Akinpelu, Lawes stand out at state track meet

Liverpool stars both notch top-five individual finishes

Liverpool track and field stars Ore Akinpelu and Ryheim Lawes refused to let a little rain – or a lot of rain – affect the way they performed at last weekend’s state championship meet at Middletown High School.

What was supposed to be a two-day competition got cut in half when heavy, soaking precipitation inundated the Middletown facility late last week, which forced a complete cancellation of Friday’s slate of races and field events.

Thus, the entire show took place on Saturday, where Akinpelu nearly won the 400-meter hurdles and Lawes emerged as a contender in the 100 and 200-meter sprints.

Akinpelu posted a time of 1:02.01 in the 400 hurdles, beating everyone except Garden City’s Emma Gallagher, who won the race in 1:01.47, leaving Akinpelu with a second-place medal.

As for Lawes, he was the top qualifier in the 100 in 10.76 seconds, but in the final, though he improved to 10.75 seconds, he still finished third as Hudson’s Winston Lee prevailed in 10.62 seconds.

Then, in the 200, Lawes raced to the line in 21.39 seconds to be the second-fastest qualifier, leading to a final where he slowed down to 21.98 seconds and finished fifth, with Greece Athena’s Brian Smith the champion in 21.36 seconds.

After her near win in the 400 hurdles, Akinpelu, teaming with Catherine Rowell, Jazmine Herbert and Alexus Gersbacher, made their way to 10th place in the Division I 4x100 relay in 49.26 seconds, with Medgar Evers winning in 46.29 seconds.

In the 4x400 relay, Yasmeen Griffin and Danelle Smis joined Akinpelu and Rowell as the Warriors finished 11th in a clocking of 3:58.61, but ninth among Division I sides as Suffern went to the top spot in 3:48.06.

Angela Kulpa, who had cleared 10 feet 6 inches in the pole vault this spring, managed to top 10 feet in the state meet to tie for ninth in Division I as Lancaster’s Jenn Thill (12’3”) prevailed.

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