Pittman heads to States, track girls cap stellar season
Written by Kurt Wheeler, Head Coach
CAZENOVIA, NY – Freshman high jumper Susie Pittman led the charge as the Class B2 champion Cazenovia girls indoor track team capped a stellar season of competition at the Section 3 State Qualifier Meet on Feb 16. Pittman earned a bid to the NYSPHSAA Championship Meet while numerous teammates ended the season with season best performances at the elite contest.
Pittman, who had qualified to compete in both the high jump and pole vault, opted to focus on high jump, her stronger event. The decision paid off as she was perfect through the two opening heights, clearing each on her first attempt. She powered over 5 feet, 0 inches on her second attempt, making her one of only two athletes to do so, thus earning a bid to the state title meet. She was extremely close to tying her personal best of 5-1, showing potential to make even higher heights in the process. Teammate Katie Pavelchak also represented the Lakers in the prestigious competition, clearing 4-8, one height short of her season best.
Senior captains Melanie Michael and Katie Whitney represented Cazenovia well on the 55 meter straightaway. Michael ran 9.57 seconds in the preliminary heat of the hurdles, earning a spot in the finals where she finished sixth among all athletes in Central New York in 9.66 seconds. Whitney posted a time of 7.67 seconds, just 4/100ths off her season best of 7.63. She finished eighth among all sprinters in the section and missed a slot in the finals by just 2/100ths of a second as she completed an outstanding season.
The Lakers’ 4×400 meter relay was the biggest surprise of the competition for Cazenovia, entering the meet as the ninth-ranked team in the section, they finished second overall with a season best time of 4:29.64. Cicero-North Syracuse won the event in 4:15.40. The effort would have earned them a bid to states in spring track where each section sends one large school and one small school relay to the championship. During indoor, each section is only allowed two athletes per individual event and one relay.
All four quarter-milers ran outstanding legs for the Lakers with Bonnie Pittman leading off in a season-best 1:08.8. Senior captain Mary Williams, joining the relay for the first time, ran a 1:07.5 before handing off to Michael who matched her 1:07.5 effort. Meghan Mehlbaum capped an outstanding Sophomore season, passing Westhill in the final straightaway with an intense effort to run a season best 1:05.8.
The Lakers’ 4×800 meter relay concluded the competition with their best race of the season as well, finishing seventh among all teams in the section (with five teams ahead of them being Class AA squads) in 10:31.40. Claire Braaten was brilliant for the Lakers, running a career best split of 2:32.2. Nadia Segall ran a strong 2:39.9 leg to hold the Laker’s position before handing off to distance specialist Olivia Wong, who ran a personal best of 2:38.4. Williams ran her second strong race of the night, anchoring the team to its fastest time of the winter with a 2:40.9 leg.
The State Qualifier was the final team event of the season for the sectional champion Lakers, who will now refocus their energies toward cheering for Susie Pittman who advances to represent Cazenovia and Section 3 at the NYSPHSAA Championship in Staten Island on March 5.