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Schwab, Neal, Ford win at state qualifier

Skaneateles trio advances to March 2 meet at Cornell

— A trio of Skaneateles indoor track and field athletes would earn victories on the Division II side during Wednesday night’s Section III state qualifier at SRC Arena.

Just as importantly, with their wins, Carson Schwab, Kaitlyn Neal and Emma Ford all assured that they would go to Cornell University’s Barton for the March 2 state indoor track championship meet.

With a career-best pole vault of 12 feet 6 inches, Schwab knew that only a clearance of 13 feet would mean automatic qualification of the state meet unless he prevailed in the small-school portion of this meet.

It came down to Schwab and Tully’s Noah Paccia. But all Paccia could reach was 11’6”, and Schwab, by again topping 12’6”, finished first, assuring his trip to Cornell. Overall, Schwab tied Liverpool’s Travis Chewning-Kulick for second behind Jamesville-DeWitt’s Zach Liebmann, who cleared 13’3”.

Neal’s sterling freshman campaign continued in the girls 1,500-meter run. Though unable to keep up with Division I pace-setters Laura Leff (West Genesee) and Alana Pearl (Fayetteville-Manlius), Neal easily held off her closest Division II foe, Cazenovia’s Jeanette Cudney, as Neal finished in four minutes, 51.40 seconds and Cudney (4:57.49) was more than six seconds behind.

And Ford advanced in her specialty, the 300-meter dash. In a time of 41.99 seconds, Ford pulled away from Cazenovia’s Clare Costello (42.75 seconds), and not only won Division II, she was second overall to Liverpool’s Ore Akinpelu, who finished in 41.80 seconds.

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