A chilly afternoon turned into a cold evening as most of the area's top track and field athletes made it to Cicero-North Syracuse for last Thursday's Section III state qualifying meet.
Many would earn berths at this weekend's state championships at Caledonia-Mumford, including West Genesee runner Laura Leff. The freshman, who set the sectional record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in mid-May, had to hold off Homer's Bori Toszer, 7:12.35 to 7:13.43, while Betsy Black (Westhill/Bishop Ludden) was third in 7:34.20 and earned a wild-card state bid.
Also winning was Marcellus senior Jesse Garn, who took the Division II (small school) boys mile in 4:22.20, as WG's Billy Gabriel earned a state meet berth by finishing second in Division I in 4:25.38 and John DeLallo did the same in the 800-meter run in 1:56.36, both events won by Liverpool's Zavon Watkins. The Wildcats' Peter Richardson got sixth in the 400 hurdles in 1:01.74.
In the 3,200-meter run, Marcellus sophomore Ryan Manahan nearly won in Division II, his time of 9:37.53 just behind Holland Patent's Dylan Racha (9:36.89) as Jordan-Elbridge's Jack Gugle was fifth.
Solvay's Nick Cometti needed 23.64 seconds for third place in the 200-meter dash and got fourth in the 100-meter dash in 11.54 seconds. The Bearcats' Cody McCarthy (10:32.71) and J-E's Steve Slonosky (10:44.61) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Westhill/Ludden's Corey Wilkinson was fifth in the Division I discus, throwing it 126 feet 11 inches, and got sixth in the shot put. The Mustangs' Chaz Hayes was eighth in the Division II long jump and ninth in the triple jump.
Marcellus, on the girls side, saw Tori Stopen, Lizzie Dean, Maggie Dunn and Rachel Garn qualify for the state meet by going to second in the Division II 4x800 relay in 9:44.03. Garn, by finishing second in the 800-meter run in 2:20.26, just missed advancement by less than a second as WG claimed fourth in the Division I 4x800 in 10:04.05.
Another Westhill/Luddden runner, Jessica Curry, got to third in the Division I 1,500-meter run in 4:58.11, with WG's Lindsay Weaver in sixth, as Emily Washburn gained third (10:59.53) in the 3,000-meter run.
Solvay's Christina Clemente got eighth in the 400-meter dash. J-E's Rachel Scott was seventh in the 400 hurdles in 1:10.24 and helped the Eagles to seventh in the 4x400 relay. For Marcellus, Sarah Francesconi tied for ninth in the high jump, clearing 4 feet 8 inches.