Watkins captures one more state track title

Penn State-bound Liverpool senior wins Division I 800

— Really close to home, Liverpool's Zavon Watkins had one more chance to add to his spectacular high school resume before heading off to Penn State.

Watkins took full advantage of it, winning the 800-meter run at this weekend's state track and field championship meet, held at Bragman Stadium.

On the Cicero-North Syracuse oval where he had competed so many times before, Watkins went to the starting line in the 800 as the heavy favorite.

For a lap, Watkins hung in the pack, but on the second half he surged to the front and didn't stop until he had recorded a top time of one minute, 51.21 seconds. Watkins beat the runner-up, Horseheads' Brian Crimmins, by 1.27 seconds.

A day later, Watkins would also excel in the mile, getting to second place in 4:07.24. Yet that wasn't enough to top his local rival, Fayetteville-Manlius senior Nick Ryan, who had won the 3,200-meter even the day before. Here, Ryan won in 4:05.24, a margin of precisely two seconds that broke both the state meet and Section III records.

As it turned out, Watkins' schedule was shortened. He was supposed to compete with Liverpool teammates Keewan Rondinello, Ryheim Lawes and Steve Fiorello in the 4x400 relay, but the Warriors scratched, as it did in the 4x100, where Lawes, Fiorello, Rondinello and Ryan Ronk were supposed to run.

The hosts from C-NS got its best shot at a medal from Katie Osborne, in the pentathlon. Along the way, Osborne ran the 100-meter hurdles in 15.56 seconds and cleared 5 feet 2 1/2 inches in the high jump. She also had a second-place long jump of 16'5".

However, struggles in the other events left Osborne to settle for fifth place among Division I (large school) competitors, getting 2,959 points. Sweet Home's Stephanie Izard won with 3,374 points.

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