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Bombers race to relay title

May 22, 2017
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Saturday's Section VII track and field championships in Lake Placid unfolded just about the same way the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference's regular season ended. The dominating Saranac Central Chiefs swept the boys and girls team titles, and both Saranac Lake squads finished as the runner-up.

On a sunny but windy and cool day, the Red Storm and the host Blue Bombers turned in solid showings in the meet. Saranac Lake saw three athletes win individual events and a quartet take a relay title, and Lake Placid ran to a relay crown.

Grace Clark captured first for Saranac Lake in the 100 hurdles, while teammates Sean Lincoln and David Sullivan threw their way to respective victories in the shot put and discus.

Article Photos

Trent White runs his 800-meter leg for Lake Placid in the 3,200 relay Saturday at the North Elba Show Grounds. White, a senior, joined Henry McGrew, Scott Schulz and Stuart Baird to top the field in the event.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

Meanwhile, Stuart Baird, Trent White, Scott Schulz and Henry McGrew teamed up for Lake Placid's lone title, capturing the 4x800 relay more than nine seconds ahead of the next closest finisher.

Saranac Central again showed the rest of Section VII that it has a long way to go to close the gap on the Chiefs. Saranac's boys ran and jumped their way to a ninth straight Section VII crown, while their girls won the meet for the second straight year. The Chiefs claimed the boys team championship with 216 points and Saranac Lake followed in second with 115 points. Saranac's girls took first with 191.50 points, with Saranac Lake finishing runner-up with 108 points.

"Second place is pretty good considering three years ago we finished with a 1-7 record," Saranac Lake boys head coach Cy Ellsworth said. "Obviously, Saranac had a lot of wins, but we had an awful lot of good performances where our kids finished second and third."

"We're really pleased," added Red Storm girls head coach Jason Wamsganz. "Our coaches got together and figured we'd probably score between 90 and 99 points. We did a little better than we were thinking. We had a team meeting on Friday to prep the girls, especially since we are so young and being on the big stage can be a little overwhelming. I think the girls were all on board. They were definitely ready."

Clark won the girls 100 hurdles in an event that couldn't have been any closer. In the finals, she turned a personal-best time of 17.26 seconds to edge Saranac's Brandi Lavarnway by just one-hundredth of a second. What impressed Wamsganz even more than Clark's time was the fact that she hit the final two hurdles but still came out on top.

"She was dirty over the last two hurdles but remained really calm," Wamsganz said. "Being just a sophomore, she stayed poised and won that race."

Clark also placed third in both the long and triple jumps.

Saranac Lake sped to the title in the 400 relay, as Edina Cecunjanin, Clark, Jada Meadows and Randi Rondeau won the race in 53.10 seconds. That same team, with the exception of Cecunjanin, was the runner-up a year ago in the sectional meet.

Wamsganz and Ellsworth both credited many of their athletes with their dedication, as well as their performances to help the Red Storm grab second place. In Saturday's meet, points were earned all the way through eighth-place finishes, and Saranac Lake's deep squads had plenty of athletes piling up the points.

On the girls side, seniors Meadows and Brittany Shumway were among Saranac Lake's top point getters. Meadows finished second in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, and on a busy day, Shumway placed second in the 800 and ran to third-place finishes in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.

"We're really pleased with our senior leadership this season. It was just unbelievable," Wamsganz said. "Our team was just so tight knit this year and kind of ran itself because our seniors took it upon themselves to rally the troops and get it down. We're really going to miss these girls."

Two young hurdlers, sophomore Madison Grimone and Lera Bogdanova, also had solid showing for Saranac Lake, finishing second and fourth, respectively, in the 400 hurdles.

Two seniors, Katy Hunt and Olivia Atkinson, joined the track team for the first time this spring and made their mark as throwers. On Saturday, Hunt finished fourth in the shot put with a 31-foot effort while Atkinson placed eighth. Atkinson also finished seventh in the discus with a 80-8 toss.

Saranac Lake's boys have dominated the throwing events all season, and did just that on Saturday. A junior and newcomer to the team, Lincoln won the shot put with a throw of 42-7. Sullivan, who was consistently throwing the discus in the 130-foot-plus range a year ago as a junior, returned to form on Saturday to win the meet with a heave of 138-1.5, a personal-best performance.

"He's back, and we've been waiting for that," Ellsworth said of Sullivan, who competed in the state championships in the same event in 2016.

Saranac Lake's boys turned in a number of runner-up results, including both their 4x400 and 4x800 relays. In the 4x400, Ethan Wood, Logan Purner, Owen Wilson and Tyler Martin placed second in 3:24.77, which was a little more than three seconds behind the winning team from Saranac. Wood, Wilson, Martin and Micah McCulley, who is just an eight-grader, slashed 18 seconds off their best time so far to finish second in the 4x800 relay in 8:38.07.

Martin, a junior, finished second in the 800 and Wood, a senior, was just one spot back in third place. Dzihad Cecunjanin, a junior, had an impressive day earning points for Saranac Lake. After taking up the high jump for the first time about a month ago, Cecunjanin matched the top result of the day, clearing the bar at 5-8, but ultimately finished second behind Plattsburgh's Jason Moore, who had one less miss at that height.

Cecunjanin also placed third in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.22.

Although Anderson Gray didn't finish as an individual champion Saturday, the sophomore again showed that he's one of the top distance guys in Section VII. On Saturday, he placed second in the 1,600 meters in 4:49.11 and finished fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 10:49.09.

Lake Placid's boys finished sixth in the team scoring with 40 points and the Blue Bombers girls were seventh with 32 points.

Despite pulling off just one title, co-head coach Mel Frazer was impressed with the performances by both her boys and girls.

"In the long run, we had a lot of Prs at sectionals, which is what you hope for," Frazer said. "We are a small school, and we had a really great year going up against the big teams."

The Blue Bombers boys won the outright CVAC Division II title this spring with a 6-1 mark, while the girls finished as co-champs and a 5-2 mark.

A year ago, Lake Placid's boys didn't win the 4x800 relay at the Section VII meet but did take first two weeks later at the state qualifiers. Back then, it took a come-from-behind effort from Baird running the anchor leg to win that race. The Blue Bombers didn't need that type of performance Saturday, as they won in 8:29.16 seconds, which was well ahead of Saranac Lake's runner-up time of 8:38.07.

White, a senior, had a busy day for the Blue Bombers competing in four events. He placed fourth in the long jump, sixth in the 400 and ran a leg on Lake Placid's fourth-place 4x400 relay.

James Flanigan, a freshman, had a strong showing in the 3,200 meters, finishing second behind Saranac Central's Andrew Lapage with a runner-up time of 10:46.71.

Competing at home for the final time, senior Grace McGrew also had a busy day for the Blue Bombers while earning points in each of the four events in which she competed. She sprinted in both the 100 and 200 meters, turned in her top performance of the day in the long jump with a fourth-place effort of 13-03.5, and joined Sara Rose-McCandlish, Gabby Armstrong and Anya Morgan on the relay team that placed fourth.

Just a seventh-grader, Anne Rose-McCandlish was strong in the 3,000 meters with a fifth-place finish in 12:08.72.

Next up for the Red Storm and Blue Bombers track teams is the Section VII qualifying meet slated for June 9 at Ticonderoga.



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