BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Owego’s Nate Bowers, Derek Sarrge and Cameron Szabo will be making the return trip to the NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships here this weekend.
Sarrge and Szabo were members of the fifth-place 4x800 relay in Syracuse last year while Bowers finished 12th in the 3200 in the Division II meet.
That trio and Lewis Race make up this year’s 4x800 relay. Szabo will also run the individual 800 and Bowers will compete in the 3200 again.
Thrower Colby Selover, a senior, found out Wednesday he is seeded 10th in the discus with a seed distance of 147-8. He thinks knowing his seed now will be a benefit.
“I feel like knowing my seed gives more motivation to go for a further distance or just go all out for this meet, because I’m really just hoping to do well, and obviously have fun at the same time.”
Selover said he needs to stick to the fundamentals and not make any last minute changes.
Head coach Greg Woolever said he’s throwing for good distance in practice and needs to carry that into states.
“He is currently third all-time at OFA for throwing distance. He’s nine inches short of moving to second place and he’s capable of breaking the record here at school, so I would look for him to move up or possibly break the school record. And that would put him on the podium at states.
He’s been throwing at practice, he’s been throwing 10 feet further than his best throw so far in competition, but he needs to throw that in competition to count. He’s certainly very capable of doing that. It’s not a once-in-a-blue-moon he throws that distance. He throws that distance consistently, so I have high expectations.”
“I’m looking to do well in both of them,” Bowers said. “At the state qualifier meet I ran a pretty fast time in both events, and so it will be set up the same way, so I’m hoping to do the same thing and run a pretty fast time in the two-mile and recover for the net day.”
The 3200 is the final event on Friday, scheduled for 5:40 p.m., so Bowers, seeded third, will have almost 20 hours rest before the relay at 1:50 p.m. Saturday.
“The two-mile is my individual event and I would never give that up, but there is something to say (about the relay). There’s a lot more adrenaline with the 4x8, especially being a relay. It’s a faster-paced race with a lot more guys in the race. I like both of them, but it’s just very different environments,” Bowers said.
“I think we’ve just go to trust each other. We all know how to run. We all know which pace to run and I think we’re all really ready to do our part. I think we’re going to do good.”
“Personally, I want to break two (two-minute leg) in the relay,” Sarrge said, “and as a whole I’d like to break eight (minutes) and qualify for nationals. Also, if we got on the podium, that would be another goal.”
Owego, seeded fourth this year, ran a school-record 8:02.4 at the state qualifier.
“I think Derek did a really good job of explaining it,” Race said of the expectations. “First for just me, I really want to push personal goal and break two. I really just want to see us have a fun time at states and go out there and try breaking our previous record. I think that we all have more potential. We train every day and I believe that we can all take on step forward and maybe hit a national time. I think that would be really exciting.”
Szabo will run the individual 800, where he’s seeded ninth, Friday at 3 p.m., then the relay on day two.
“My mindset is more or less focused on the individual race at first, because I really want to podium and hopefully medal in that, but then I would also focus on the 4x8 as well. I’m hoping that we can get top three or even win the thing.”
Eaan Hackett and Gavin Watkins are the alternates.
“We’ve been training for the past week, even though I’m not running anymore, but as an alternate I’d be prepared and get ready for anything beach, honestly, anything could happen at this point, and I’d be ready to run,” Hackett said.
“I’m just training with them all year,” Watkins added, “and i hasn’t stopped at all, so I’m ready.”
Five of the six Owego athletes are seniors. Sara is a junior.
IN PHOTO 1: Owego's Colby Selover. IN PHOTO 2: (L-R) Owego’s Derek Sarrge, Eaan Hackett, Lewis Race, Cameron Szabo, Gavin Watkins, Nate Bowers. … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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