OLEAN?- Seniors Nick Barlette and Rashad Graham, along with sophomores Miguel Alicea and Jose Morales have been working together since the indoor track and field season.
All the time spent together and chemistry built has helped form one of the best 4x100-meter relay teams Dunkirk High School has ever seen.
Friday afternoon, at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Section 6 State Qualifier, the foursome set the new school record with a time of :43.90. The old record was held by Ken DeLand, Terry Buchanan, Jeff Williams and Rodney Lyons since 1981. The record-breaking time was good for first place in the preliminary race and the team has yet to lose a meet this season.
"We are looking for them to win again today and make it to states," Dunkirk coach Kurt Warmbrodt said. "They mix well and get along well. Really, they have felt the power of the four of them all year long. They have been able to stay healthy and continue. Indoor track was just one more level of training for them and keeping the legs fresh and strong. They have been close all year. It was just a matter of warm weather and good hand offs and the record fell. They are very pleased, but they go back (today) and have to finish the job."
Morales and Barlette will also run in the 100 as Morales is ranked second and Barlette is ranked sixth. In the preliminaries, Morales finished with a time of 11.26 while Barlette crossed the finish line at 11.45.
Barlette will also run the 200 as he qualified for today's finals with a time of 23.20.
Graham will compete in the 400 finals today as he finished with a time of 52.82.
Also for Dunkirk, Ethan Francis took seventh place in the 800 finals with a personal-best time of 2:01.84 while teammate Javier Soto was eighth at 2:02.33 - also a personal best.
Soto competed in the 3,200 and had another personal-best time with a seventh-place finish at 10:27.74.
Francis and Soto will run in the 1,600 and the 4x800 relay today with Ray Tarnowski and Alec Tomaszewski.
Graham will take part in the high jump today.
For Fredonia, Matt Civilette took third place in the long jump with a season-best leap of 20-feet-8 1/4 inches. Civilette was seeded No. 9 going into the event.
First place went to Dawan Jones of Tapestry-Charter as he soared 22-2. Second place went to Jacob Haight of Barker at 20-11.
Civilette will also compete in today's triple jump as he is seeded No. 2 behind Jones, with the first-place finisher earning a right to the state meet.
Matt McCarthy placed 11th in the 100 at 11.65 and 13th in the 200 at 24.17.
"He had the flu all weekend," Fredonia coach Bob Ball said. "He gave it his best shot and we are pleased with his effort."
The Fredonia Lady Hillbillies had several strong performances which resulted in athletes coming back to today's finals.
Deidra Osula placed seventh in the 200 with a time of 26.8, while Ally Cobb placed fifth in the 400 hurdles at 1:11.
Devin Kowalewski placed second in the 100 hurdles with a state-qualifying time of :16.09
According to Fredonia coach Mike Marshall, "They have to beat that time and beat her (today). She can basically come in eighth (today), but if no one beats that time, she goes to states."
"They have been improving all year," Marshall said. "They are peaking at the time of season when they should. They should have strong showings in the finals (today)."
Fredonia will be represented today in the 4x800 relay while Lauren Reyda will compete in the 1,500 and Gwen Stokes in the high jump.
The Dunkirk Lady Marauders' Samiyha Toomer qualified for today's finals in the 100 with a time of 13.95. She also ran a 27.86 in the 200, but failed to qualify for finals.
Faith Rivera qualified for the finals in the 400 at 1:02.5. She will also compete in the high jump today.
Savia Moreland finished 13th in the 100 hurdles (17.3) and 13th in the 400 hurdles (1:13.76).
Rachel Rosas will compete in the 2,000 steeplechase today and looks to re-break her own school record.