Track girls rally for 5th sectional title

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Kent sparks victory with record triple jump The Cazenovia girls indoor track team knew it would be a difficult journey to repeat as sectional champions and claim an unprecedented fifth straight title. The path to the championship would have to go around perennial contenders Skaneateles and Clinton and through the powerful Westhill-Ludden squad, moved down to Class B after winning last year’s Class A championship. They knew they would have to be at the top of their game to win with a roster depleted by the loss of 15 seniors from the 2014 squad. The road looked even steeper as the meet got underway with a series of illnesses and injuries piling up among the team. After the first two events, the Lakers found themselves far from their usual spot atop the scoreboard, sitting in sixth place with only four points. Despite the challenges, the girls refused to give up and gradually fought their way back into contention. Megan Henderson, Grace Milmoe and Clara Rowles all scored in the 1000 meter, picking up seven points for the team with Sam Gates earning two more in the 600. Clara Rowles outkicked Westhill’s top runner to claim second in the 1500 in 5:04.68 with Megan Henderson also scoring for the Lakers. Bursts on the track and in the field created hope midway through the meet. Ashley Kent (third place in 9.75 seconds) led Delaney Yates (personal record of 9.78 for fourth) and Molly Carges (9.99 for fifth) to 12 points in the 55 meter hurdles. Simultaneously Sarah Haley (28-2 for second) led Joanna Seeley (27-8 for fourth) and Holly Eberle (25-5 for sixth ) to a 13 point gain in the shot put with Westhill and Skaneateles scoreless in the event. Kent claimed her first title of the night, winning the long jump in a personal best of 15-8.75 for ten more points. Katie Robbins pole vaulted to a personal record of 8-0 for third place and six more points while Tori Fischer cleared 4-8 in the high jump to pick up four. Their usual line-ups racked by illness, the Lakers had to draw on their depth as alternates moved up to make an impact in the relays. Caroline Hudson stepped into the 4×400 with Sam Gates and Zoe Shephard as Olivia McEntee ran a 1:03.9 anchor leg to capture fourth place. Megan Henderson rebounded to run a third grueling distance event, joining Zoe Shephard (personal best of 2:38.8) and Maddie Langey (personal best of 2:38.9) in the 4×800 with Meggie Hart gutting out the anchor leg despite illness to capture third place. McEntee, Carges and Yates (personal best of 28.6) led off the 4×200 before handing the baton to veteran Clare Costello who chased down Skaneateles to capture second place, beating out the other Lakers by .18 seconds. Suddenly Cazenovia, who had been all but out of contention, found themselves tied with Skaneateles at 82 points and nine points behind Westhill-Ludden with one event to go. Westhill had no athletes in the triple jump, Skaneateles one and Cazenovia two – they could control their own destiny. A win in the triple jump would win the meet. With all eyes in the arena on the jumping pit, the contenders began to make their attempts, the crowd cheering each successful attempt and sighing with each fault. Caeli Carroll calmly executed her jumps, hitting her second best distance of the season to capture sixth to bring the Lakers one point closer. Skaneateles’ jumper hit a personal best of 33-0 to ramp up the pressure. On her final jump, Senior Captain Ashley Kent hit the board perfectly, bounded and soared into the pit 34 feet, 11.5 inches from the line –a new school record – to capture first place. The Lakers had won, the 11 triple jump points vaulting them into the lead with 93 points to Westhill’s 91 and Skaneateles third at 88. As the girls screamed and hugged, celebrating the most difficult but most memorable of their five Section III titles, their coach gathered them together. “Challenges and adversity reveal character. Yours shined tonight. I am so proud of you.” The win was not only their fifth straight title, but capped the team’s unparalleled fifth undefeated season. To view the overall results, head to Sec3Champ Photo caption: Members of the Cazenovia girls indoor track team celebrate with the Section III championship banner following their come from behind, two point victory to claim a fifth consecutive title on February 5.

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