BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
ENDICOTT — Owego’s 4x800 relay shattered its own school record at the Section IV Boys Track & Field State Qualifier at U-E High School’s Ty Cobb Stadium here Friday.
Meanwhile, Candor’s Lance Jensen just missed qualifying for states in a second event and a Newark Valley relay missed a shot at states in heartbreaking fashion.
Nate Bowers and Cameron Szabo, who are headed to the state championships in individual events, teamed up with Derek Sarrge and Lewis Race to win the Division II title in the distance relay, knocking 7 2/3 seconds off its school-record time, which now stands at 8:02.43.
The Indian quartet put on an exciting battle with Division I and overall champion Corning (8:00.78) and bested the next closest team, M-E, by nearly 10 seconds. On Thursday, Bowers won the 3200 while Szabo placed third in the 800, but both had already qualified for states earlier in the season.
Jensen, who like Bowers had previously met the state “super standard” in the 400 hurdles, and won that race Thursday, barely missed qualifying for states in the 110 hurdles. He clipped the final two hurdles and finished fourth overall in 15.41 seconds, just 21/100ths of a second off the qualifying standard.
NV’s 4x100 had hopes of qualifying for states after a surprising third-place effort in Thursday’s preliminaries. Raidyn Ford, Dan Cowulich, Micah Williams and Caden Bennett established a new school record with a time of 44.42 seconds in the prelims, but were still 42/100ths of a second shy of the qualifying standard. Unfortunately, a dropped baton on the final exchange wiped out any chance of qualifying in the finals.
For seniors Cowulich and Williams, the relay will be a bittersweet reminder of their final high school meet.
“We had an idea of what the school record was and if we had all our hand-offs perfectly completed then we would get the school record,” Cowulich said prior to Friday’s race. “It felt really good. We worked hard all year to get there and we finally did, so that feels nice.”
“It felt nice, because like Dan said, we’ve been practicing a lot,” Williams added. “Every day after our workouts we would do 4x1 hand-offs and to just have it pay off in the last meet is really something, especially when it could have been our last 4x1 relay of the year or ever with those guys. It was awesome.”
Williams expected to qualify for the finals, and Cowulich said it was a “nice surprise” to go into the final as the No. 3 seed.
Cowulich said the goal is to be “cautiously optimistic” in the finals.
“We want to complete our hand-offs and get the best time possible,” he said.
Williams was hoping to move on to the state meet.
“I want to make it to states,” he said. “This is like our last-ditch effort right here, so we’re going to give it everything we’ve got and whatever happens happens, but it would be awesome to make it to states as one last hoo-rah.”
The duo would have to put the disappointment behind them as they had more competition left.
They would team up with Bennett and Steve Cowulich to place eighth overall and fourth in Division II in the 4x400 relay, their time of 3:35.35 beating their seed time by nearly three seconds.
Williams would place seventh overall in the triple jump and fifth in Division II with a leap of 41-10 1/4, nipping his seed distance by a quarter-inch.
Bennett placed fourth overall and second in Division II in the 200 with a time of 23.02 seconds, and was also seventh overall and fifth in Division II in the 100 in 11.62 seconds.
Lucas Frank heaved the shot put 43-9 1/2 to claim sixth place honors.
Jonny Sherwood was eighth overall and fifth in Division II in the steeplechase with a time of 10:36.47.
The Cardinals’ 4x800 relay of Aiden Cabrera, Sherwood, John Bolds and Seth Hartenstein took 14th (9:32.8).
Candor’s 4x400 relay was seventh overall and third in Division II with a time of 3:35.03. The foursome of Corey Whatley, Jeb Parillo, Caleb Vaow and Jensen bested their seed time by a little over three seconds.
S-VE’s Levi Mickelson beat his seed time by more than two seconds, clocking 4:36.49 to finish 12th in the 1600.
Owego’s Joel Choynowski placed 11th in the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 10:59.17 and Justin Hunsinger took 14th, clocking 11:35.02.
The Indians’ Eaan Hackett finished 13th in the 1600 in 4:36.96 and teammate Colby Selover was 13th in the shot put at 40-9 1/2.
Owego’s 4x400 relay of Sarrge, Race, Szabo and Hackett took 15th (3:58.34).
The state meet will be held June 7-8 at Middletown High School.
IN PHOTO 1: Candor’s Lance Jensen (L) focuses on the obstacle in front of him while Elmira’s Cole Marks glances at another opponent crashing during the 110 hurdles finals. … PHOTOS 1-18 BY TIM TAYLOR. PHOTOS 19-24 COURTESY OF CHELA BUBNIAK.
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