Only a handful of points -- one good finish in one event -- separated the Oneida boys track and field team from claiming the Tri-Valley League Championship meet on May 22 at Rome Free Academy Stadium.
Overall, the Indians, getting a string of individual victories, earned 151 points. However, Holland Patent edged them out, finishing with 154 points as New Hartford (146 points) had a strong third-place showing. Vernon Verona Sherrill finished fourth, with 72 points.
By himself, Pat McLaughlin would account for 36 points. He won the long jump by going 21 feet 5 inches, then roared through the 110 high hurdles in 14.81 seconds, not far from his Section III-best season clocking of 14.7 seconds.
McLaughlin landed a triple jump of 42 feet 2 1/2 inches, but HP star Dan Fruscella (42 feet 5 inches) beat him to avenge a runner-up finish in the long jump. And in the high jump, McLaughlin also finished second with a clearance of 5 feet 10 inches.
Mike Rabbitt soared above everyone else in the high jump, setting a new personal mark with 5 feet 4 inches, just one of three victories Rabbitt would pull off at this meet as he got 36 individual points.
In the 200-meter dash, Rabbitt won in 22.64 seconds, holding off VVS's Tyler Curtis (22.83 seconds) at the wire. The 400-meter dash proved even closer, but Rabbitt, in 49.70 seconds, nipped New Hartford's Greg Shlotzauer (49.72 seconds) to prevail. In the long jump, Rabbitt went 20 feet 2 inches for third place.
Jeff Barres was second to McLaughlin in the 110 hurdles (15.94 seconds), but would dominate the 400 hurdles, winning in 57.68 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of the field, including teammate Eric Riley (59.96 seconds) in third place. Barres also claimed fourth in the triple jump (38 feet 8 1/2 inches), just an inch and a half ahead of Riley in fifth place.