Track championships day one notebook: Samuels a strong second

It was a big day for gold medals for Section 9 athletes with six on the opening day of the New York State track and field championships, and yet there were a couple other top-three medals earned as well.
Wallkill senior Richard Samuels came into the meet with the state’s top time in the 800 meters. He lowered his best by 1.71 seconds but still got beat by Fairport junior Ben Bulkeley, who won in an astonishing 1:50.96.
It was the first state top-three medal for the Wallkill boys since Kilo Rivera won silver in the Class B 110 hurdles in 2002.
Big three – Warwick sophomore pole vaulter Kaeli Thompson cleared 11 feet, 9 inches, to place third in Division I and fifth in the Federation. Warwick senior Kesigh Deloatch improved 17 inches in the triple jump, to 46 feet flat, improving his pre-meet rank from No. 11 to placing third in Division I.
It’s been a while – The victory by the Newburgh Free Academy girls in the 400-meter relay was the first gold for the Goldback ladies since NFA’s 4-by-400 team won Division I and Federation gold in 2003. It is also the first time a Section 9 school has captured the girls 400 relay gold. It was NFA’s best 400 relay effort since winning silver in the Class A meet in 1997.
Junior Michael Mullally won the Division II 400-meter hurdles, the first win (and any medal) for the Sullivan West boys since Colin Seidl won the 2008 Div. II steeplechase.
Spartan defense – On Saturday, Spackenkill senior Kabongo Barry will try to defend his Division II title in the 200 meters, and will look to medal again in the 100 meter final (he took silver in 2016).
Big first-day efforts – A number of local athletes made significant improvements in the state meet. Ellenville’s Acinel Bruce improved 2 ½ inches in the long jump, to 16 feet, 7 ¼ inches, finishing sixth in Division II after being seeded 15th. On the track, Port Jervis senior Kaylah Quarshie trimmed 2.23 seconds in the 800 meters, Warwick’s Jennie Prial cut 2.26 seconds in the 3,000; Goshen’s Kate Laskoski cut 1.13 seconds in the 400; and, New Paltz’s Morgane Kuyl cut a half-second in the 400 hurdles. For the boys, New Paltz’s Tajay Pearce cut a quarter-second in the 400 dash, to 51.58, and teammate Blake Olsen cut 1.29 seconds in the 400 hurdles, to 56.03, placing fourth in Division II.
It’s best to share– The two relay medals won by the Newburgh girls marks the first time Section 9 has captured multiple medals in the same meet since 2010.
The last time for Section 9 – The Newburgh boys won the 1,600 relay, the first time since NFA did so in 2015. Greer Liguori’s win the girls 400 hurdles is the first since Washingtonville’s Debbie Boerke won in 2015. The boys 400 hurdles wins by Robert Walker of Newburgh and Mike Mullally of Sullivan West were the first since Middletown’s Manny Mosely in 2010. New Paltz senior Dagi Tadesse’s win in the pole vault for New Paltz was the first since Warwick’s Todd Uckermark in 2014.

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