For a long while now, it's been clear that Oneida senior Mike Rabbitt is among the finest all-around athletes in Central New York.
One more bit of proof was offered in Thursday's Section III state qualifying meet at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, where Rabbitt dominated the field -- and his teammate, Eric Riley, also qualified for this weekend's state meet at Vestal High Schol near Binghamton.
On his way to a winning total of 3,425 points, Rabbitt ran the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.56 seconds, then cleared 6 feet 2 3/4 inches in the high jump before unleashing a long jump of 21 feet 4 3/4 inches. Rabbitt threw the shot put 35 feet 8 inches and ran 1,500 meters in 4:38.83.
That gave Rabbitt a 272-point cushion over Utica Proctor's Pedrick O'Garro, who also qualified for the state meet -- and Riley would join them, too, as he finished second in Division II (small schools) behind Rabbitt.
Needing 3,090 points to advance to Vestal, Riley got through the 110 hurdles (16.95 seconds), high jump (6 feet 3/4 inch), shot put (35 feet 6 3/4 inches) and long jump (19 feet 8 3/4 inches). Then, in the 1,500, Riley finished in 4:36.04, giving him 3,129 points -- 39 more than was needed.
Chittenango's Bruce Gondeck posted the fastest 1,500 time (4:36.01) on his way to a fourth-place finish in Division I with 2,862 points.
Oneida's Jimmy Moyer also advanced by meeting the state qualifying standard of 6 feet 2 inches in the Division II high jump, tying for third place.
Local athletes would win twice more at the state qualifier. In the Division I (large school) 400-meter dash, Vernon Verona Sherrill's Matt Femia dominated the race, his time of 50.08 seconds beating New Hartford's Cuong Ly by more than a second.