Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Broadalbin-Perth's Jake Coveney, right, and Barker's Bryce Moeller hug after finishing the pentathlon at Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field State Championships in Cicero. Coveney won the Division 2 state title, while Moeller came in second place.
Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Broadalbin-Perth's Jake Coveney, center, is shown with his coaches after winning the Division 2 state title at Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field State Championships in Cicero. Shown, from left, are: Bill Bellinger, Jeff Richards, Coveney, Tom McGivern and Vinnie Calderone.
Michael Kelly/Recorder staff
Broadalbin-Perth's Jake Coveney competes in the pentathlon's long jump during Saturday's state championships in Cicero.
By MICHAEL KELLY
CICERO -- Jake Coveney always knew the portion of the pentathlon which called for a 1,500-meter run was going to be the toughest part of his weekend competing at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Saturday, at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, the final piece of the pentathlon took almost all of the Broadalbin-Perth junior's energy -- but it could not take away what Coveney had planned on earning all season.
The junior used a brilliant two-day showing to capture the Division 2 public school state title in the event, though he had to wait a while after his event-ending run to properly celebrate.
Or, for that matter, to even smile.
"I'm not really showing any emotion right now, but, on the inside, I'm freaking out and ecstatic right now," said Coveney, moments after his run.
The B-P athlete registered 3,378 points to take the title, just edging Barker senior Bryce Moeller's 3,335.
That the victory required Coveney to work until the finish was a fitting end, B-P head coach Jeff Richards said.
"The thing with Jake is ... he wasn't intimidated by this," said Richards. "He's got that drive, that thing you can't coach a kid. He wanted to win and he showed it the whole way."
The coach said Coveney's victory was the first state title for a B-P track and field athlete.
After putting himself in solid position on Day 1 of the state championships, Coveney launched himself into first place with Day 2's first event -- the long jump.
Following a subpar first attempt, Coveney uncorked a leap of 6.11 meters, taking him from third place to first in Division 2.
"I needed that," Coveney said.
Knowing he needed to either beat or take a close defeat to Moeller in the 1,500-meter run to hold onto his lead, Coveney stayed on the Barker senior's heels for the duration of the race. Moeller finished in 4 minutes, 30.48 seconds, while Coveney needed 4 minutes, 31.99 seconds.
A few times during the final lap, Moeller tried to create separation with Coveney, but the B-P junior always kept right on his mark.
"Every time that kid made a move, Jake accelerated," Richards said.
Once the race ended, Moeller knew Coveney had topped him. The two exchanged a slap of hands before embracing one another, the pair of rivals both congratulating each other on a great two days.
The display of sportsmanship from Moeller after his close defeat was not lost on Coveney.
"Everyone I competed with today was great and so nice," said Coveney. "That's why I love track so much."
In the race for the overall federation title, Coveney finished in third place. Arlington senior Will Ackerman won the overall title with 3,459 points.
But Coveney claimed his title. In the process, the junior broke his own school record in the pentathlon, plus set a new school record in the 110-meter hurdles Friday with his time of 14.92 seconds.
"I'm excited for the kid," said Richards. "[Winning a state title] was our goal from day one and we executed. We trained him right, got him right from day one."
Ever since Coveney missed out on competing at the indoor state championships in the 55-meter hurdles to play in a championship basketball game, the plan had been for Coveney to make it to states -- and win -- in the pentathlon.
Each of the B-P coaches played a role in Coveney's win. Richards worked with the junior for the distance run; assistant coach Bill Bellinger took care of the jumping events; assistant coach Vinnie Calderone trained Coveney in the hurdles; and, assistant coach Tom McGivern handled the shot put.
But it was Coveney that put it all together, leaving the Patriot with a state title as a junior.
"I hope he stays hungry," Richards said.
It sounds like Coveney will have no problem managing that. While both competitors who finished ahead of Coveney in the pentathlon were seniors, the B-P junior does not expect to use 2015 to attempt to bring home a federation title in the event. Instead, he said, his new goal is to make it to states next year in the 400-meter hurdles, plus one more event.
"The plan was to get one championship this year, and go for two next year," Coveney said.
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