Leading off today:
Rush-Henrietta's girls marked the last state high school track and field meet at Cornell University with some firsts:
- First in the 55 meters.
- First in the 600 meters.
- First in the 1,000 meters.
- First in the 800-meter relay.
- First in the long jump.
Lanae-Tava Thomas and Sammy Watson won two individual events apiece and ran on the triumphant relay at the final meet at the century-old Barton Hall before the event moves to Staten Island's sparking new facility next winter for the start of a three-run.
Thomas defended her dash title and won handily in the long jump adorned in her purple headband and jumbo-twist ponytail.
"Coach gets so mad at me sometimes, but I like to be a little different," Thomas told the Democrat and Chronicle. "I just thought, since purple was Section 5's color, and I'm representing the section, why not wear some purple?"
Joked Royal Comets coach Mike DeMay: "I've kicked kids off the team for dying their hair."
Thomas has job security with the track program. The sophomore ran heats of 7.05 and 7.08 seconds in the hurdles, finishing second among qualifiers each time, then ripped off a torrid :06.94 in the final. All four of her legal leaps in the long jump were at least 11½ better than the second-place effort of Holy Names' Leah Moran.
And, of course, Watson was Watson. The junior was overwhelming in defeating defending state champion and record-holder Kamryn McIntosh (1:34.43) with a time of 1:30.59 in the 600 meters. The state high school record holder in the 1,000 won that race comfortably in 2:51.33.
"We were trying not to make it a 'me against her' match," McIntosh said of their eagerly awaited matchup. "We're just looking to run good times."
Some other notes from the meet:
• Kaitlyn Neal of Fayetteville-Manlius won the girls 3,000 meters in 9:29.85 to break Aisling Cuffe's meet record. It gives her two of the 11 fastest marks at that distance in U.S. high school.
• South Shore's boys won the 800 relay in 1:30.47 to set another meet record.
• Diana Vizza continued a stellar senior year by winning the 1,500 meters in 4:31.67 to beat North Rockland eighth-grader Katelyn Tuohy by about five meters.
"In New York State, you can't ever really get comfortable because someone is always on you," Vizza told Newsday. "You never know what their strategy is going to be. I knew Katelyn was a really tough competitor. I made sure that I never eased up until the line and really tried to apply my strength to the middle and kick throughout with much better form.
Vizza scored a victory in Class B at the NYSPHSAA cross country championships in November.
"Today was a much bigger field than I had at (cross country)," she said in reference to the depth of the field. "It was even more of an honor to win today."
•Infinite Tucker, a UMass-bound football standout, won the 55-meter hurdles in :07.38, placed second in the long jump and anchored the winning 1,600-meter relay to cap a busy day for the Huntington team.