Leading off today:
Corning senior Jessica Lawson
won the girls 5,000 meters Friday at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.
Lawson finished in 16:38.54 for a personal best and the state senior-class record. Lawson took third in the event last year in 16:52.60.
Runner-up Amanda Vestri of Webster Thomas finished in 17:05.49. In the process, she erased the last of the Section 5 outdoor records set by Stacy Prey in the mid-1980s. Prey, the Brighton great who went on to a career at Penn State, had run 17:10.8 in 1983.
"I would have liked to finish under 17 (minutes), but hey, it's hot down her for a New Yorker," Vestri, who ran 17:21 indoors for a sectional record, told the Democrat and Chronicle.
Lawson's weekend is hardly over. She's entered in Saturday's two-mile run and Sunday's four-mile relay. She won the 3,000 meters state title in a season-best 9:25.68 last weekend and also took second in the 1,500, setting a Section 4 record in 4:22.38.
• New Yorkers took second place in the boys and girls racewalks.
Junior Audrey Fox of New Rochelle led a parade of seven New York girls in the top 10 with a time of 15:04.99 for 3,000 meters. In the boys race, Nanuet senior Brian Baccaglini covered his debut at that distance in 14:59.93.
Off to prep school: Cheektowaga senior basketball standout Dominic Welch said on Twitter that he will attend Spire Institute Prep School in Geneva, Ohio, next fall.
Welch was first-team all-state last season after averaging 30.4 points a game as a senior and setting the Section 6 career mark for points.
Going it alone: Mekeel Christian Academy will leave Section 2's the Western Athletic Conference in boys basketball to play an independent schedule the next two seasons.
"I believe in our players, our coaches and the system we have in place," Mekeel coach and Headmaster Chad Bowman told The Daily Gazette. "I believe the kids are ready to step out and test themselves."
Mekeel, which plays in Class B, won its 14th straight WAC division title and sixth consecutive overall championship last season during a 22-1 record.
Having won a string of five league games by an average of 46 points a game last winter, Bowman wants the independent schedule as a way to beef up regular-season competition ahead of sectionals. Opponents next season will include Albany Academy, Saratoga, Manhattan power Collegiate and Bronx power Fieldston.
"We know what we have to do in the gym to get better," Bowman said. "This is another way to get better for postseason play. Where we are now, with the work rate of the kids, the kids want to push themselves and play the best teams in the area. This allows us to do that."
Mekeel will remain a member of the NYSPHSAA.
"We love the NYSPHSAA and the excellent competition it provides," Bowman said. "We're proud to be a part of it. The ultimate goal is a NYSPHSAA championship."
Regents OK change: Executive directors of the NYSPHSAA's 11 sections have a previously scheduled teleconference set for Monday, and now they have some fresh fodder to discuss courtesy of the State Board of Regents.
Meeting this week, the Regents approved two initiatives of State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia that have raised concerns from some athletic administrators and superintendents.
By far, the bigger of the two items has to do with the "duration of competition" rule, which has come to be understood as the four-year eligibility clock that begins with the start of ninth grade.
Meeting in March, the Regents tabled a vote on Elia's proposed new wording in the face of concerns raised during the public comment period. However, there was no such delay this time and the changes will take effect next month. The short story:
Elia's original proposal restored the phrase "other circumstances beyond the student's control" to the list of reasons that a student under the age of 19 at the start of the school year could be allowed an additional season of
eligibility in their sport beyond the normal four years beginning with ninth grade.
That provision existed until 2014 but for a long time it was more or less understood that "other circumstances beyond the student's control" still had to relate at least marginally to illness or injury and involved substantial