For a vast majority of track and field athletes attending last weekend's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet at Vestal, the event represented the pinnacle of accomplishment after a spring full of hard work.
Alex Hatz doesn't fit into that majority, though.
The University of Wisconsin-bound senior from Fayetteville-Manlius added yet another state title to his resume in Saturday's mile run -- and it was just the warm-up for what he hopes to accomplish this weekend.
Hatz, the heavy favorite going in, stayed in the pack during an opening lap of 1:03.51, then went 1:04.29 in the second lap while steadily moving into the lead. Then came the real speed a 1:01.09 in the third lap and, after the bell, a final 400 meters rendered in 58.60 seconds.
All told, that meant a time of four minutes, 7.47 seconds, a full four and a half seconds ahead of Greene's Chad Noelle, the Division II (small school) champion and more than five seconds clear of the Division II field.
And for all this, Hatz is aiming to be much quicker at this weekend's New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., where he wants to challenge Matt Centrowitz's 38-year-old state record of 4:02.7 in his last high-school meet.
Of course, Hatz was far from the only local athlete trying to make an impression at the state meet, as stars from F-M and Jamesville-DeWitt both stood out.
The girls Hornets came within inches of winning the state title in the 4x800 relay. Hannah Luber, Katie Sischo, Mackenzie Carter and Molly Malone hit the line in a blistering 8:50.56, more than 12 seconds better than the sectional record it just set at the state qualifier on June 3. That beat everyone except Garden City, who, in 8:49.88, edged F-M by 0.56 seconds.