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Saturday, June 9, 2018: Day 1 of the state track and field championships

   Leading off today: Raise your hand if you picked Haley Riorden to win the girls 800 meters on Friday at the NYSPHSAA track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse.

   OK, put your hand down. We know you're lying. And the reason we know that is because champions aren't supposed to come out of the second of four heats.

   Helped by a hot early pace set by the race leader, Riorden, a Rush-Henrietta junior, scored the improbable victory in 2:09.96, dropping almost six seconds off her personal best. The remaining two heats were won by DeAnna Martin of Valley Stream South in 2:10.67 and Lindsey Butler of Corning in 2:10.17, and Riorden walked off with the first-place hardware.

   On a day in which only three of the top eight times came out of the "fast" heat, Butler's time held up for second place.

   "I wasn't expecting that at all," Riorden said. "I didn't even make the fast heat, so that was a really big surprise to me. It feels amazing."

   Riordan also ran a leg on the Royal Comets' 1,600 relay, which rallied to victory in Division I in 3:52.52 on the strength of yet another great anchor leg by USC commit Lanae-Tava Thomas. Middle Country was second in 3:52.92.

   Thomas also anchored the winning 400 relay (:46.89).

   Tuohy ... again: North Rockland standout Katelyn Tuohy broke her own state overall record and set a national sophomore record of 9:09.71 in the girls 3,000 meters.

   She finished well over half a lap in front of runner-up Kelsey Chmiel of Saratoga (9:46.03).

   "My goal was to break nine minutes," said Tuohy, ran 9:15.20 a week earlier at the state qualifier. "I know I'm capable of it. Indoor, I ran 9:05, but I guess today just wasn't the day."

   Tuohy is entered in Saturday's 1,500 meters.

   More girls highlights: Alexandra Tudor of Shenendehowa won the Division I triple jump in 39-6.5.

   Brittany Castelluccio of Fonda-Fultonville edged fellow Section 2 competitor Olivia Chamberlain of Cobleskill with a leap of 18-10 in the Division II long jump.

    • North Rockland's Nadia Saunders won the Division 1 long jump with a personal-best of 19-2.75.

    • Lansing's Meghan Matheny had a short but sweet day on her way to the Division II pole vault championship. She entered the competition at 10 feet, cleared that and 11-0 on her first go, made 11-6 on her second try and made the winning height of 12-0 on her first attempt.


   Future teammates battle: Elijah Claiborne of Northport and Ben Bulkeley of Fairport, both slated to enroll at Penn State in the fall, finished first and third, respectively, in the boys Division I 800 meters.

   "We weren't trying to be too friendly, because I knew that he would be my competitor in this race," Claiborne said. "So we really weren't talking that much this week."

   Claiborne won in 1:52.33 after kicking into the lead with just over 200 meters to go. Goshen's Liam Higgins moved into second in 1:53.25 and Bulkeley was third in 1:53.41.


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  •    "I knew Bulkeley had a kick," Claiborne said. "With 300 meters to go, he was right next to me. I knew I would have to start going early because his speed on the final straightaway is amazing. I knew I had to get out early and make sure I held that lead against him."

       Mixed results for Ray: Batavia senior Anthony Ray threw a personal best of 58-0.25 to capture the boys Division II shot put title for his first state championship.

       Earlier in the day, Ray had a frustrating day en route to second place in the discus. Fouling on five of his six attempts, Ray had to settle for a mark of 147-2 after not having thrown under 155 feet in a meet all season.

       The Division I shop pit champ was Jon Surdej, who extended a tradition of success for Lancaster weight specialists under coach George Rak.

       Surdej uncorked his winning distance of 58-7 on his fifth throw shortly after posting a 56-8.25 to take the lead.

       "I enjoy being my coach's 37th state champion (boys and girls) in 11 years," said Surdej, who placed fourth outdoors a year ago and won the NYSPHSAA indoor title in March. "It's just nice to keep in the tradition."

       Teammate Andy Pietrantoni took third in the shot (51-4).

       In the Division I discus, Commack's Steven Vasile threw 174-9 for a personal best and the state title.

       More boys highlights: Shea Weilbaker of Saratoga Springs won his second state title of the year when he won the 3,200 meters in 9:07.26. The reigning indoor 3,200 champ surged to the front at the start of the bell lap.

        • Pearl River's Thomas Wilson took home a pair of state championships by winning the Division 2 400 meters in :48.72 and then anchoring the Pirates' 1,600 relay in 3:21.94.

        • Trumansburg senior Dom Mikula tacked six inches onto his school record by clearing 15 feet on his third attempt to win the Division II pole vault.

       "Right now it's kind of unbelievable just trying to process it, that I'm best in the state for small schools," he said. "I have my senior trip after this so I'm just going to lay back and relax and enjoy this last weekend of high school."

        • Newburgh Free Academy intermediate hurdler Ryler Gould set a state sophomore record of :53.04 for first place in Division I. He eclipsed the mark previously held by current USC star Rai Benjamin, who ran :53.13 in 2013.

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