Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 1,600m relay team wins NYSPHSAA Division 2 State Championship

Photo by Tim Frank Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s 1,600-meter relay team, from left: Rayven Sample, Austin Johns, Bryce Baglia and Collin Barmore, won the Division II championship Friday at the NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships in Middletown.

MIDDLETOWN — The Falconer/Cassadaga Valley track and field program left the grounds of Middletown High School with some hardware in tow after the first day of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships.

Despite team members Bryce Baglia and Rayven Sample running individual races earlier in the day, they joined teammates Austin Johns and Collin Barmore in winning the Division II 1,600-meter relay, edging out Our Lady of Lourdes with a time of 3:21.11.

“I had a good feeling that we could win,” Falconer/Cassadaga Valley head coach Dave Nelson said. “They were elated with their time and that they had won, and that they had done it for each other.”

Two hours previously Baglia earned a medal in the 800 meters, finishing sixth in Division II and 12th overall at 1:56.09 while Sample took home 12th in the Division II 400 meters with a time of 50.81. With 30 or 40 meters to go in the relay, Baglia found himself in a foot race with the anchor from Lourdes.

“We probably had a 15-meter lead going into the handoff and Bryce was our anchor,” Nelson said. “The kid pulled up even with Bryce with 30 meters to go and Bryce dug deep, just edged him out at the finish.”

While Nelson would normally hesitate to have relay runners compete in earlier races, he felt confident that the preparation his runners went through with the assistance of coach Nick Spry would pay off.

“Normally I wouldn’t really want kids to run before a relay but we thought they both had a chance to medal and Bryce did,” Nelson said. “Coach Spry and I knew that with their training they could do both.”

Nelson said it was most important on race day was to make sure that his runners were adequately fed, rested and hydrated.

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