In an event like the pentathlon, where points are scored, every inch, every half-second, matters even more.
Oneida's Pat McLaughlin learned this lesson quite well -- and by doing so, he reigns as the state champion in the pentathlon as a result of last weekend's work at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
As expected, McLaughlin started fast, winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.37 seconds. He then cleared 6 feet 2 inches in the high jump and threw the shot put 40 feet 7 1/2 inches, both top-five efforts that left McLaughlin with 2,252 points at the end of the opening day.
On day two, McLaughlin unleashed a long jump of 21 feet 1 1/4 inches, and was now close behind Chris Amman (Smithtown West) and Tomarris Bell (Rochester McQuaid) with only the 1,500-meter event to go.
But McLaughlin would pass both of them in the 1,500, his time of 4:37.98 adding up to 693 points, as Amman got 664 points and Bell 602 points. McLaughlin had indeed won, with 3,627 points, just ahead of Amman and Bell, who tied for second with 3,620 points, just seven points behind.
In this same event, McLaughlin's Oneida teammate, Mike Rabbitt, had a solid showing, finishing 10th overall and seventh among Division I (large school) competitors with 3,225 points.
Among Division II (small school) competitors, Vernon Verona Sherrill's 4x400 relay quartet of Tyler Curtis, Matt Femia, Dylan Guider and Neal Fahey posted a time of 3:26.95 and finished in fifth place. Bainbridge-Guilford-Afton won in 3:24.51. Curtis, on his own, was 11th in the 100-meter dash in 11.34 seconds.