, athletes were only considered from Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Fonda-Fultonville, Fort Plain, Galway and Mayfield-Northville; two, of these schools, only Amsterdam is a large-school competitor, and the division which a school is in significantly factors into these rankings; three, an individual's ranking does not take into account the chance he or she could make it to states in a relay; and, four, some athletes on this list could opt to not participate this week, as not all competitors choose to continue into the individual portion of the postseason.
The original two rankings of an athlete or relay are noted in the brackets, with a "U" denoting if an entry was not ranked in one of the previous lists.
Now, without further ado, let's do this thing.
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20) Jordan Ahrens, Fort Plain, Sr. [19, U]
The small-school distance fields are deep and Ahrens is not a favorite in any of them. But if the kid that broke his ankle at the beginning of the season finishes his comeback with a trip to states, I'm not going to be surprised. Hard work earns Ahrens this spot.
19) Omahri Sturdivant, Amsterdam, So. [11, 19]
There are only a few large-school events that are going to be great competitions, and the triple jump is one of them. Sturdivant is going to get a mark better than 44 feet -- and there's a chance that's still not a top-three distance.
18) Fonda-Fultonville boys, 4x800-meter relay [17, 17]
The Braves lost at sectionals to Chatham, but one thing I know not to do is count out the F-F distance boys.
17) Chelsea LeBlanc, Broadalbin-Perth, Jr. [U, U]
LeBlanc was No. 21 on this list the first two times around, leaving her on the outside looking in. The junior is a top-five threat in the high jump.
16) Todd Briggs, Mayfield-Northville, Jr. [18, 20]
Briggs will take his shot at all four of his events -- both hurdles, long jump and triple jump -- and he is an upper-echelon competitor in each.
15) Lucas Dorr, Amsterdam, Sr. [12, 12]
Dorr is a wild card. His legs are not healthy, so he could elect to end his season with the Rams' sectional title. Or, Dorr could brave his way into the 100-meter dash field -- in which he'd be a top-three pick.
14) Anna Smith, Broadalbin-Perth, Sr. [4, 7]
Smith is competing against herself. It will be unlikely for the senior to unseat small-school favorite Zoe Doolittle, so Smith needs to hit the standard of 35 feet, 11 inches to make it to states -- and she is capable of doing that.
13) Mike Visco, Broadalbin-Perth, Sr. [7, 16]
Visco has been consistently good in the long jump and triple jump. He's not a favorite in either event, but he's primed to swoop in if anyone above him falters.
12) Dainara Veeder, Canajoharie, Jr. [U, U]
After missing the first half of the season, Veeder has become one of Section II's best small-school hurdlers. In either the 100-meter or 400-meter event, Veeder is a threat.
11) Michael Sweet, Fonda-Fultonville, Sr. [U, 6]
On merit alone, Sweet should be higher -- but, there is a decent chance Sweet declines to participate this week despite his status as one of the favorites in the small-school boys 110-meter hurdles.
10) Broadalbin-Perth girls, 4x800-meter relay [U, U]
After a strong showing at sectionals, the Lady Patriots could put together a very interesting team in this event. If B-P opts to take its shot at this relay, the Lady Patriots could use this event to become the surprise of state-qualifiers week.
9) Canajoharie girls, 4x400-meter relay [16, 10]
The team of Ariannah Logan, Jordyn Logan, Jordan Porter and Dainara Veeder finished in second at sectionals. Look for that loss to motivate this group.
8) Julian Gallup, Amsterdam, Sr. [6, 8]
After missing most of the past couple weeks fulfilling duties with the Rams' baseball team, Gallup should have fresh legs for the long jump.
7) Greg Bogdan, Broadalbin-Perth, Sr. [13, 13]
My guess is Bogdan tries for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, where he should be a favorite. The concern for Bogdan is whether his commendable decision to run four distance events for the Patriots at postseason team events took too much juice from his legs.
6) David Graveley, Amsterdam, Jr. [5, 5]
Graveley is no longer the favorite in the 400-meter hurdles, but he's still a top-three choice. He's one kid I would not bet against.
5) Coreena Monroe, Broadalbin-Perth, Jr. [U, 15]
What a season for Monroe. From out of nowhere, the junior has emerged as the favorite in the 400-meter hurdles in the girls' small-school division.
4) Lindsay Therrien, Fonda-Fultonville, Sr. [2, 2]
The senior drops a couple spots, but Therrien is still likely heading to states for the third year in a row. Even if Therrien does not win her race in the 100-meter hurdles, she could meet a qualifying standard.
3) Jake Coveney, Broadalbin-Perth, Jr. [10, 4]
The decision for Coveney has become tougher: Does he attempt to qualify in the hurdles or pentathlon? While the decision will not be easy, the junior is likely to succeed in whichever event he opts for this week.
2) Amsterdam boys, 4x400-meter relay [3, 3]
The Rams move up a spot from my previous two rankings. The club has -- finally -- settled on a lineup, with juniors Izaiah Brown, Andrew Druziak and David Graveley joining senior Julian Gallup. This group should advance out of Section II and has a realistic chance to win a state title.
1) Izaiah Brown, Amsterdam, Jr. [1, 1]
I could make a persuasive argument that Brown is the Section II large-school favorite in six events. However, Brown will only be competing this week as an individual in the 400-meter dash, leaving several spots open for other Section II competitors.
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