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Track stars advance to state championship meet

Garn, Uczen, Gugel among winners at Section III qualifier

— When the area’s top track and field athletes went to Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium for Thursday’s Section III state qualifying meet, the intention was to do well and then come back to C-NS again next weekend for the state championships.

And many of those athletes would fulfill that promise, earning victories in both the Division I (large school) and Division II (small school) portions of the qualifier.

Marcellus senior Rachel Garn won the Division II portion of the 2,000-meter steeplechase in seven minutes, 23.24 seconds, well clear of Cooperstown’s Kristin Ratliff (7:34.25), her closest rival. Garn also finished second in the 800-meter run in 2:15.11 to Hamilton’s Sage Hurta (2:11.61), with Westhill/Bishop Ludden’s Annibel Coolican third in 2:21.65.

The Mustangs also saw Abbie Fallon win the Division II 100-meter dash, her time of 12.95 seconds the only one under the 13-second mark as Mount Markham’s Heather Curtin (13.08 seconds) claimed second place. Teammate M.C. Coon was sixth in 13.27 seconds.

West Genesee eighth-grader Carly Benson ruled in the Division I 800-meter run, pulling away for a victory in 2:14.50, with Fayetteville-Manlius’ Jessice Howe (2:22.57) in second place.

Also for the Wildcats, Abby Uczen advanced to the state meet in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet 3 inches with fewer misses than Jamesville-DeWitt’s Brooke DeRoberts for that top spot.

One win came from Jordan-Elbridge’s Jack Gugel, who won the boys Division II mile in 4:30.08, more than 10 seconds clear of Oneida’s Will Coulter (4:40.97) and the field.

West Genesee’s Brianna Richardson advanced by winning the Division pentathlon, earning 2,763 points to hold off Rome Free Academy’s Tricia Loso (2,694 points) for that top spot. Westhill/Bishop Ludden’s Anna Ross was third in Division II with 2,569 points, with Solvay’s Courtney Napolitano (1,994 points) further back.

In the 4x800 relay, WG’s Jack Erhard, Logan McAnulty, Nate Conroy and Kal Strickland finished third in Division I with a time of 7:55.89. Gugel, Dylan Whittico, Russell Hines and Nathan Hollis helped J-E post 8:10.52 and win the Division II portion of this event, this before Whittico was fourth (23.05 seconds) in the 200-meter dash.

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