By Terrence Echols
The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls and Boys Track & Field team is off and running, jumping, and throwing their way to success. Both the boys and girls are at the top of the league and have done well in dual meets, where the teams go head-to-head with another school, and each team has won an invitational, where there are mulitple schools competeing.
The Varsity Boys Track team has been led to this success by their Head Coach Bill Leberman and assistant coaches Brennan Schwab and Michael Acchione, and their senior captains Will Cote, Austin Philleo and sophomore captain Henry Middleton. Many of them are enjoying the success of the team and the fun that track brings. “I think the season is going pretty great,” said Middleton.
Even though everyone competes in different events, the boys have great team chemistry and have been very successful as a whole. The throwing group is lead by Middleton and senior Joe Murphy. Murphy has done well this year, making the most of his final year by placing second in shot put at the New Hartford Invitational and first at most of the dual meets. “Joe has a pretty good shot at going to states,” said Middleton.
The runners have experience similar sucess. “Despite a few injuries to key (runners such as Cote who has injured his hamstring), the season is going well,” said sophomore Pat Dye. Dye is the team’s leading long distance runner but has been underwhelmed with his performances this year due to a virus he had to deal with. “I haven’t been able to do well for my standards due to (the virus),” said Dye. So far, he has placed first in the 800m at the Westhill-Ludden Spring Invite and has won the 1600m and 3200m race in each dual meet. Though impressive, Dye hopes to improve his times when he returns to full form.
The Red Rams are hoping to repeat as sectional champions even though they should be used to success on the track. Until May 6, it had been years since the boys team had lost a dual meet. The boys took their first dual loss when the fell to East Syracuse-Minoa 67-74. The previous record was very impressive and still is for a team comprised of almost 60 boys. “All the injuries we’ve been having have hurt us,” said junior Evan Baxter who is a thrower. “In order to win sectionals we need to get everyone healthy and also see how we compare to Carthage, which is our biggest competition,” said Dye. “The goal is to win sectionals and send a decent amount of people to states,” said junior Almighty Bornfreedom. Bornfreedom, who competes in the pentathlon, is proud of the strides he’s made since he joined the indoor track team during the winter season.
The Varsity Girls Track team is coached by Jim Lawton who is also assisted by Acchione and Schwab. The girls are also the defending sectional champions and they are currently undefeated, winning the OHSL Freedom American division championship. They are led by senior captains Patrece Martin and Rachel Fairbanks and junior captains Jessica Pace, Casey Keane and Kim Walsh. Fairbanks is a long distance runner and sprinter and is coming off a junior season full of injuries but is glad to be back at her prime. “It’s good to see my times go back down and placing I’m well in races,” said Fairbanks. Sophomore Gabrielle Tanksley, who is a pole vaulter and sprinter, also says the season so far has been great. As the season has progressed many girls have become more experienced which is good for a youthful team who only has two seniors. “It’s great to see everyone improving; the runner’s times dropping and field events heights and distances are going up,” said Fairbanks.
Not only have the girls been winning, but they also have been dominating their opponents in dual meets, outscoring them 573-131, according to their Twitter page. The girls recently were the champions of the Weedsport Invitational. They were led by freshman Alex Payne and sophomore Hannah Butler who each won one event and sophomore Elena Haarer who won two events. Haarer was named The Most Outstanding Track Athlete of the invitational. “The goal (for the team) is to improve and win sectionals and leagues,” said Pace.
This year a few girls have been able to run their way into the school record books. Payne has broken school records in the pentathlon, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles and the 200m dash. The relay team of Butler, Keane, Fairbanks, and Haarer broke the school’s distance medley relay record.
Both the Boys & Girls Track Teams are coming to the final stretch of their regular season and are ready to burst into post season and come out victorious yet again.