Dunkirk’s Hanlon finishes 3rd overall in 400 hurdles; Eagles’ Cole is 2nd in D2 high jump

Runners prepare for a race at the NYSPHSAA track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Saturday. OBSERVER Photo by Christian Storms

CICERO — Southwestern senior Neves Hoose wasn’t quite sure which sport he would participate in this spring. Coming off of his best campaign as a wrestler for the Trojans, finishing sixth at 170 pounds in the state at Division 2, Hoose committed to track and field.

It ended up being the correct choice as Hoose not only reached states in his first year of track, but he even did better taking fifth in the Division 2 pentathlon at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Saturday.

“I’m super excited,” Hoose said about making the podium. “My first day I came out here, competed really well, PR’d in two events and then my third event in high jump came up and warming up into that I rolled my ankle a little bit. I couldn’t really walk last night or this morning, but came in here and toughed it out. Showed some grit today and still finished top five.”

Hoose came into Saturday at third overall and second in Division 2, but he had to finish the meet with a sprained ankle that he got in high jump warmups on Friday night.

“All wrestlers know that you’ve got to show some grit and I just transferred that into track and field,” Hoose added. “Not a lot of guys would have been able to go out there and hustle like I did today on my sprained ankle. What my brothers told me was ‘I’m excited to see how much grit you’re going to show tomorrow’ and that’s what I had in my head.”

Battling the injury and his competitors, Hoose used that toughness from wrestling and motivation from his brothers to maintain his spot on the podium with a score of 2,973 which was 11th overall to go along with fifth in Division 2. The overall pentathlon champion was Nathanial Johnson of Section I’s John Jay at 3,389, while Division 2 was won by Arlan Wright of Berne-Knox-Westerlo at 3,182.

“It really wasn’t in my mind,” Hoose thinking he’d even make states and perform as well as he did. “Once we hit sectionals we were like ‘let’s see what you can do, let’s see what you can get’ and once we left sectionals it was trying to go for the school record. I was just trying to compete as well as I can, show what I can do.”

Hoose was not alone in Trojans ending their high school careers on Saturday afternoon as Declan Kennedy’s ended against a rival and a friend, Dunkirk’s Michael Hanlon in the 400-meter hurdles.

“When I started track I didn’t imagine anything like this,” Kennedy stated. “I’m just happy to get where I’ve gotten so far. This man (Hanlon), I’ve been racing against him the past three years and there’s no one I’d rather race against everyday.”

“Same goes for me, it’s been a fun few seasons with him,” Hanlon sharing the camaraderie with Kennedy.

The duo both qualified for Saturday’s federation race and they finished neck and neck with Hanlon just getting past Kennedy to claim third overall at 56.60 to 56.62. Neil Howard of Taconic Hills claimed the federation title with a time of 52.83.

“I think it’s really a great thing for two small schools like us from a small county to come here and place top four in federation,” Hanlon stated. “My sister was a state champ and ever since then I’ve wanted to be like her. Couldn’t get the state champ, but real close.”

“I think between me, Mikey and any of the other Section VI athletes we’ve put our name out there in the state,” Kennedy added. ”

Maple Grove senior Jonah Foley’s personal record on Friday evening in the triple jump vaulted him into Saturday’s federation competition. He closed his career in the event with a jump of 42 feet and 4.25 inches to claim seventh overall in the state. Foley also finished 23rd overall in high jump clearing 6-0 with no faults, but was out at 6-2 to claim seventh in Division 2.

While many of the local athletes were pleased with where they wrapped up their high school careers on Saturday, Randolph senior Roan Kelly had the highest of expectations for himself. Coming into the 1,600 meters at the defending state and federation champion, Kelly’s finish at 15th overall and third in Division 2 was below his high standards. Winning the race was Nyack’s Matthew Schutzbank, a year after being narrowly defeated by Kelly, with a time of 4:12.97.

“Obviously not what I wanted,” Kelly said about his performance. “I have no excuse, I just didn’t come out and perform the way I should. I mean it sucks, but I’m happy I did the 4X4 yesterday, that was a great time, still a state champ. In the long run, when I’m 25 I’ll be looking back and happy that I did the 4X4 to lose the mile.”

While the finish stings now, Kelly knows he will look back at this meet later in life and not regret going all in to win the Division 2 state championship in the 1,600-meter relay with his teammates on Friday night.

“I said yesterday, 4X4 was on the fence,” Kelly added. “I didn’t know if I was going to do it, but I decided I was going to get my guys. I’ve got to go out there for my guys, I can’t leave them hanging.”

On top of that, the road does not end in Cicero for Kelly who will be running at NCAA Division I with Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“I’m excited, my family and my community is excited for me,” Kelly said about competing in college. “Many people this race is their last race and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to run it in college, especially at that level in the ACC. I’m excited for what’s to come, see what type of runner I can become and see if I can do great things there too.”

Kelly’s run in the 1,600 marked the end of his career with the Cardinals as he opted to allow the alternates to run in the 1,600 relay federation championship.

“I don’t think so, I’m a little banged up now,” Kelly said about not running in the relay on Saturday. “I’m letting the alternates run it, because they came down here too and they deserve it. They worked their butts off the entire season and a couple of our guys are kind of roughed up from the 4X4, so why not let them go out there and they’ll get a medal and they deserve it.”

Kelly finishes his Randolph career with a 2023 Class C basketball state championship, the 2023 Division 2 and federation title, and the relay title won on Friday evening.

“I can’t even describe it,” Kelly said about Randolph. “Just the community, everything about it. I’ll be in the local Tops and people come up to me and ask how it’s going and how my running is going, how basketball is going. It’s just the most — I’ve been to a lot of schools, this is my third one — I’ve never been to one like Randolph. It’s so supportive, it’s a big community and big family.”

The Cardinals took eighth overall with Talon Rowland, Maverick Adams, Gavin Stearns and Domanik Clark running to a time of 3:38.33. In the federation meet, Dunkirk’s relay of Nathan Carlson, Michael Hanlon, Johnee Thomas and Lucas Lawrie ran to fifth overall at 3:29.10.

The Southwestern girls had a team compete in the longest relay as the quartet of Emma Lewis, Kate Miller, Triniti Card and Marlana Cresanti finished 12th overall and third in Division 2 in the 3,200 relay with a time of 9:32.59.

For the freshman Lewis, she ended the day just how she started it, with a third-place finish in Division 2 of an event. Lewis competed in the first event of the day, running to third in Division 2 of the 2,000 steeplechase at 7:09.61.

“I decided I was going to trust my training,” Lewis said about her race. “Go and take it out, give it what I got, tuck in behind the girls and not worry and stress about it.”

Lewis raced to a time that was able to earn her a spot on the federation podium at eighth, while Frontier junior Lillie Bogdan claimed the top spot at 6:39.09. Looking ahead, the pair of Division 2 runners to finish ahead of Lewis are both seniors, making her the returning favorite if she can keep up her hard work.

“It’s a great feeling to know that there is a hope for next year and a good chance,” Lewis stated. “I’m just going to give it all that I have and trust in the Lord, He’s guiding me through it. I’m very grateful for all the of the prayers my family has given out and our church, I’m just very grateful for everybody.”

Chautauqua Lake junior Jada Cole is in the same boat as Lewis, taking second in the Division 2 high jump with only a senior finishing ahead of her.

“It’s great,” Cole said about being able to have another year to try and improve her positioning. “I think next year, definitely try and get that for Division 2 and maybe for federation try and get a little bit higher.”

Cole made it to 5-5 before bowing out at 5-6, earning herself seventh in the overall meet. Akuot Kuany of East-Syracuse-Minoa won the overall title at 5-8, while Gloversville’s Zoie Test won Division 2 at 5-6.

“I think it went well,” Cole added. “I’m pretty excited that I could even come here. Being able to do this, I’m grateful, I’m very grateful. The hard work is definitely paying off for sure, so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Beginning the boys pole vault even before Lewis and Frewsburg’s Cody Kent kicked off the track events on Saturday, Randolph’s Caden Inkley and Falconer’s Nathan Bailey were among the vaulters that were last to leave.

Inkley lasted longest, reaching 13-6 to grab 17th overall and seventh in Division 2, while Bailey hit 13-0 for 27th overall and 13th in D2.

Kent, the Frewsburg junior, raced in the 3,000 steeplechase immediately after Lewis, running in the first heat. He ran to 10th in Division 2 and 24th overall with a time of 10:11.82. Elijah Gentry of Brooklyn Tech had the overall top time at 9:09.58, while Jess Joe Augustine paced the Division 2 runners at 9:11.67.


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