By Ken McMillan
WEST POINT – The good fortune that Wallkill’s Richard Samuels enjoys on the track is something he wants to share with others, especially his friends.
Samuels had already met the standard required to compete in next week’s state championships on Staten Island. All he had to do, basically, was place in the top three of his 600-meter final at the Section 9 qualifier on Friday and he’d be on his way. The top two finishers automatically qualify and the next highest finisher with the state standard would also advance.
It’s not uncommon for pre-qualifiers to ease up at the finish or run in a protected position in order to let others qualify who might not have otherwise. Samuels said he’s prayed for such an opportunity and got his chance. It almost turned into a personal tragedy.
Samuels trailed teammate Samuel Vallejo in the three-lap sprint race, but Cornwall’s Seth Goitia was also challenging at the front. As the pack blazed toward the finish Samuels eased up just a bit to make sure Vallejo and Goitia stayed in front, and he nervously turned his head to make sure no one else could steal his spot. The problem was Warwick’s Jason Nafash and Pine Bush’s Isaiah Ramirez were also in the mix.
The lead five runners finished within one-third of a second. Goitia won in 1 minute, 26.39 seconds. Vallejo was an eye-blink later in 1:26.53, and Samuels was 1-100th of a second behind his teammate. Nafash and Ramirez were 0.16 seconds behind, out of qualifying.
Whew, said Samuels, the No. 2 ranked runner in the state.
“I definitely wanted to help my teammates make it in … I want to help anyone make it in,’’ Samuels said. “I know way back in the day I would pray for an opportunity like that, seeing how I was the only one in at the time. I definitely did everything in my power to do that.’’
Samuels admits it got a bit crazy at the finish.
“I was staring (at the field) the whole time,’’ he said. “I was so scared but in the end it looks like I made it in.’’
Girls sprints – Middletown sophomore De’ja Bowen repeated as 55-meter champ (7.36 seconds), nipping fellow qualifier Kayla Meade of Cornwall by 1-100th of a second. Penny Greibesland of Warwick repeated as winner in the 55 hurdles (8.68). Tiandra Whilby of Middletown also advanced.
Zarah Harris of Valley Central won the 600 in 1:37.69 to return to states. Tallula Gann of Sullivan West and Gabby Fanning of Cornwall just slipped under the standard, Fanning taking a second off her best and Gann three seconds. Brianna Lawless of Washingtonville won the 300 (42.04), taking off nearly a full second. Bria Oatman was second. Both girls went to states last year.
Girls distance – Warwick’s Jennie Prial won the 3,000 (10:50.96). Warwick’s Kristin Thompson edged Monroe-Woodbury’s Daniella Napoli by 5-100 ths of a second to take the second qualifying spot in the 1,000, won by Kaylah Quarshie of Port Jervis. Thompson shaved two seconds off her best time. Quarshie took a second off her best to win the 1,500 (4:48.54). Sarah Trainor of Roosevelt also advances.
Margaret Ryan of Monroe-Woodbury (7:33.13) nipped Jillian McEneaney of Monticello by 0.37 seconds to win the 1,500 race walk. Ryan won last year in 8:02.
Girls throws – Kaela Bazemore of Valley Central improved her best throw by 14 inches, winning the shot put at 36 feet, 2 inches. Kaela Santos of New Paltz improved 18 inches to take the second spot. Jillian Dorego of Cornwall improved by 25 inches to win the weight throw at 45 feet, 4 ½ inches. Katie Casazza of Monroe-Woodbury and Julianna Tobin of Minisink Valley also advance, the latter improving 11 inches to pass the state standard.
Girls jumps – Riley Wood of Wallkill won the long jump (16-1.25). Emily Gerdin of Washingtonville also advanced. Asya Jeune of Monroe-Woodbury won the triple jump (35-5 ½). Jenna Maggiolo of Pine Bush improved over 21 inches to grab the second spot. Lisa Jacobsen of Monroe-Woodbury won the high jump (5-2). Kristen Boerke of Washingtonville advanced on tie-breaker. Winner Kristin Lubeskie (11-0) and Colleen Leahey of Burke Catholic advance to states in pole vault for a second year in a row. Kaeli Thompson of Warwick joins them.
Girls relays – Newburgh nipped Middletown by 4-10ths of a second in the 800. Newburgh beat Kingston by six seconds in the 1,600. Goshen ran away to a nine-second win in the 3,200.
Boys sprints – Kabongo Barry of Spackenkill repeated as winner of the 55 (6.46). Davon Davis of Pine Bush and Curai White of Middletown also advance. My-kell Farrar of Monticello equaled his season-best by winning the 55 hurdles in 7.54 seconds, the No. 5 mark in the state. Michael Mullally of Sullivan West and Vernon Taylor of Middletown advance, the latter shaving 0.23 seconds to get under the state standard. Mathew Morales of Monroe-Woodbury won the 300 (35.37), shaving about a half-second. Barry and Davon Davis of Pine Bush also advanced.
Boys distance – Liam Higgins of Goshen won a tightly contested 3,200 final (9:53.37) by a half-second over Jamie Granata of Minisink Valley. Jayson Hines of Kingston also advanced. Lucas Lopez of Kingston won the 1,000 (2:37.62). Connor St. Germain of Cornwall took the second spot and Paul Catalano of Washingtonville had the state standard in third. Ayden Gann of Sullivan West won the 1,600 (4:27.67), with Robert Becker of Kingston and Tom Quinn of Washingtonville advancing.
Boys throws – Port Jervis sophomore Parker Tidd – the No. 5 seed – improved by more than 20 inches to win the shot put (45 feet, 9 ¾ inches). Mark Przybocki of Burke took the second spot. Top seed Mathius Martin of Dover missed out in third, shy by about nine inches.
Tom Reiser of Minisink Valley – the top-ranked thrower in the state – won the weight throw (67 feet, 9 ½ inches) by almost 14 feet. Jacob Banse of Minisink Valley and Joe Ike of Middletown advance.
Boys jumps – Warwick’s Kesigh Deloatch (44-11) and Dennis VanDunk (43-4 ½) went 1-2 in the triple jump. Deloatch is ranked No. 7 in the state. Deloatch edged Middletown’s Taylor on tie-breaker, both clearing 6-2 in the high jump. Dennis VanDunk of Warwick won the long jump (21-0 ½). Stephon Scott of Newburgh advances for the second year in a row. Dagi Tadesse of New Paltz won the pole vault at 14 feet, 6 inches, six inches shy of his No. 2 ranking in New York State. Vinnie Depaolo of Monroe-Woodbury and Isaac Heatley of Warwick also advance.
Boys relays – Middletown won the 800 by 0.17 seconds, Newburgh the 1,600 by a second-and-a-half and Warwick the 3,200 by almost 14 seconds.